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Improving Two-Weapon Fighting

FrogReaver

Explorer
Considering that only one out of four of those classes will sometimes dual-wield right now, that certainly seems like a strong argument to remove the bonus action. Especially considering that 3 of those 4 classes should really be commonly dual-wielding, at least by trope.
Rangers, rogues and paladins all can dual wield just fine. I've used every one of those characters or seen them played in my games. Monks pretty much never dual wield because martials arts, however you don't want monks to turn into always dual wielders either.

Removing the bonus action basically makes all those classes listed above be no brainer dual wielders in a featless game. With feats polearm mastery is a little better for some but does cost a feat so it's a wash. GWM would be offset with my propose by a -5/+10 feat for TWF
 

Xeviat

Explorer
I suppose I've been considering a lot of other changes that would alleviate a lot of FrogReaver's issues, but they bring up some good points. Taking away the bonus action would require addressing a few other things, like smite and hunters mark/hex/other per hit effects. I'd be perfectly happy with smite costing a bonus action so it can't be novaed and so it can't stack with smite spells. Id also be fine if Hunter's Mark and He we're a once per round damage buff, but did more damage the higher level slot you used (which would favor more attacks, for more chances to land it).

In a perfect world, the fighting styles would be equivalent with each other. If we were rebuilding from the ground up, I'd be okay with TWFing not dealing equal damage to great weapons if it had something else substantial. Being able to split damage 50/50 isn't good enough; single target to multitarget damage isn't a full 50 reduction, spreading damage needs to be better. It shouldn't use a bonus action because the other styles don't.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
. Being able to split damage 50/50 isn't good enough; single target to multitarget damage isn't a full 50 reduction, spreading damage needs to be better.
That's why I like damage die plus mods for a single hit, combined damage dice + non-stacking mods when both weapons hit.

That is add a stat mod once, a magic weapon bonus once (the higher of the two if both are magical), etc.

That way you're not magnifying static mods in a problematic way, and you do better than 1/2 damage when splitting attacks.

It shouldn't use a bonus action because the other styles don't.
It does seem intuitive, though.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Could something that allows a TWF to attack with his offhand anytime he misses with his mainhand work? It seems thematic and provides a mechanic that scales based on number of attacks. The DPR increase would be between 1 and 2 for most chances ho hit.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
It's not about the choice of what to use while TWF. It's about dex being the default option for TWF but dex not being an option for GWF.
I'm okay with that.

Remember that in 2E and 3E you always added Strength to damage.

In fact 5E removed or lessened maybe nine different limitations on Dex, which is definitely way too many.

I really go find the old post where I enumerated the long long list of things WotC did to appease the demand for svelte lithe action heroes with no need for brawn, despite D&D not being a kung-fu movie...
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
Could something that allows a TWF to attack with his offhand anytime he misses with his mainhand work? It seems thematic and provides a mechanic that scales based on number of attacks. The DPR increase would be between 1 and 2 for most chances ho hit.
I think that could work well, especially if the option to use your BA with the offhand was retained. Another option is to also/or base it hits providing extra attacks - lots of monsters have mechanics were they get an extra attack, usually with effect, if they hit their base attacks. That feels a little more exploding dice, but that might not be a bad thing. Either (or both!) might be useful tools.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Rangers, rogues and paladins all can dual wield just fine. I've used every one of those characters or seen them played in my games. Monks pretty much never dual wield because martials arts, however you don't want monks to turn into always dual wielders either.

Removing the bonus action basically makes all those classes listed above be no brainer dual wielders in a featless game. With feats polearm mastery is a little better for some but does cost a feat so it's a wash. GWM would be offset with my propose by a -5/+10 feat for TWF
For the test case "When you take the Attack action using a light melee weapon in each hand, you gain one free attack with the off-hand weapon that does not gain ability modifier to damage", I think it would push rogues and monks into dual-wielding for a featless game, yes. I'm personally OK with that.

Rangers and paladins would probably dual-wield for tier 1, but tier 2 would make heavy weapons equivalent again. An 11+ vengeance paladin would favor dual-wielding if hunter's mark is up, but heavy weapons are still better if there's any sort of attack grant or opportunity attack.

Change the Dual-wielder feat from a +1 AC to a -X/+2X damage rider (I'd lean towards -3/+6, since -5/+10 might be too much with the extra attack) to go along with the bonus action removal, and I think it's in a pretty good place. I'd have to run some numbers to check.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Agreed,

However, the point is that this can be what TWF becomes; if the principle holds true. Something like “whenever you make a melee attack as a bonus action, you can also make an attack with your offhand weapon”.

Thing is, I’m not sure if the principle does hold true, and if it would solve enough of the problem to be considered as a solution.
There are too many desirable things you might want to do with your bonus action.

It would still mean TWFers would be barred from, say, a magic item that lets you take the Dash action as a bonus action.

I would never take TWF except in the most magic-light of campaigns, and probably only in a feat-less game as well. (My own games are the polar opposite of that)

Making a choice at level 1 that you only pay for ten levels later, a cost you're probably not even aware of, is the reason I dislike the design of TWF.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
My issue with removing the bonus action on TWF comes down to classes other than fighter.

Why not use TWF with a melee ranger if you don't have to worry about the bonus action attack competing with your hunters mark extra attack.
Let me stop you right there

Now you're assuming a clumsy fix that basically just removes the bonus action usage.

And besides, nobody will argue Rangers become overpowered just because they, you know, get to actually use their trademark class abilities! A thing like Hex is balanced in isolation. Not being able to use your chosen fighting style is NOT a required balancer.

