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D&D General Dual-Wielding and The Ranger, Part 2: On the Unappreciated Genius of Zeb

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Thanks. I think one reason I was pleased is that we could now work out what a Dex of 19 gave us in 1e that an 18 didn't.

Is that memory accurate?

Yes. Deities and Demigods explicitly opened up all abilities to greater than 18 in AD&D (note that the DMG did give a kinda sorta preview with strength and the girdle of giant strength) by providing the 19-25 tables for abilities.

That said, the 19 = ambidextrous (or TWF without penalty) had to be inferred from the rules as I don't recall it being explicitly stated, but was instead within the text of Mooglum and Mouser.
 

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Arial Black

Adventurer
Yes. Deities and Demigods explicitly opened up all abilities to greater than 18 in AD&D (note that the DMG did give a kinda sorta preview with strength and the girdle of giant strength) by providing the 19-25 tables for abilities.

That said, the 19 = ambidextrous (or TWF without penalty) had to be inferred from the rules as I don't recall it being explicitly stated, but was instead within the text of Mooglum and Mouser.
Unfortunately, we couldn't infer how multi-classing works by looking at Elric's stat-block. : )

I'll be pleased if I get this spot-on after 40 years, but IIRC Elric was Fighter 13/Assassin 10/Magic-User 17. Is that right?

Also, how did Stormbringer work? Was it a +5 two-handed sword that drained 1d100 HD/levels on a hit, gave the hit points to Elric (glutted was a thing), at set Elric's Str and Con to 15?
 

Nothing's spelled out about him having any special talents, but he's given the same 19 Dexterity as the Mouser, so ...
D&DG extends all 6 core stats all the way to 25. I assume this is basically an emulation of how STR had already been canonicalized as ranging (at least) as high as 25 being "Titan Strength". So, once this book was released it was at least technically possible to know what the effects of these extreme stats would be. A few PCs could technically get to 19 here and there where that was a racial maximum and you got an ability score bonus. It is super rare to achieve of course. Note that only STR has ever canonically had a % system, although I think there might be a few scattered references to an 18/NN% for some other stat, but probably only in places like Dragon where it is not exactly 'official'.

Godlike beings also have extended abilities ranging from extreme negative number (-15 IIRC) up to 30, but outside the 0-25 range the effects become really extreme.
 

Unfortunately, we couldn't infer how multi-classing works by looking at Elric's stat-block. : )

I'll be pleased if I get this spot-on after 40 years, but IIRC Elric was Fighter 13/Assassin 10/Magic-User 17. Is that right?

Also, how did Stormbringer work? Was it a +5 two-handed sword that drained 1d100 HD/levels on a hit, gave the hit points to Elric (glutted was a thing), at set Elric's Str and Con to 15?
I don't recall it being quite that crazy powerful. It is definitely an artifact-grade sword which some sort of level draining and other abilities. Not something you would want to be cut with...
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Unfortunately, we couldn't infer how multi-classing works by looking at Elric's stat-block. : )

I'll be pleased if I get this spot-on after 40 years, but IIRC Elric was Fighter 13/Assassin 10/Magic-User 17. Is that right?

Also, how did Stormbringer work? Was it a +5 two-handed sword that drained 1d100 HD/levels on a hit, gave the hit points to Elric (glutted was a thing), at set Elric's Str and Con to 15?
Cleric 10, Druid 5, Fighter 15, MagicUser 19, Illusionist 10, Assassin 10.
His strength and con were 15 because of potions he made, not because of Stormbringer. And Stormbringer would drain half or all of the target's levels on a hit (50% chance of either). For every 2 levels taken, Elric got 5 hp and 1 point of strength (max 23). Stormbringer could drain up to 200 levels before becoming sated. It was pretty harsh.
 

Voadam

Legend
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I definitely concur with your analysis.

... one thing that bothers me though, is that, in the real world, wielding two weapons doesn't make you attack twice as fast! That's not why people wielded two weapons.

I think warhammer frpg (2nd ed) did it much more realistically - the primary purpose of the 2nd weapon was defensive.

But this doesn't surprise me. A lot of combat features were not realistic. For example, a bastard sword did more damage (yes) but was slower (bigger initiative penalty) in 2nd ed. But I can tell you, wielding a sword 2 handed makes it faster, not slower!
 

