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    Oct 2006
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    Default [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

    I. On the First Hand: Basic TWF Rules

    1. "Two Blades are Better Than One."

    Two-Weapon Fighting (TWF) is often derided as underpowered and sub-optimal, particularly when compared to the Two-Handed Fighting (THF) Power-Attacking Uberchargers. However, there's one thing TWF has over the two-handed meatbags: it looks so undeniably more awesome. Is it all style over substance, though? Before we get into that, let's go over the basic rules:

    _______ TWF for Dummies
    Step 1. Do you have two or more weapons currently at your disposal that can attack into one of the squares you threaten? If yes, go to Step 2. If no, go to Step 5.
    Step 2. Do you have the Two-Weapon Fighting feat? If yes, go to Step 3. If no, go to Step 6.
    Step 3. Is one of your weapons considered light? If yes, then go to Step 4. If no, then both your primary and offhand attack have a -4 penalty, and your offhand attack only gets 1/2 of your Strength bonus on damage. However, since you're missing a lot, you don't look nearly as *awesome* as you could be, and should probably keep reading this OffHandbook for pointers.
    Step 4. Excellent! Your primary attack gets a -2 attack penalty. Your offhand attack (the light one) gets a -2 attack penalty and 1/2 the Strength bonus. But you totally don't mind all that, because it looks awesome.
    Step 5. Bummer. Why exactly are you reading this OffHandbook?
    Step 6. Ugh! Math is hard! You have, uh... totally negative infinity to attack. Might as well not bother.

    Seriously, there's a chart on page 160 of the PHB, but it's not all that complicated:

    Style Primary Offhand
    TWF + Offhand Light -2 -2
    TWF + Offhand Not-Light -4 -4
    No TWF + Offhand Light -4 -8
    No TWF + Offhand Not-Light -6 -10

    This whole rules discussion thing gets considerably more dense and impenetrable after this. If you just want to get to the good stuff, skip down to "Section III: Practical Tools for TWF Builds".

    In D&D (and a variety of other d20-based games), there are a few other methods to gain an extra attack by paying an attack penalty on all your attacks for that round. Rapid Shot, Flurry of Blows, and Snap Kick generally work this way. However, it's important to note that TWF penalties only apply to your primary and offhand attacks. If you gain additional attacks with another weapon via some other means (such as with natural weapons), then the TWF penalties don't apply to those attacks.

    2. Skip's Rules of the Game:

    Skip Williams was one of the original designers for D&D Third Edition, and spent several years as the Official Sage for rules questions. He also authored a series of articles for the WotC website called "Rules of the Game" to clear up some of the confusion in the core rulebooks on a variety of topics. However, it should be noted that while Skip is a somewhat reliable authority on the rules, his opinion does not count as actual iron-clad official rules or errata. They are in the same rules-hierarchy as the FAQ: good guidelines and advice, but still Rules-As-Interpreted (RAI) rather than Rules-As-Written (RAW). I don't always necessarily agree with Skip, and he doesn't really cover some of the oddball corner-cases that sometimes occur with TWF, but here some links to his Rules of the Game articles for reference:

    Rules of the Game: Two-Weapon Fighting (Part 1)
    Rules of the Game: Two-Weapon Fighting (Part 2)
    Rules of the Game: Two-Weapon Fighting (Part 3)

    (Note: I have surreptitiously changed the name of these articles to "Two-Weapon" rather than "Two-Handed" to avoid confusion with the term "Two-Handed Fighting" (THF), which is more commonly understood as fighting with two hands on a single weapon. Hopefully Skip won't mind.)

    Another basic rule we need to be aware of: TWF requires full attacks. According to the SRD:

    "If you get more than one attack per round because your base attack bonus is high enough, because you fight with two weapons or a double weapon or for some special reason you must use a full-round action to get your additional attacks." (emphasis added)

    While you can still take a 5' step and full attack, there are a large number of creatures that don't have the common decency to just stand there and let you wail on them with full attacks every round. The key to success with most TWF builds is figuring out how to move + full attack in the same round. We'll get into this with more detail in Section II, but just be aware that this is where many TWF builds start to lose ground against the THF crowd: they can still move + standard attack and use all their Power Attack multipliers for bonus damage, while all of TWF's bonus damage tends to be tied up in getting multiple attacks. If your combat strategy involves anything that requires a standard action, such as casting spells or Tome of Battle strikes, then this can create a conflict with TWF.

