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Thread: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    6. Exotic Weapons

    In general, you should avoid spending a feat on Exotic Weapon Proficiency (EWP), because in most cases the benefits just aren't worth taking up one of your precious feat slots. In the long run, a weapon with a slightly higher base damage or that crits slightly more often isn't nearly as important as the bonuses and modifiers you can stack on top of it. By all means, if you can use simple or martial weapons to dish out the DPS, then do so, and save your feats for amping up the whoopass. However, if you are going to go exotic, there are a few exotic weapons that can be combined with various style feats and class abilities that can unlock more interesting options in combat. Some other reasons you might want to "Go Exotic":

    • Weapon familiarity. If you got it, might as well flaunt it.
    • Deity has an exotic favored weapon, and the DM will let you get EWP through the War domain power.
    • It looks cooler.


    a. Exotic Light Weapons

    Barbed Dagger (Complete Adventurer). If you have at least 5 ranks in Sleight of Hand, you get a +2 untyped damage bonus on your sneak attacks. This makes taking EWP: Barbed Dagger the equivalent of Weapon Specialization: Dagger for Rogues, which isn't exactly regarded as a very good feat to take, but hey, bonus damage is still bonus damage.

    Broadblade Shortsword (Complete Adventurer). This weapon has the same properties as a shortsword, but the broader blade can give you a +1 dodge bonus (grrr... effing errata) if you fight defensively or use Combat Expertise with it... which is apparently just as good as a light shield, Two-Weapon Defense, parrying dagger, combat cloak, buckler, etc. However, I despise both fighting defensively and Combat Expertise as a complete waste of time.

    Butterfly Sword (Arms & Equipment Guide). This is essentially an exotic version of the Straightblade (Planar Handbook) or Cutlass (Stormwrack), but counts as a special monk weapon if you're looking for something to Flurry with.

    Claw Bracer (Arms & Equipment Guide). This is a metal armband with essentially daggers sticking out of it, but it leaves your hands free if you need to manipulate objects or cast spells. If you have natural weapons such as claws, then this allows you to attack with both your claw bracers and your claws. There is no mention in the description on whether this weapon occupies the arm slot or interferes with wearing magical bracers.

    Collapsing Cresent Fan (Sandstorm). This is functionally the same as a shortsword, except when attacking flat-footed opponents, in which case it gets a +4 untyped attack bonus. If you're doing something with sneak attack or Iajutsu focus, this might be worth a look if you can spare a feat, but otherwise you're probably better off sticking with a shortsword.

    Cutting Wheel (Secrets of Sarlona). At first glance, these don't have much to offer over the basic shortsword, except maybe a +2 to resist disarm attempts, but they offer two damage types and can be used as special monk weapons. There's also the Wind and Fire [Style] feat, which for three prereq feats offers some cumulative bleeding damage. So, while mechanically it may not be worth dropping a feat for EWP, it looks awesome and has great flavor.

    Dwarven Buckler-Axe (A&EG, Complete Warrior, Races of Stone). This is the ultimate shield for TWFers. It provides a +1 shield bonus while leaving your hands free, you don't have to take EWP if you're only using it as a shield, and even better it doesn't incur a -1 attack penalty for attacking with a buckler on your arm (just make sure it's masterwork to eliminate the -1 ACP). If you do want to use it as a weapon, it's slashing so it works with Dervish and Snowflake Wardance. Two buckler-axes = two wand chambers (100 GP, Dungeonscape) and two augment crystals (MIC), or four augment crystals if you can add weapon and shield crystals to the same item. You can enchant it as both a weapon (the Eager and Warning properties from the MIC say "Hello!") and a shield. It's generally cheaper to add the Soulfire or Freedom enchantment (both in MIC) to a buckler-axe rather than your existing armor. If you're a dwarf, you can use the optional weapon familiarity rules in Complete Warrior to switch your martial proficiency with dwarven war-axe or dwarven urgrosh to dwarven buckler-axe.

