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Improving Two-Weapon Fighting

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
Yeah, I've never been too worried about Str vs. Dex melee builds. Str builds that forgo Dex have lower initiative, Dex saves, and lower ranged range, but they have higher strength which helps with Pushes and Grabs and higher Str saves to resist monsters throwing them around, and higher AC.

I realized for the math for my earlier Fighter comparison, I didn't give them a subclass to compare side by side with the Ranger. A battle master fighter can be adding +4.5 damage per hit 4 times during a short rest, plus effects, which would have pushed their expected damage up quite a bit.
Yep. I love my Dex builds, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve got to dedicate a lot of build to getting high AC Aif I don’t want to require a lot of healing.

Still, my Swashbuckler/Bladesinger is pretty damn fun. Hell, my Thief has an 18 AC with no magic items at level 12, bc he’s got that 20 Dex, but the fighter had that AC or better at level 6.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Dual Wielder (updated 16-Jun)

You are a savant of weaponry. You are able to use any combination of weapons in unconventional yet effective ways; you gain the following benefits:

-When you take the Attack option, if you are wielding a one-handed melee weapon in each hand, and if you miss with an attack, you may make a second followup attack with the weapon in your other hand. You do not add your ability modifier to damage when you make this followup attack.

(OK, so this is the action scaling part of the feat. If you have two one-handers, if you miss an attack, you make a followup attack with the other weapon, but don't add stat mod to damage. This gives the following benefits:
1) Scales well, particularly on high AC enemies. Heavy weapons are better at low ACs or with advantage.

2) Not dependent on the bonus action.

3) Gives narrative weight to each weapon. Hitting with your off-hand will feel different, as it will often have different damage die and bonuses.

4) Gives the "flurry effect" of making more attacks without actually scaling the number of hits.


-You can use two-weapon fighting even when only one of the one-handed melee weapons you are wielding is light. The bonus action attack must be with the light weapon.

This synergizes with the first effect of the feat. If you are wielding a Longsword/Shortsword combo, you can make a BA attack with the Shortsword. If you are wielding 2 Longswords, you can't.

-Any versatile weapon you wield is also considered a heavy weapon. If you are Small, you do not suffer disadvantage when wielding a versatile heavy weapon.

This is what allows the attack option to really scale. Take GWM, and now you can use the -5/+10 and BA cleave with 2 longswords. But, it doesn't allow a BA that can scale at -5/+10, giving PAM/GWM a niche.

-When you make an attack with a light weapon, you may take a -4 penalty to the attack roll you make to gain a +6 bonus to damage.

This is what keeps the feat competitive even without a dip into GWM. Dual shortswords or handaxes is totally viable, only about 10% behind GWM even with the use of the bonus action. Dual SS is ahead when using the bonus action, but GWM pulls slightly ahead if it has about 20-25% proc rate on its cleave BA.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Yeah, I've never been too worried about Str vs. Dex melee builds. Str builds that forgo Dex have lower initiative, Dex saves, and lower ranged range, but they have higher strength which helps with Pushes and Grabs and higher Str saves to resist monsters throwing them around, and higher AC.
It always felt to me like there wasn't usually much choice in the matter. If you're playing a frontliner with Heavy Armor Proficiency, you're probably going to go Str. Otherwise, you're probably going Dex unless you have a compelling reason not to. (Like a barbarian.)

A tweak that could nudge people into Str builds would be to raise the AC bonus of medium armor by 1, but lower the allowable Dex bonus to (max 1). With point buy or standard array, if you have to drop a 14 into Dex to get max armor, you might as well just get it to 16 and use Dex as your attack stat. But if you only had to drop a 12, it's a lot easier to justify raising Strength instead. This would mostly impact classes like ranger, medium armor clerics, and valor bards.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
It always felt to me like there wasn't usually much choice in the matter. If you're playing a frontliner with Heavy Armor Proficiency, you're probably going to go Str. Otherwise, you're probably going Dex unless you have a compelling reason not to. (Like a barbarian.)

A tweak that could nudge people into Str builds would be to raise the AC bonus of medium armor by 1, but lower the allowable Dex bonus to (max 1). With point buy or standard array, if you have to drop a 14 into Dex to get max armor, you might as well just get it to 16 and use Dex as your attack stat. But if you only had to drop a 12, it's a lot easier to justify raising Strength instead. This would mostly impact classes like ranger, medium armor clerics, and valor bards.