    3. "Fighting With Two Weapons" vs. "Two-Weapon Fighting"

    Before we go any further, it's important to clarify something that's ambiguous with the Full Attack and TWF rules. In the Combat rules, the last paragraph of the "Full Attack" section states:

    "If you get multiple attacks because your base attack bonus is high enough, you must make the attacks in order from highest bonus to lowest. If you are using two weapons, you can strike with either weapon first." (emphasis added)

    According to my interpretation of the rules, if you have multiple weapons to attack with, and multiple iterative attacks, it is possible to attack with two weapons but not use the TWF rules to gain an extra off-hand attack. For example, a 6th level Fighter is holding a longsword in one hand and a dagger in the other. His BAB is +6, so he gets two iterative attacks: +6 and +1. According to the rules, he can attack with either the longsword or the dagger first. Presumably, he can switch to a different weapon after his first attack if he is so inclined (although this is never explicitly stated in the rules). The Fighter may have a zombie in front of him that is vulnerable to slashing weapons such as his longsword, and a wererat on his flank that is vulnerable to silver daggers. Or there are other scenarios, where the Fighter is wielding a guisarme while wearing a spiked gauntlet, and he has two targets: one standing 10' away and another adjacent target standing inside the reach of his guisarme but within the reach of his spiked gauntlet. If the Fighter has two iterative attacks, and uses a different weapon for each attack, is he "using two weapons" and thus incurring TWF penalties, even if he did not gain any extra offhand attacks?

    For the purposes of this OffHandbook, my understanding of the rules is you can switch your primary weapon between iterative attacks to any other weapon you have readied to attack, and you only incur TWF penalties when you use the TWF rules to gain an extra offhand attack. Under this interpretation, "offhand" does not refer to any "hand" or specific physiological appendage at all, it's just a term used to describe an additional attack made with a weapon that is different from your primary weapon. It's important to note this distinction because in the Core rules, there are at least three "offhand" attacks you can make that don't necessarily involve any "hands" at all: shield bashes, armor spikes, and unarmed strikes. They can also be used as primary attacks (well... except there's a problem with the RAW on shield bashes, but it's not worth getting into that argument here). My understanding of "you can strike with either weapon first" is you can choose whichever weapon is going to be your primary on your first iterative attack, and then switch to a different primary weapon for subsequent attacks if you wish. A weapon only becomes an "offhand attack" if you decide you want an additional attack per the TWF rules, at which point that weapon becomes your offhand attack for the round, and you apply the appropriate TWF penalties.

    There's another quirk to the Full Attack rules, which state that you can decide whether to make your first attack a standard attack or a full attack after you see the results of your first attack. It's not clear if this applies only to your iterative attacks, or if you can also use the TWF rules, in which case... how do you apply the TWF penalties *after* you've determined that your first attack hit but before you've decided to use TWF?

    According to Skip Williams' Rules of the Game: Two-Weapon Fighting (Part 2), you have to decide whether you're going to use the TWF rules before you make your first attack roll, and apply the penalties as if you were using TWF. Once you determine if your first attack hits/misses, you can then decide to make the rest of your TWF attacks, or stop attacking and do something else with your remaining actions. Skip doesn't mention it, but I would presume that he would say you can't apply the TWF penalties first, roll the dice and realize you just barely missed your target's AC, and then decide not to use TWF to ignore the penalty, turning your single attack from a "miss" into a "hit".

    4. "Look, ma! No hands!"

    It is possible to make an offhand attack without actually using your hands. In the Core rules, you can make offhand attacks with unarmed strikes, shield bashes, or armor spikes. Let's take a closer look at these options:

    a. TWF + Unarmed Strike

    Unarmed strikes tend to create all sorts of oddball corner-cases in the rules because under some circumstances they are treated as natural weapons and under other circumstances treated as manufactured weapons. It doesn't help that the rules for unarmed strikes are spread out between the Monk's class description, the Feats section, the Weapons section, the Combat section, and tucked away into other obscure little nooks and crannies. If that weren't confusing enough, if the unarmed strike is made by a Monk, then they have additional class abilities that make their unarmed strikes work a little differently from non-monks.