    Eagle's Claw (Sandstorm). This is a hooked weapon, somewhat similar to a sickle, but with the crit range of a kukri. A fingerloop in the handle supposedly makes it easy to switch between grips, but according to the table it counts as both a slashing and piercing weapon regardless of how it's gripped. This means you can use it for anything that requires piercing (Duelist, Dive Attacks) as well as slashing (Dervish, Snowflake Wardance) without changing weapons. This is a good weapon for Crit-Fishing, particularly when you add the Eagle's Fury feat for an extra attack. The Asherati race (Sandstorm) treat this as a martial weapon rather than exotic.

    Elven Lightblade (Complete Warrior, Races of the Wild). This is essentially a shortsword with a better crit range and some text that allows it to benefit from certain feats that would normally apply to a shortsword or rapier. If you're an elf that took Improved Weapon Familiarity, then the Elven Lightblade pairs up nicely as an offhand weapon with the Elven Thinblade as your primary weapon. However, if you can't spare the feats, a rapier/shortsword combo is still pretty decent.

    Fingerblade (Sandstorm). This weapon is functionally similar to a punching dagger, except it does a little more damage, and deals an additional 1d6 damage to flat-footed opponents during the first round of combat. While this might be good for a sneak attack build, I'm not sure I'd consider it worth spending a feat on EWP.

    Gnome Tortoise Blade (Complete Warrior, Races of Stone). This weapon offers a +1 shield bonus, similar to a Dwarven Buckler-Axe, but isn't quite as useful because it encloses the entire hand. Even so, you can attack with it as a light piercing weapon, and although you lose the +1 shield bonus, you don't incur the -1 attack penalty for attacking with a buckler on your arm. You can enchant it separately as both a weapon and shield, you can add a wand chamber (100 GP, Dungeonscape) or an augment crystal (MIC), and if you're a gnome you can use the optional weapon familiarity rules in Complete Warrior to switch your martial proficiency with gnome hooked hammer to gnome tortoise blade.

    Hook Sword (Secrets of Sarlona). This weapon answers the age-old question, "So, did any of the designers ever actually *watch* a martial arts movie?" This weapon isn't all that functionally better than a longsword, but it looks super-wicked-awesome. You get a +2 on disarm attempts, two different damage types, and it can be used as a special monk weapon (duh!). But then you add the Flying Tiger [Style] feat and the super-wicked-awesome you thought you had before looks super-snoozefest-boring compared to the super-wicked-awesome you have now, as you can now as a free action switch between one sword in each hand to a two-handed grip on linked swords. While linked, the hook swords work much like a spiked chain, giving you a one-handed or two-handed reach weapon that can attack adjacent... which puzzles me somewhat, as I'm not sure what you'd do with your offhand attacks, although odds are good only a monk is insane enough to use this weapon, and maybe that unarmed strike thing might come in handy.

    Kusari-Gama (DMG p. 144). This oriental weapon is a lighter version of the spiked chain, and the only other reach weapon in the Core rules that can also attack adjacent opponents. As a light weapon, you can TWF with one of these in each hand. If you're looking to add Power Attack damage to this, then consider upgrading to the Spinning Sword (Secrets of Sarlona).

    Manople (Sandstorm). This is sort of a combination of a sai or parrying dagger melded with a spiked gauntlet, except the basket hilt entirely encloses the hand and part of the forearm, preventing you from holding or manipulating objects with that hand. You can punch or slash with it, as well as use it something like a buckler to gain a +1 shield bonus. However, unlike a buckler you still keep the shield bonus if you attack with that arm, essentially giving you the benefit of Improved Shield Bash for free. However, if you're just looking for a +1 shield bonus, I think I still prefer the Dwarven Buckler-Axe (Complete Warrior, Races of Stone), which offers the same +1 shield bonus even if you don't take EWP and leaves your hand free to wield other weapons or manipulate objects.

    Panther Claw (Arms & Equipment Guide). This weapon combines a punching dagger with a parrying dagger, and gets a +4 circumstance bonus on disarm attempts. This means it winds up being better at disarming than the Triple Dagger (same book), which only gets a +3 bonus.