I definitely concur with your analysis.

... one thing that bothers me though, is that, in the real world, wielding two weapons doesn't make you attack twice as fast! That's not why people wielded two weapons.

I think warhammer frpg (2nd ed) did it much more realistically - the primary purpose of the 2nd weapon was defensive.

But this doesn't surprise me. A lot of combat features were not realistic. For example, a bastard sword did more damage (yes) but was slower (bigger initiative penalty) in 2nd ed. But I can tell you, wielding a sword 2 handed makes it faster, not slower!
Wielding two weapons in AD&D doesn't double your attack rate. It bumps you up into a higher attacks per round. Its a bit unclear how this works for non-fighters, 2e clarifies this.

I'd note that, 4e, by default, went with the defensive advantage. You could layer on some feats to improve that, but the only way to get multiple attacks was to use a power which allowed that. Otherwise TWF and TWD would let you do 2 extra damage on attacks and get a shield bonus on defense.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Also, how did Stormbringer work? Was it a +5 two-handed sword that drained 1d100 HD/levels on a hit, gave the hit points to Elric (glutted was a thing), at set Elric's Str and Con to 15?
I know this isn't exactly what you were asking, but in Dragon Lords of Melniboné - which was the d20 version of the Stormbringer RPG - Stormbringer does 1d100 points of Constitution drain to its victims (with an opposed Will save against the sword to negate the Con loss). Now that's one scary sword!
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Wielding two weapons in AD&D doesn't double your attack rate. It bumps you up into a higher attacks per round. Its a bit unclear how this works for non-fighters, 2e clarifies this.

Two-weapon fighting in AD&D does, in fact, double your attack rate. Both from DMG p. 70, as well as Dragon Magazine in 1982 (Roger Moore article).

2e's clarification isn't a clarification, it's a modification of the original rule.
 

Two-weapon fighting in AD&D does, in fact, double your attack rate. Both from DMG p. 70, as well as Dragon Magazine in 1982 (Roger Moore article).

2e's clarification isn't a clarification, it's a modification of the original rule.
That's a supposition, as no rule of any kind is really specified in terms of rate of attacks. In fact 1e is remarkably obtuse and one might even say confused about exactly when different numbers of attacks happen and how they are resolved, or even the timing of non-weapon-attack actions (there are contradictory rules for some of it).

So, yeah, just adding an entire attack might work. That MAY be what was intended. Is that 'per allowed attack' though? IE if I'm a fighter and get 2 attacks/round do I get FOUR attacks, or three? How does it interact with UA weapon specialization, which also increases your number of attacks (and note that you have to account for thrown weapons in all of this).

It is messier than it seems, and I'm pretty sure there were plenty of people who interpreted things differently from Roger Moore, or just plain made up other rules. In fact I heavily suspect that is exactly where the 2e rule came from, that it was either a common house rule or it is actually stated in SOME book somewhere (I'd first suspect OA, a lot of 2e stuff derives from OA, not surprisingly).
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
That's a supposition, as no rule of any kind is really specified in terms of rate of attacks.

1. It's in G3 (1978) (the drow have 1 or 2 attacks per round, as they are able to use both hands/arms for attack or defense and if using buckler, for example, can use for attack or defense).

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

3. It's in Deities and Demigods (1980) (this was just discussed).

4. It's in Fiend Folio (1981) (Drow again).

5. It's in the 1982 Dragon Magazine article, published by TSR, written by Roger Moore.

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

Q. E. D.

At a certain point, I am not sure why you do this? This is off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are others. That's examples from almost every year from 1978-1985.
 

1. It's in G3 (1978) (the drow have 1 or 2 attacks per round, as they are able to use both hands/arms for attack or defense and if using buckler, for example, can use for attack or defense).