I've been hating on medium armor for a while, and this sounds good. I think you could split the mediums into the light mediums (no stealth penalty) with 14 Dex Max and heavy mediums with 12 Dex Max. Make it so medium armor is +1 AC over light armor after you have upgraded to the expensive ones. This way, warriors like the ranger still have benefit for getting med armor Prof.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
I've been hating on medium armor for a while, and this sounds good. I think you could split the mediums into the light mediums (no stealth penalty) with 14 Dex Max and heavy mediums with 12 Dex Max. Make it so medium armor is +1 AC over light armor after you have upgraded to the expensive ones. This way, warriors like the ranger still have benefit for getting med armor Prof.
Ok, so make scale mail 15+Dex(max 1) and half plate 16+Dex (max 1)? I could get behind that.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Ok, so make scale mail 15+Dex(max 1) and half plate 16+Dex (max 1)? I could get behind that.
Maybe!

I'd really prefer if medium armor granted +1 AC over leather armor and the dex you'd have at a given level. The trouble is that there is only 1 upgrade for each kind of medium armor (ignoring Hide). Dex-based characters typically start with Dex 16 and improve that to 18 at 4th and 20th at 8th levels, if they don't go for feats. Medium Armor Master exists, but the light armor wearer is getting +AC from their Dex the whole way, and you'd have to give up a whole ASI (granted, Halfplate with a Dex 16 and Medium Armor mastery is +2 AC over Breastplate).

I just feel like Medium Armor proficiency should always give you something. Luckily, it comes paired with shield proficiency, so that's something.

If scale was 15+1 and half plate was 16+1, medium armor mastery would get them to the same ends for a medium armor dex character like the Ranger or some Fighter/Rogue mix (would 5/15 Fighter/Rogue be a good mix?), but it would be a good buff for medium armor characters who are unlikely to be boosting Dex (barbarian, cleric, druids if you're generous with variant material plates).

Maybe the only issue is that a 20 Con Barbarian gets a higher AC out of breastplate than going naked; but they are picking up a stealth disadvantage so that might be okay.

Want to take a Medium armor discussion elsewhere?
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Maybe!

I'd really prefer if medium armor granted +1 AC over leather armor and the dex you'd have at a given level. The trouble is that there is only 1 upgrade for each kind of medium armor (ignoring Hide). Dex-based characters typically start with Dex 16 and improve that to 18 at 4th and 20th at 8th levels, if they don't go for feats. Medium Armor Master exists, but the light armor wearer is getting +AC from their Dex the whole way, and you'd have to give up a whole ASI (granted, Halfplate with a Dex 16 and Medium Armor mastery is +2 AC over Breastplate).

I just feel like Medium Armor proficiency should always give you something. Luckily, it comes paired with shield proficiency, so that's something.

If scale was 15+1 and half plate was 16+1, medium armor mastery would get them to the same ends for a medium armor dex character like the Ranger or some Fighter/Rogue mix (would 5/15 Fighter/Rogue be a good mix?), but it would be a good buff for medium armor characters who are unlikely to be boosting Dex (barbarian, cleric, druids if you're generous with variant material plates).

Maybe the only issue is that a 20 Con Barbarian gets a higher AC out of breastplate than going naked; but they are picking up a stealth disadvantage so that might be okay.

Want to take a Medium armor discussion elsewhere?
Sure thing.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Dual Wielder (updated 16-Jun)

You are a savant of weaponry. You are able to use any combination of weapons in unconventional yet effective ways; you gain the following benefits:

-When you take the Attack option, if you are wielding a one-handed melee weapon in each hand, and if you miss with an attack, you may make a second followup attack with the weapon in your other hand. You do not add your ability modifier to damage when you make this followup attack.
Actually, I think you are on to something here. This portion right here should be the Two Weapon Fighting Style. It allows this style to scale as most of the others and it can see use when using action surge. I'm stealing this.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Actually, I think you are on to something here. This portion right here should be the Two Weapon Fighting Style. It allows this style to scale as most of the others and it can see use when using action surge. I'm stealing this.
Yea, I was going for a pretty limited remake, with minimum changes to other rules. But that portion of the rule, by itself, is pretty balanced.

If I was going for a more broad fix, I'd make that the default rule for two-weapon fighting, and move the bonus action attack into the dual-wielder feat.

Edit: Actually, if you make it a broader fix, I'd let the followup attack have stat mod to damage, but only with light weapons. It's equivalent to greatsword with no fighting styles in damage. If the fighting style changes to any one-handed weapon (bumping the d6 to a d8), it's about equivalent to the great weapon style.
 