    Sapara (Arms & Equipment Guide). This is a shorter version of the curved khopesh sword, but it's a light weapon you can trip with, although I'm not sure why you'd spend a feat on this when you could be using a flail or spiked chain instead.

    Triple Dagger (Sword & Fist, Arms & Equipment Guide). This is a parrying dagger, with two extra prongs that give you a +3 bonus on disarm attempts. This makes it worse than a Panther Claw (Arms & Equipment Guide) at disarming, which gets a +4 circumstance bonus.

    b. Exotic One-Handed Weapons

    Bastard Sword. For reasons I can't explain, this is my favorite exotic weapon... but even though I love it beyond all reason, it's still terrible. There isn't much a bastard sword can do that a longsword can't do just as well, and the +1 average damage isn't worth spending a feat on EWP. Unlike the dwarven waraxe, there's no race that has weapon familiarity with it, so I can't use that as an excuse. But if you really want to use a bastard sword... try to get your hands on a lesser/unawakened sunsword (3000 GP, Expedition to Castle Ravenloft p. 210). This is a +1 bastard sword that can be wielded by anybody who is proficient with a shortsword. Better yet, get your hands on the original sun blade (50335 GP, DMG p. 228), and you can wield it as if it were a shortsword "with respect to weight and ease of use", which may make this the best possible offhand weapon in the game. Even better, get two sun blades, one for each hand. Unfortunately, the sunsword doesn't use the same "ease of use" wording... but still, getting proficiency with shortswords is usually easier than spending a feat on EWP. If we add the Morphing property (+1 enhancement, MIC) to a sunsword or sun blade, then things get a little more interesting... since a bastard sword is a one-handed exotic weapon and a two-handed martial weapon, you can morph it into any one-handed or two-handed weapon in the game, and still be considered proficient with it. A Bloodclaw Master (Tome of Battle) with a morphing sunsword can wield a greataxe/unarmed strike with *zero* TWF penalties, or go to town with two morphing sun blades and wield a greataxe as a light weapon in each hand.

    Dragonsplits (Monster Manual IV). This is similar to a shortsword (1d6, crit 19-20/x2), but with another cutting surface that can be used for slashing (1d6, crit 20/x4). For the purposes of TWF and Weapon Finesse they are considered light weapons, but for everything else (including Power Attack) they count as one-handed weapons. If you're looking to combine TWF with Power Attack, then this saves you a feat because you no longer have to pick up Oversized TWF. Add Feycraft (+1500 GP each, DMGII) and the damage drops to 1d4 but you can skip taking Weapon Finesse as well.

    Dwarven Waraxe. For the same reason as the bastard sword, spending a feat on EWP for a +1 average damage bonus generally isn't worth it. However, if you're a dwarf and get weapon familiarity for free... hey, might as well enjoy it! This means dwarves may be the best race for the Sword & Board Style, or grab Oversized TWF and put a dwarven waraxe in each hand. If you managed to avoid getting any martial weapon proficiencies, the dwarven deity Gendwar Argrim has it as a favored weapon, so you could pick it up along with Weapon Focus: Dwarven Waraxe with a cleric dip or the Planar Touchstone feat linked to the Catalogues of Enlightenment.

    Elven Thinblade (Complete Warrior, Races of the Wild). This is a rapier for snotty elves that consider a standard rapier to not be light and graceful enough to be wielded by elves. As far as properties go, it's not all that much different than a rapier, except the damage is 1d8, and it doesn't include the "no two-handed x1.5 Str bonus" prohibition from the rapier's description. It works with Weapon Finesse, Power Attack, Oversized TWF, and it counts as either a rapier or longsword for the purpose of any of the Weapon Focus/Specialization/Improved Critical feats. Elves get actual Martial Weapon feats rather than racial weapon familiarity, but they can pick up proficiency with all three "Elven" blades (lightblade, thinblade, and courtblade) by taking the Improved Weapon Familiarity feat (Complete Warrior), and this pairs up nicely with the elven lightblade as an offhand weapon.