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

3. It's in Deities and Demigods (1980) (this was just discussed).

4. It's in Fiend Folio (1981) (Drow again).

5. It's in the 1982 Dragon Magazine article, published by TSR, written by Roger Moore.

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

Q. E. D.

At a certain point, I am not sure why you do this? This is off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are others. That's examples from almost every year from 1978-1985.
I am not nearly as convinced as you are. First of all, how monsters and how PCs work is unrelated. There's NOTHING in the DMG which says one way or the other, show me text that says a secondary weapon grants some certain number of attacks. Again, Deities and Demigods isn't speaking about PCs at all, none of the stat blocks there follow PC rules in any consistent way. It isn't in UA either, any more than it is in the DMG, in fact UA has nothing to say about TWF. I'm not finding anything in OA that is specific to TWF except the Kensai 7th level ability, which still doesn't explain number of attacks. I have never read Lankhmar.

As for the article by Roger Moore, not having gone and dug it out, I take your word for it that Roger interprets the rules that way. It isn't even that it is an illogical interpretation. It is just NOT THE ONLY ONE consistent with what is written. It isn't the only one that was prevalent during that time period. I guess we could consider Roger to have established a canonical rule? In general Dragon articles are merely optional rules, essentially homebrew.

So, I'm only disagreeing that we're able to say exactly what will happen if you wield 2 weapons. Even if you assume it grants another attack, you have no way based on any of these sources AFAIK to say if it is per round, per 'attack per round' or how it interacts with thrown weapons with higher rates of fire (with our without UA). All we know is that in 2e it grants an extra 1/2 of an attack/round in effect (even 2e is ambiguous about how this works for rogues from what I recall).
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I am not nearly as convinced as you are. First of all, how monsters and how PCs work is unrelated. There's NOTHING in the DMG which says one way or the other, show me text that says a secondary weapon grants some certain number of attacks. Again, Deities and Demigods isn't speaking about PCs at all, none of the stat blocks there follow PC rules in any consistent way. It isn't in UA either, any more than it is in the DMG, in fact UA has nothing to say about TWF. I'm not finding anything in OA that is specific to TWF except the Kensai 7th level ability, which still doesn't explain number of attacks. I have never read Lankhmar.

As for the article by Roger Moore, not having gone and dug it out, I take your word for it that Roger interprets the rules that way. It isn't even that it is an illogical interpretation. It is just NOT THE ONLY ONE consistent with what is written. It isn't the only one that was prevalent during that time period. I guess we could consider Roger to have established a canonical rule? In general Dragon articles are merely optional rules, essentially homebrew.

So, I'm only disagreeing that we're able to say exactly what will happen if you wield 2 weapons. Even if you assume it grants another attack, you have no way based on any of these sources AFAIK to say if it is per round, per 'attack per round' or how it interacts with thrown weapons with higher rates of fire (with our without UA). All we know is that in 2e it grants an extra 1/2 of an attack/round in effect (even 2e is ambiguous about how this works for rogues from what I recall).

Look- I would point out that you sometimes tend to read back the interpretation from 2e back into 1e. Like with contingency (which you have mentioned several times now in reference to 1e, but ... was never introduced until UA in 1985).

But to make this glaringly obvious-
You have material from 1978 written by Gygax showing how TWF ("Attacks With Two Weapons") works. Because he wrote the drow section, which had the whole thing where it showed what happens when you have a weapon in each hand. You get an attack with each weapon. It wasn't in any way unclear, and it was the predicate for a whole series of modules!

Then, in 1979, you had the actual rule in the DMG. It's not unclear. Why? Here's the beginning of the rule:
"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."

Get it? You attack with your primary weapon in that round at X, and with your secondary weapon at Y. Later it refers to the "attacks" in the round, and that you cannot use the secondary weapon as a parrying or shield (which, again, can only make sense if it is being used to attack that round).

The next year, we have the publication of Deities and Demigods, which expanded the range of permissible dexterity scores beyond 18, and showed that if you had a sufficiently high score (19+) you could attack with two weapons with no penalty- with examples in the book. The examples, of course, got the attacks in each round.

Then came the Fiend Folio in 1981, reiterating the rule for Drow- the same rule that was reiterated in 1985 for Drow as a PC.

If this was unclear, you had Dragon Magazine, the house organ of TSR, publishing an article by Roger Moore (you may be familiar with him ....) in 1982. This was not a obscure article- it was reprinted as a "Best of Dragon Magazine" article as well. Anyway, the point of the article was two-fold; to expand the number of useable weapons (originally just a hand axe and dagger) and to deal with a few edge cases. Such as the 3/2 (Fighter get 3 attacks in 2 rounds with one weapon; what happens with two weapons, and when?). Notably, it treated as the baseline rule from the DMG that "Characters using a weapon in each hand will effectively double the number of attacks that they may make each round ..."

