View Full Version : Dual Wielding Penalty Question

2007-09-18, 06:48 AM
I'm hoping you can help me with a question about dual wielding.

If you're holding a weapon in each hand, are you able to attack with just the main-hand weapon without the usual dual wielding penalties?
According to the SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialAttacks.htm#twoWeaponFighting), the rules state that "you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon ... with a penalty to the attack ... when you fight this way." I'm not sure if this means when you attack this way, or any time you have a weapon in each hand, so I'd like to see what you guys think.

If you can attack with your main weapon with no penalty, what happens if you have a defending enchantment on your off-hand? Do you only get the benefit of this enchantment if you attack with that weapon? Again, according to the SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicWeapons.htm#defending), the rules state "the wielder chooses how to allocate the weapon’s enhancement bonus at the start of his turn before using the weapon." I'm not sure if this implies you must attack with the weapon to get the bonus, so, again, I'd like to see what you guys think.

Basically, I want a round-about, inefficient way to have a shield without having the armor check penalty. (Ignoring Two-Weapon Defense)

The Duskblade
2007-09-18, 07:16 AM
I would read it (And most DM's not matter what it said would rule it as) you only get a penalty if you USE the offhand item.

I would also rule that whether or not you attack with it if you wish to use the enchantment the Weapon is in use. While you might not be attacking your still putting effort towards parrying and blocking. Meaning you get slapped with a negative to hit.

2007-09-18, 07:27 AM
Yes, there is no penalty to hit with your main weapon hand if you do not use the weapon in the other hand. Otherwise there would be a penalty to hit when you equip a shield, or hold a torch or wand... etc.

However, the Defending weapon does specify the weapon is "used" in order to gain its benefits. Therefore, if you don't swing that sword, you don't get its benefit. To rule otherwise would open up all sorts of abuses, like having 5 +3 Defending daggers in your belt and having them all add to your AC. Just not workable.

2007-09-18, 07:35 AM
Well, it's nice to see our thoughts are similar. Sadly, it's not what I want to be true. :smallfrown:

2007-09-18, 08:23 AM
Basically, I want a round-about, inefficient way to have a shield without having the armor check penalty. (Ignoring Two-Weapon Defense)

If you want to get a shield bonus without actually having to carry a shield, why not get an animated (darkwood or mithral) heavy shield? You don't need to carry it and it has no ACP. You could also get a ring of shield or a custom item that casts shield x/day (from experience, this is a very useful item).

Barring that, find interesting ways to get a cover bonus. :smallsmile:

2007-09-18, 08:38 AM
Hellforged Armor/Shield template improves (read: reduces) the Armor Check Penalty by 1 among other nice/nifty effects. (It's in DMG II, doesn't cost an enhancement bonus, and adds only 400 gp on to the cost). If that's your goal.

2007-09-18, 11:48 AM
Thanks for the other ideas, I'll look into 'em.

Edit: The darkwood or mithril shield look like good ideas, if a bit pricey. They led me to a masterwork light shield, which should have no armor check penalty, and is just what I wanted.
As for the hellforged item, it has a minimum of 1 for the ACP, so no-go on that.

Fax Celestis
2007-09-18, 12:16 PM
Some of my DMs--and myself--rule that you only take the penalty if you use the extra attacks. If one were to use double shortswords with an attack bonus of +11/+6/+1, and attack like Left +11, Right +6, Left +1, you would receive no penalty for TWF since you were within the regular bounds of your attack pattern.

It's a technical reading of the rules that fits within existing mechanics, doesn't really increase the power of TWF, but still makes it a more viable option to use.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-09-18, 12:22 PM
It's true, TWF is unfortunately underpowered. In my games, I've now mixed all TWF and TWD feats into a single feat and added a feat to actually increase attack when dual-wielding (got the idea from the Tempest prc), and yet a power attacking THF still tears them apart. Then one smart ass pulled the greatsword + spiked armor combo, and I ruled that using a two-hander and using any other bodypart for fighting at the same time required a completely different feat that actually did stack like the old TWF. Because that was ridiculous.

2007-09-18, 12:59 PM
I've been contemplating rolling in some of the other TWF feats into the base line and decreasing the Dex requirement. For example:

Two-Weapon Fighting:
Requires: BAB +1, 13 Dex
Gives the effects of TWF, TWD, and Dual Strike

Improved Two-Weapon Fighting:
Requires: BAB +6, TWF, 15 Dex
Gives the effects of ITWF, ITWD, and Two-Weapon Rend

Greater Two-Weapon Fighting:
Requires: BAB+11 TWF, ITWF, 17 Dex
Gives the effects of GTWF, GTWD, and gives you Pounce.

That's the basic idea, never implemented it yet.

2007-09-18, 02:02 PM
The most effective way to be a TWF is to add non-Power Attack damage to your build. There are many ways of doing this - Rogue, Psychic Rogue, Psychic Assassin, Duskblade, Daring Outlaw Rogue/Swashbuckler, etc.

2007-09-18, 02:09 PM
If you're not sneak attackin', you ain't doin' JACK.


Fax Celestis
2007-09-18, 02:14 PM
If you're not sneak attackin', you ain't doin' JACK.


"SNEAK ATTACK **********!...hey, that is fun."

-Tordek (yes, Tordek)

2007-09-18, 02:56 PM
"SNEAK ATTACK MOTHAF*****!...hey, that is fun."

-Tordek (yes, Tordek)

Which one was Tordek? The... Half-Orc Barbarian?

2007-09-18, 02:58 PM
"SNEAK ATTACK MOTHAF*****!...hey, that is fun."

-Tordek (yes, Tordek)

where are you getting these?!

Fax Celestis
2007-09-18, 03:01 PM
Which one was Tordek? The... Half-Orc Barbarian?

The dwarven fighter.

And they're from the PHB-PSAs, found on YouTube, here (http://youtube.com/results?search_query=phb+psa).

2007-09-18, 06:06 PM
If you don't get it for free or get free bonus damage, don't TWF.

*drinks pine sol*