    Flindbar (Monster Manual III). If you're doing anything with Improved Disarm, then spending EWP on the flindbar is worth it because you get a free disarm attempt whenever you threatens a critical hit. As far as one-handed weapons go, it's at least decent: 2d4 damage (average 5), crit 19-20/x2, and a +2 bonus on disarm checks. As a one-handed weapon, you can grip it two-handed, but it's not clear from the disarm rules if you still get the +4 bonus for using a two-handed weapon (hopefully your DM will be nice and give it to you). Or add a second flindbar with Oversized TWF to go for quantity over quality. This doesn't stop your DM from never giving his naked monsters any manufactured weapons, but well... you probably knew that was going to happen before you took Improved Disarm.

    Ice Axe (Frostburn). If you don't take EWP, this works as a somewhat clumsy martial weapon (only a -2 non-proficiency penalty) and a climbing tool that gives you a +1 circumstance bonus to Climb checks in mountainous and/or icy terrain. If you do take EWP, then it resembles a heavy pick but the bonus to Climb checks goes up to +4. While a +1 situational climbing bonus might be worth spending 10 GP on this (if only to carry around in your pack with the hope that it might be useful someday), there are much better exotic one-handed weapons to spend a feat on.

    Khopesh (Sandstorm). This weapon has the same crit-friendly stats as a scimitar, but the hooked blade can also be used for tripping. If you need an offhand weapon for tripping, consider the Sapara (A&EG), take Oversized TWF, or save yourself a feat and upgrade to the Double Khopesh.

    Maul (Complete Warrior). This was originally published in the Arms & Equipment guide as a two-handed martial weapon, but the Complete Warrior version allows it to be wielded one-handed as an exotic weapon, thus making this the bludgeoning version of the bastard sword or dwarven waraxe. Unfortunately, the weapon is still too obscure to be included in any weapon style feats or racial familiarity rules, although in the Forgotten Realms the dwarven deity Dumathoin has it as his favored weapon (but sadly, no War domain).

    Quickblade Rapier (Complete Adventurer). This weapon offers two bonuses, a +2 untyped bonus on disarm attempts (if your DM is ever nice enough to give all his naked monsters weapons) and a +2 circumstance bonus on Bluff checks to feint in combat (which generally ruins your ability to make full attacks). If you have a disarm-focused build, the flindbar (Monster Manual III) or tigerskull club (Frostburn) is probably a better investment for EWP. If you have a feint-focused build, I'd look for better ways to improve your Bluff check than spending a feat on this.

    Spinning Sword (Secrets of Sarlona). This weapon is frequently identified as "whatever that thing Ivy uses in Soul Calibur", but based on the artwork it looks more like a three-tailed flail or scourge. Looks aside, it's a spiked chain that can be wielded one-handed, which opens up several TWF possibilities, such as Power Attack and Oversized TWF. As with the spiked chain, it has reach, it can strike adjacent, and it's finessable, but for some reason it shares the rapier's prohibition against getting x1.5 Str bonus when gripping it two-handed (although please note that it *can* be gripped two-handed, and you can still get two-handed Power Attack damage out of it). It can also be worn as a belt for those warriors who insist on properly accessorizing their weaponry with their wardrobe.

    Stump Knife (Sword & Fist, Arms & Equipment Guide). Aside from getting your hand chopped off to wield it, the only thing worth noting about this dagger-like weapon is the description says if you use it against an opponent you've already damaged with it, the threat range doubles to 17-20. Since this weapon wasn't included in the "Keen and Improved Critical don't stack" nerf in 3.5, you can presumably use this weapon in a Crit-Fisher build to get a much larger crit range. But even die-hard optimizers would probably consider mutilating yourself to mount a stump knife as going a bit too far.