At higher levels you will want your bonus action free to use for new cool things. Having Hunter's Mark or Flurry of Blows is cost enough, even without having to deal with TWF.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Removing the bonus action basically makes all those classes listed above be no brainer dual wielders in a featless game.
I can only speak for myself but to me it is obvious that fixes intended for feat-enabled games are best implemented using feats.

That is, I see no reason to change the basic game at all. Any fix that begins with removing the BA from two-weapon fighting would do so through a feat.

Yes, that would likely make that feat a must have for TWFers, but that battle was lost a long time ago.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
I can only speak for myself but to me it is obvious that fixes intended for feat-enabled games are best implemented using feats.

That is, I see no reason to change the basic game at all. Any fix that begins with removing the BA from two-weapon fighting would do so through a feat.

Yes, that would likely make that feat a must have for TWFers, but that battle was lost a long time ago.
You jumping around a lot. First it’s, less balance it in a featless game and a feat based game and with haste. Now you are saying let’s forget the rest and just add a feat and remove the bonus action. That’s some major shifting goal posts man
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
TO be fair, the balance issue with feats versus featless is a little different. In a featless game the issue is straight up class abilities competing for bonus attacks. In that game I'm not overly worried about anyone except fighters - i think the fighting style needs to not cost a bonus actions, everyone else can pick IMO. The other styles give you additional stuff w/o costing the BA and TWF should be the same. The style fix could be as simple as adding a single additional offhand attack, with mods, when characters take the attack action (but regardless of number of other attacks). A single extra attack is a big deal when it doesn't cost the BA. In a game with feats the issue is balancing TWF against sharpshooter, polearm and GWM builds, and that requires a little more granularity, and I agree that the most sensible way to go there is to add competing feats that add equivalent value.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Could something that allows a TWF to attack with his offhand anytime he misses with his mainhand work? It seems thematic and provides a mechanic that scales based on number of attacks. The DPR increase would be between 1 and 2 for most chances ho hit.
That's not bad. With that rule, you could leave the fighting style alone, since it would scale about as well as dueling. And the accuracy bonus would go well with a change to the Dual Wielder feat that adds a -X/+2X mechanic.

Edit: Checking a bit more, I really like how that looks. No feats, just fighting styles, 2H is a little ahead, about 1.2-1.5 dps per attack at tier 1. DW scales better with ability mod, though. The fighting style is a little better than GWF, and a little worse than dueling at low levels, and about equivalent at high accuracy and a +5 ability mod.

Tested around a few different versions of the -X/+2X rule, I like -3/+6 the best for dual-wielding. It puts dual-wielding about 2 DPR per attack ahead in moderate accuracy situations and no disadvantage, but GWM jumps ahead by about 1-2 DPR in advantage situations, and scales better with more accuracy (Like bless and Elven Accuracy). On hit bonuses scale better for dual-wielding, as you would expect from the greater accuracy. Which one you favor would really depend on particular build types.

GWM would still have a slight advantage overall because it gives you a strong chance of a powerful bonus action use, which dual-wielding doesn't have.
 
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5ekyu

Explorer
That's not bad. With that rule, you could leave the fighting style alone, since it would scale about as well as dueling. And the accuracy bonus would go well with a change to the Dual Wielder feat that adds a -X/+2X mechanic.

Edit: Checking a bit more, I really like how that looks. No feats, just fighting styles, 2H is a little ahead, about 1.2-1.5 dps per attack at tier 1. DW scales better with ability mod, though. The fighting style is a little better than GWF, and a little worse than dueling at low levels, and about equivalent at high accuracy and a +5 ability mod.

Tested around a few different versions of the -X/+2X rule, I like -3/+6 the best for dual-wielding. It puts dual-wielding about 2 DPR per attack ahead in moderate accuracy situations and no disadvantage, but GWM jumps ahead by about 1-2 DPR in advantage situations, and scales better with more accuracy (Like bless and Elven Accuracy). On hit bonuses scale better for dual-wielding, as you would expect from the greater accuracy. Which one you favor would really depend on particular build types.

GWM would still have a slight advantage overall because it gives you a strong chance of a powerful bonus action use, which dual-wielding doesn't have.
My only gripe to this is - just make it advantage on the regular attacks (attack action) and choose either weapon to hit. The net result is pretty much the same, but quicker. You dont have to resolve one attack as a miss to get the second dice bring rolled for a hit.

The net result is *mostly* the same - two dice rolled and at most one hit. But resolving each sequentially instead of just rolling and taking the higher is slower.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
My only gripe to this is - just make it advantage on the regular attacks (attack action) and choose either weapon to hit. The net result is pretty much the same, but quicker. You dont have to resolve one attack as a miss to get the second dice bring rolled for a hit.

The net result is *mostly* the same - two dice rolled and at most one hit. But resolving each sequentially instead of just rolling and taking the higher is slower.
The problem with that approach is that once you make it advantage, it doesn't stack with everything else that grants advantage. (What's the benefit to a barbarian with Reckless Attack, for example?) And it doesn't really map to the narrative of using two different weapons. (What if your main hand weapon is a flametongue, and the off-hand weapon is a dagger of venom?)

It would be a slight simplification in exchange for a loss of flavor and possible tactics.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
You jumping around a lot. First it’s, less balance it in a featless game and a feat based game and with haste. Now you are saying let’s forget the rest and just add a feat and remove the bonus action. That’s some major shifting goal posts man
?

I didn't realize I was on the pitch, tending the goal..

I was only responding to a poster taking an approach suitable for feat-enabled games and predicting doom and gloom for the feat-less game.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Monks already functionally use TWFing with Martial Arts and Flurry. Any changes to TWFing would require adjusting the way Martial Arts works.
 

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