By 1985, and OA (Kensai, et al), UA (Drow, et al.) and Lankhmar (Grey Mouser, et al.), there could be no reasonable dispute about the application of the rule in 1e. Of course, there could be no reasonable dispute about the application in 1979, and these rules were just simple extensions of the baseline (giving it as a special class ability, giving it as a special racial ability, and giving it as an ability within a campaign setting).

I am going to put this again nicely- there is, quite literally, NO OTHER INTERPRETATION of the rule in the DMG. If you have, say, an illusionist with a high dex (but I repeat myself) who is dual-wielding daggers pursuant to the DMG in 1e, what other possible interpretation could you have of the rule other than the illusionist attacks 2/1?

So when you say that there are other reasonable interpretations, I have yet to hear one. When you add in the sheer number of other sources, I am completely befuddled by what you are saying.
 

Voadam

Legend
1e DMG page 70:

"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 does not explicitly address whether the offhand gives you one extra attack per round or one every time you would get a primary attack.

Examples of drow getting one or two attacks depending on whether they go one or two weapons does not address the issue, it is consistent with both ways of doing it when they would normally get one attack. You would need a high level drow fighter example listing # of attacks for it to clarify the issue by example.

I would infer double attacks as the most natural way to fill in the explicit description gap. I see no textual reason to infer only one extra attack per round from that text.

I would expect the explicit 3e rule of a standard one bonus attack per round only (barring feats) was a reaction to the standard inferred AD&D doubling. A 1e drow fighter double specialized in short swords is racking up a lot of attacks with a lot of bonuses to hit and damage at low levels even before gaining any magic weapons or haste effects.
 

1e DMG page 70:

"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 does not explicitly address whether the offhand gives you one extra attack per round or one every time you would get a primary attack.
Right, that is all I'm saying. I agree that the most natural reading is "2 attacks per round", but that unfortunately runs afoul of a bunch of rules, fighters multiple attacks (including the "sub 1 hit die lawnmore effect". Does my 5th level fighter get TEN attacks/round against goblins?!?!? Beyond that, the rules for how many attacks you get are actually A LOT MESSIER than "one per round", because there is Weapon Speed Factor. While it only rears its ugly head when there is a tie on initiative (or maybe a few other corner cases) you would still want to consider it (again, do you double your number of attacks, how do the different speed factors of each weapon actually relate to that). The DMG's rule is thus VERY VERY incomplete, and thus ambiguous.
Examples of drow getting one or two attacks depending on whether they go one or two weapons does not address the issue, it is consistent with both ways of doing it when they would normally get one attack. You would need a high level drow fighter example listing # of attacks for it to clarify the issue by example.
Drow are monsters. There are no end of examples of monsters who make attacks that don't correspond exactly to their numbers of arms, legs, weapons, etc. (though I agree that many of them DO correspond). Beyond that FIGHTERS are a blazingly obvious huge exception in and of themselves, so its impossible to say that there is some kind of "one attack per weapon/limb rule." So, I agree with you, again, except that even a high level drow fighter doesn't really clarify it for sure.
I would infer double attacks as the most natural way to fill in the explicit description gap. I see no textual reason to infer only one extra attack per round from that text.
Well, it is pretty natural to interpret it as "multiple attacks with your (primary) weapon is a class feature" and then go on to rule that you get that many attacks, and then an extra one for your off-hand weapon. It isn't THAT unnatural. You could even interpret the rules that you get your normal number of attacks, but some of them are off-handed (for all PCs) although that would pretty much negate any advantages of the style.
I would expect the explicit 3e rule of a standard one bonus attack per round only (barring feats) was a reaction to the standard inferred AD&D doubling. A 1e drow fighter double specialized in short swords is racking up a lot of attacks with a lot of bonuses to hit and damage at low levels even before gaining any magic weapons or haste effects.
Well, since 2e thoroughly addressed this, for at least the mainline case if not all the corner cases, I think the 3e rule is its own creature myself, but at least 3e is very clear, unlike AD&D, which is never ever clear about much of anything...
 

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