    Tigerskull Club (Frostburn). This weapon is essentially an exotic morning star, except it has a skull on it (which of course makes it look wicked cool), and you get a +2 circumstance bonus on disarm and trip attacks. This makes it my favorite one-handed exotic weapon for Wolf Totem Barbarians and Goth Rangers (or rather, any TWF trip-based build not using a spiked chain). I'm particularly fond of rangers with Overized TWF, two tigerskull clubs, and two wand chambers with a wand of instant of power (Forge of War) and blades of fire (Spell Compendium). Using a martial tripping weapon such as a guisarme or heavy flail doesn't cost you a feat... but even so, this weapon is a SKULL ON A STICK! That's worth a feat, right?

    Warmace (Complete Warrior). This is the only 1d12 weapon that can be wielded in one hand, although it's so heavy and unbalanced that it incurs a -1 AC penalty. But really, how important is AC? Your opponent can't hit you if you smash him into a bloody pulp first! So, obviously, the only way to properly use a warmace is wield one in each hand with Oversized TWF and suck up the -2 AC penalty.

    Whip Dagger (Sword & Fist, Arms & Equipment Guide). The whip dagger makes the whip a viable weapon, but unfortunately the 3.0 rules for this weapon were never updated to 3.5. Under 3.0, the whip was a ranged weapon with a fixed 15' range. Under 3.5, it's a one-handed melee weapon with 15' reach that doesn't threaten and provokes an AoO. All you really want is the ability to deal lethal damage to your opponents regardless of their armor, so it's not too difficult to fix. As a melee weapon, you can ignore the "Mighty" version of the whip dagger (you should get your full Str bonus on melee attacks), and feats like Power Attack should work normally. To avoid the AoO, ask your DM if you can use Exotic Weapon Master's "Close Quarters Ranged Combat" stunt, since a whip provokes an AoO "just as if you had used a ranged weapon" (PHB p. 121). If that doesn't work for you, consider using a Spinning Sword (Secrets of Sarlona) instead.

    c. Exotic Two-Handed Weapons

    Chain Lash (Savage Species). This similar to a spiked chain, but it deals bludgeoning damage and can be wielded either as a two-handed reach weapon or as a double weapon. It also appears in Oriental Adventures referred to as just a "chain" or "manriki-gusari". For some TWF builds, this could be the best of both worlds, allowing you to switch between a reach weapon and double weapon. As with the spiked chain, it's finessable, you can trip with it, and you get a +2 bonus on disarm checks. However, if you've got a spiked chain build that just needs an offhand weapon, you're probably just better off spending 50 GP on armor spikes.

    Double Khopesh (Sandstorm). If you want a double weapon that can trip, but are too embarrassed by the absurdity of the dire flail, or you're trying to mix critfishing with tripping, then the double khopesh is worth considering.

    Double Scimitar (Arms & Equipment Guide, Eberron Campaign Setting). This is just another pair of ho-hum martial weapons stuck together for no discernable reason... until you take the Bladebearer of the Valenar feat and go into Revenant Blade (Player's Guide to Eberron), and then it becomes a slashing whirlwind of awesome. This PrC gives you up to three bonus feats you can swap out daily (including Fighter-only stuff like Weapon Specialization), and ends with the nifty capstone called Legendary Force. This gives you two-handed damage on both ends of the double scimitar, and is the only way to get two-handed damage bonuses on your offhand attacks if your DM shoots down Exotic Weapon Master's "Uncanny Blow" stunt. If you're looking to skip taking EWP on this, Valenar elves treat the double scimitar as a martial weapon and get a free Martial Weapon Proficiency feat for it (Races of Eberron p. 81), or you can try worshiping Spirits of the Past and get it as a favored weapon with the War domain (Player's Guide to Eberron p. 140).

    Drow Scorpion Chain (Races of Eberron, Secrets of Xen'drik). This weapon is very similar to the spiked chain, except it only does 1d6 slashing damage. There are also a couple different ways to pick up proficiency outside of EWP. Drow clerics who worship Vulkoor treat the drow scorpion chain as their favored weapon, and drow from Xen'drik who take the Drow Skirmisher feat (Races of Eberron, Secrets of Xen'drik) treat the drow scorpion chain and drow long knife as martial weapons. If you already have EWP: Spiked Chain, Weapon Focus: Spiked Chain, or Weapon Focus: Spiked Chain, you can apply the benefits of those feats to this weapon as well.