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Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Yea, I was going for a pretty limited remake, with minimum changes to other rules. But that portion of the rule, by itself, is pretty balanced.

If I was going for a more broad fix, I'd make that the default rule for two-weapon fighting, and move the bonus action attack into the dual-wielder feat.

Edit: Actually, if you make it a broader fix, I'd let the followup attack have stat mod to damage, but only with light weapons. It's equivalent to greatsword with no fighting styles in damage. If the fighting style changes to any one-handed weapon (bumping the d6 to a d8), it's about equivalent to the great weapon style.
Actually, I think the normal two weapon fighting rules should remain the same. For example, it should be a meaningful choice for a rogue to pick between the extra attack, or disengaging. The benefit of making the fighting style specifically grant the benefits above is that it ALSO allows for a bonus action for normal two weapon fighting, but does not require it for a fighter to benefit. So a fighter can do both.

(This is especially good from my perspective, as I have reworked the fighter to get Action Surge a little later in favor of an ability similar to cunning action that allows the fighter to get a Shove or Grapple as a bonus action. Makes fighters a little less valuable as a two level dip, and gives fighters a regular use for bonus actions).

Personally, I would adjust the Dual Wielder feat as follows:

Dual Wielder
You master fighting with two weapons, gaining the following benefits:
• You gain a +1 bonus to AC while you are wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand.
• You can use two-weapon fighting even when the one-handed melee weapons you are wielding aren’t light.
• When you use a bonus action to make an off-hand attack, you can add your ability modifier to damage

The last part of the original feat always seemed bad. For me at least, it doesn't make sense to penalize a player that wants to dual wield by making them use an additional action to take out one additional weapon and delay their effectiveness in combat by a round unless they have this feat. Two weapon fighting isn't so powerful that it requires such a nerf to be balanced against a single weapon. Especially since there is never any question about being able to whip out a shield and sword in the same round with an object interaction. At least, not in any of the games I've ever been a part of.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Actually, I think the normal two weapon fighting rules should remain the same. For example, it should be a meaningful choice for a rogue to pick between the extra attack, or disengaging. The benefit of making the fighting style specifically grant the benefits above is that it ALSO allows for a bonus action for normal two weapon fighting, but does not require it for a fighter to benefit. So a fighter can do both.
That makes sense, but it also locks the scaling aspect behind a level 1 dip into fighter or 2 level dip into ranger, which is something I personally would like to avoid. I like the idea that a barbarian or valor bard or cleric or monk could choose to use BA free dual-wielding without a dip. Ideally, I'd like to see Two-Weapon Fighting Style give a bonus of around 1.5*N damage (N=number of attacks), which is similar in scale to Great Weapon Fighting and Dueling.

Edit: I'll be honest, I'm also pretty OK with giving classes that probably want to dual-wield but have superior bonus actions (i.e. monk and rogue) a bit of a boost. It's not like their damage is out of control at any level.

The last part of the original feat always seemed bad. For me at least, it doesn't make sense to penalize a player that wants to dual wield by making them use an additional action to take out one additional weapon and delay their effectiveness in combat by a round unless they have this feat. Two weapon fighting isn't so powerful that it requires such a nerf to be balanced against a single weapon. Especially since there is never any question about being able to whip out a shield and sword in the same round with an object interaction. At least, not in any of the games I've ever been a part of.
Donning or doffing a shield requires an action. Usually it's irrelevant, as you'll usually be carrying it around with you, but it's definitely something I enforce as a DM in surprise situations. I actually had an earlier version of Dual Wielder that let you treat a shield as a weapon for object interaction to make swapping between S&B and dual-wield more practical.
 
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Hawk Diesel

Explorer
That makes sense, but it also locks the scaling aspect behind a level 1 dip into fighter or 2 level dip into ranger, which is something I personally would like to avoid. I like the idea that a barbarian or valor bard or cleric or monk could choose to use BA free dual-wielding without a dip. Ideally, I'd like to see Two-Weapon Fighting Style give a bonus of around 1.5*N damage (N=number of attacks), which is similar in scale to Great Weapon Fighting and Dueling.

Edit: I'll be honest, I'm also pretty OK with giving classes that probably want to dual-wield but have superior bonus actions (i.e. monk and rogue) a bit of a boost. It's not like their damage is out of control at any level.
I suppose that's fair, but there are two classes that would benefit so greatly from TWF that there is no reason they wouldn't do it. The Paladin and the Rouge. For me, the mechanics around sneak attack and smite really make me uncomfortable redesigning general two weapon fighting rules, since there would be little reason not to engage in two weapon fighting. Personally, if a player wants access to that style of fighting, I am comfortable with a level dip for it. They are called fighters for a reason, so it makes sense to me that this should be a unique fighter ability.