    Dwarven Urgrosh. This double weapon is frequently overlooked, possibly because everyone is afraid to pronounce it (don't look at me, I have no idea), but if you're a dwarf then it's a decent upgrade over a quarterstaff, particularly for Runesmith/Abjurant Champion gishes. Gripped two-handed, it's the equivalent of a battleaxe, and it works with the whirling blade spell. The spear end can be set against a charge, and for TWF purposes the 1d8 axe/1d6 spear combo is functionally the same as a longsword/shortsword combo. However, the best use for the urgrosh is probably using the optional weapon familiarity rules in Complete Warrior to switch martial weapon proficiency to the Dwarven Buckler Axe (Complete Warrior, Races of Stone), the best shield option for TWF.

    Dwarven Warpike (Races of Stone). I'm tempted to call this weapon a "greatsword on a stick", but there's a little more to it than that. It has reach, you can set it against charges, and you can trip with it. If you're looking to do a Lockdown/Tripper build with a dwarf but don't want to spend a feat on EWP: Spiked Chain, you can use the optional weapon familiarity rules in Complete Warrior to switch your martial proficiency with the dwarven waraxe or dwarven urgrosh to the dwarven warpike.

    Elven Courtblade (Races of the Wild). If you're looking for a finessable two-handed weapon but can't bring yourself to wield something as silly as a spiked chain, then the elven courtblade is worth a look: 1d10 damage, crit 18-20/x2. For the purposes of Weapon Focus/Specialization/Improved Critical, you can treat it as a greatsword. Elves can take Improved Weapon Familiarity (Complete Warrior) to get proficiency with the three "Elven" blades (lightblade, thinblade, and courtblade), but unfortunately the thinblade or lightblade don't pair up all that well with a two-handed courtblade unless you manage to get yourself an extra hand or two.

    Fullblade (Arms & Equipment Giude). This weapon was never updated to the 3.5 rules, so you may need to invoke the "minor adjustments" clause (DMG p. 4) to bring it up to date. This isn't all that difficult, as it's essentially a two-handed version of the bastard sword, sort of in between a medium-sized greatsword and an oversized greatsword. If you're looking for something that could pass for Cloud Strife's "Buster Sword", then I'd recommend taking EWP: Fullblade over Monkey Grip with an oversized greatsword, because while the oversized greatsword gets better damage (average 10.5) than the fullbade (average 9), Monkey Grip still incurs a -2 "wrong size" penalty that is nearly impossible to get rid of.

    Longaxe (Complete Adventurer). This long-handled axe has a unique property: when you use Power Attack to shift 3 or more points from your attack bonus to damage, you can choose to treat this as a reach weapon. You have to live with that decision until the start of your next turn, but at least you don't have to switch weapons or spend any actions if you want to switch between attacking with reach or attacking adjacent opponents. However, unless you have a serious axe fetish, taking EWP: Spiked Chain lets you attack with reach or adjacent, and has additional features (finesse, disarm, trip, etc.).

    Longstaff (Complete Adventurer). This is a longer version of the quarterstaff, but it offers a unique feature: if you use Combat Expertise to shift at least two points to AC, you can't be flanked. Unlike Improved Uncanny Dodge, there's no exception clause for higher-level rogues. It's also considered a special monk weapon, if you had your heart set on combining TWF with Flurry of Misses.

    Jovar (Planar Handbook). If you're looking for the damage output of a greatsword but with the critical range of a falchion, then what you want is a jovar. Even better, make it out of gold/platinum (Heavy Weapon, Magic of Faerun p. 176) for a 2d8 weapon with a 18-20/x2 critical, or use Kaorti resin and you've got a 2d6 weapon with a 18-20/x4 critical. Sadly, you can't do both, but you can still upsize the damage with Strongarm Bracers.