Besides, if you have a Barbarian with access to these two weapon fighting rules, with Reckless Attack they would essentially have triple or quadruple advantage. That seems excessive to me.

Donning or doffing a shield requires an action. Usually it's irrelevant, as you'll usually be carrying it around with you, but it's definitely something I enforce as a DM in surprise situations. I actually had an earlier version of Dual Wielder that let you treat a shield as a weapon for object interaction to make swapping between S&B and dual-wield more practical.
I've never played in a game where that was enforced, nor do I usually enforce it except in very rare situations. Not saying it isn't important, since I'm sure there are tables that feel it is. But the difference between pulling one weapon versus two seems too neglible to try and penalize a player without the feat. This is especially true for games where feats are not used, because then there are no mechanical ways to pull two weapons simultaneously.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
I suppose that's fair, but there are two classes that would benefit so greatly from TWF that there is no reason they wouldn't do it. The Paladin and the Rouge. For me, the mechanics around sneak attack and smite really make me uncomfortable redesigning general two weapon fighting rules, since there would be little reason not to engage in two weapon fighting. Personally, if a player wants access to that style of fighting, I am comfortable with a level dip for it. They are called fighters for a reason, so it makes sense to me that this should be a unique fighter ability.
It is admittedly strong for a paladin or rogue due to the accuracy bonuses. There are certainly good reason to gate it behind a fighting style or a feat. Fighting style is just my personal last option, if I'm going to gate it, I'd rather gate it with a feat.

Besides, if you have a Barbarian with access to these two weapon fighting rules, with Reckless Attack they would essentially have triple or quadruple advantage. That seems excessive to me.
They do have a lot of accuracy, true. But the eDPR gains are minimal without something to scale that accuracy, which requires something like GWM or equivalent.

Just to math it out quick, assume a 5th level barbarian with a greatsword versus one with 2 longswords using the followup rule for my proposed feat. Let's assume 18 Str, so a +7 attack versus AC 18 (50% hit chance, or 75% hit chance with advantage).

With Reckless Attack, greatsword is 2 attacks * 0.75 hit chance * 2d6+4 (11 average) damage, or 16.5 eDPR.
With Reckless Attack, 2 longsword is 2 attacks * [0.75 hit chance * 1d8+4 (8.5 average) damage + 0.25 (chance first attack misses) * 0.75 * 1d8 (4.5 average damage) ] = 14.4 eDPR.

It takes a lot of damage to make that gain in accuracy matter.

I've never played in a game where that was enforced, nor do I usually enforce it except in very rare situations. Not saying it isn't important, since I'm sure there are tables that feel it is. But the difference between pulling one weapon versus two seems too neglible to try and penalize a player without the feat. This is especially true for games where feats are not used, because then there are no mechanical ways to pull two weapons simultaneously.
I mean, if you're arguing for a general house rule that allows two weapons to be pulled in one weapon interaction, I'm all for it. But if I'm putting up a house ruled feat for public consumption, I want to start with a RAW base.
 

Quartz

Explorer
Has anyone run the maths on how the Sharpshooter feat affects TWF? Both TWF and SS work with thrown weapons. That ninja throwing star may only do a base of 1d3 damage but the total damage would be 1d3 + stat + 10.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Has anyone run the maths on how the Sharpshooter feat affects TWF? Both TWF and SS work with thrown weapons. That ninja throwing star may only do a base of 1d3 damage but the total damage would be 1d3 + stat + 10.

It would be about the same as crossbow expert and sharpshooter.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Has anyone run the maths on how the Sharpshooter feat affects TWF? Both TWF and SS work with thrown weapons. That ninja throwing star may only do a base of 1d3 damage but the total damage would be 1d3 + stat + 10.
Unfortunately, SS doesn't work with throwing weapons by RAW. (Although it would be great if it did!)

The -5/+10 portion of the feat requires an attack with a ranged weapon; two-weapon fighting requires a light melee weapon. The thrown property lets you make ranged attacks, it doesn't make the weapon count as a ranged weapon.

You can certainly rule otherwise (I personally disagree with several of Crawford's rulings), and it would certainly vault throwing weapons into the upper echelon of fighting styles.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Except that requires an extra feat.
It would still work out to the same. Since it doesn't require an extra feat, it could be a reasonable thing for a TWFer to add to their repertoire if they can afford the feats. Way better for a non-rogue, though, I think.
 

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