    Minotaur Greathammer (Monster Manual IV). This weapon is subject to some controversy because it was the only exotic weapon that got both a better critical range and a better critical multiplier than a martial version of a similar weapon: 19-20/x4. When Races of Stone included the "goliath greathammer" as an exotic weapon (same 1d12 damage but crit is now just 20/x4), some considered this to be an "official update" (or "official nerf") of the minotaur greathammer. If you go by strict RAW, then different names should mean they count as different weapons, but some DMs may be wary that allowing minotaur greathammers as overpowered (feh... wussie DMs, more like). More broadly, you could also call this as MCHNT (Melee Can't Have Nice Things). As far as I'm concerned, taking EWP should be worth spending a feat on it, and if you can get 19-20/x4 on this two-handed brainsmasher, then I'd say that's worth it.

    Ritiik (Frostburn). This is a spear with a hook-like barb on it, but it somehow managed to avoid getting some unpronounceable French name... instead it has some unpronounceable Inuit name? Rather than give a bonus to trip attacks, this weapon gives you free trip attempts if your target fails a Ref save (DC = 10 + damage dealt). This makes the ritiik similar to taking the Knock-Down feat (Sword & Fist or SRD/Divine Feats section) that only works on a failed save, but if you're doing the two-handed Power Attack thing right, that shouldn't be a problem. Combine with Improved Trip for more free attacks.

    Sharktooth Staff (Savage Species). If you hit a small or medium-sized creature with this polearm, you can get a free grapple attempt, similar to the Improved Grab ability. The Pincer Staff (favored by the Kuo-Toa, and thus also found in the Monster Manual) and Mancatcher (Complete Warrior) also do something similar, but are reach weapons. However, since most TWF feats stop working once you're in a grapple, I can't really recommend any of these weapon.

    Spiked Chain. Yeah, this may be one of the silliest weapons in the game, but love it or hate it, it's hard to argue with results, and the spiked chain is one of the most versatile exotic weapons in the game. It has reach, it can attack adjacent targets, it's two-handed, it's finessable, it gets +2 on disarms, and you can trip with it. You can TWF with a spiked chain, but you'll need an offhand weapon that doesn't involve your hands, such as armor spikes or unarmed strike. Although the spiked chain can't be wielded as a double weapon, the chain lash (Savage Species) is a similar weapon that can be used as either a reach weapon or as a double-weapon without reach (in Oriental Adventures, a similar weapon is called a manriki-gusari or just a chain). The spiked chain is the favorite weapon for Lockdown and Chain-Tripper builds, but there are other alternatives. If you can't spare a feat for EWP, try a guisarme + armor spikes or unarmed strike. If you don't care about tripping but need a martial reach weapon that can attack adjacent opponents, try the duom (Dragon Compendium). If you need something one-handed, try the Spinning Sword (Secrets of Sarlona), or if you need something light, try the Kusari-Gama (DMG).

    Sugliin (Frostburn). This reach weapon is so unwieldy, you need another entire feat on top of EWP in order to wield it properly, so the advice against spending a feat on exotic weapons applies twice here. If you're in an E6 game or a low-level game where it's unlikely you'll ever get more iterative attacks, the sugliin might be worth a look for offering a whopping double dose of d8 damage (average 9), but again... probably not worth a feat. If you're just looking for 2d8 damage, consider the fullbade (Arms & Equipment Guide) instead, although as you get into the higher levels, the base weapon damage becomes a lot less important than the modifiers you put on top of it. Even so... a Goliath Barbarian with Mountain Range and Monkey-Gripping a huge-sized sugliin... 4d8 (average 18) is nothing to sneeze at. Something else to consider is that while not having the Sugliin Mastery feat means it takes a full round to attack with it, you can still attack with it on AoOs or get extra attacks from other abilities: Whirling Frenzy, haste, snake's swiftness, etc.

    Zulaat (Secrets of Sarlona). This double weapon, essentially a two-headed glaive, has a slightly higher average damage (5) than the orc-double axe (4.5), giving this the highest average damage of all the exotic double weapons, but this is not really a ringing endorsement.