    First, there's the question of whether unarmed strikes can even be used as an offhand attack. If an unarmed strike is considered a natural weapon (as the spell descriptions for magic weapon and magic fang make clear), then the answer would appear to be "no", because natural weapons aren't eligible to be offhand attacks. According to the Monster Manual (MM), all natural weapons are either primary or secondary attacks, and secondary attacks have their own rules: -5 attack penalty, and only 1/2 Strength bonus on damage. While this is similar to how offhand attacks are treated as far as the Strength bonus goes, the MM makes it clear that the penalty for secondary attacks has no effect on your primary attacks. The MM mentions this twice, actually:

    "While a humanoid fighting with two weapons takes a -2 penalty (or worse) on its primary attack, a monster fighting with a handheld weapon and a natural weapon at the same time does not take this penalty - the natural weapon is a secondary attack, and that's all."

    Also, under Manufactured Weapons:

    "These secondary attacks do not interfere with the primary attack as attacking with an off-hand weapon does, but they take the usual -5 penalty (or -2 with the Multiattack feat) for such attacks, even if the natural weapon used is normally the creature's primary weapon."

    However, unarmed strikes aren't always treated as natural weapons, and you *can* use them as an offhand attack. First, under Unarmed Attacks on page 139 of the PHB: "Striking for damage with punches, kicks, and head butts is much like attacking with a melee weapon", and then a few paragraphs later, "Unarmed Strikes count as light weapons (for the purposes of two-weapon attack penalties and so on)."

    Since whether a weapon is considered light only matters for the offhand attack, this is a clear indication by RAW that unarmed strikes were intended to be used as offhand attacks.

    But then the stupid Monk has to go and foul everything up:

    "A monk's attacks may be with either fist interchangeably or even from elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk may even make unarmed strikes with her hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed. A monk may thus apply her full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all her unarmed strikes."

    There are two ways to interpret this:

    A) Monks, and only monks, are not allowed to make offhand attacks with unarmed strikes. After all, they already have Flurry of Blows if they want to look completely useless. Why would they even bother with TWF?

    B) This sentence is not directly contradicting the general rules from the Combat section, it's just worded very poorly. It's referring to the next sentence, which restates the "no such thing" a little more clearly to describe a special Monk class feature: whenever a monk makes multiple unarmed attacks, such as with iterative attacks or with Flurry of Blows, they get their full Strength bonus on damage, regardless of whether they are physically using one hand, two hands, or no hands.

    For the purposes of this OffHandbook, I'm going to consider B) as the proper interpretation. However, that doesn't really settle the issue of whether or not unarmed strikes can be both your primary weapon and offhand weapon at the same time. After all TWF assumes you have *two* weapons. Where did the second unarmed strike come from?

    The D&D FAQ addresses this issue twice:


    Quote Originally Posted by D&D FAQ
    The description of the flurry of blows ability says there’s no such thing as a monk attacking with an off-hand weapon during a flurry of blows. What does that mean, exactly? Can the monk make off-hand attacks in addition to flurry attacks?

    Actually, the text to which you refer appears in the entry for unarmed strikes. When a monk uses her unarmed strike ability, she does not suffer any penalty for an off-hand attack, even when she has her hands full and attacks with her knees and elbows, using the flurry of blows ability to make extra attacks, or both. The rules don’t come right out and say that a monk can’t use an unarmed strike for an off-hand strike (although the exact wording of the unarmed strike ability suggests otherwise), and no compelling reason why a monk could not do so exists. When using an unarmed strike as an off-hand attack, the monk suffers all the usual attack penalties from two-weapon fighting (see Table 8–10 in the Player’s Handbook) and the monk adds only half her Strength bonus (if any) to damage if the off-hand unarmed strike hits.

    To add an off-hand attack to a flurry of blows, stack whatever two-weapon penalty the monk has with the penalty (if any) from the flurry. Attacks from the flurry have the monk’s full damage bonus from Strength, but the off-hand attack gains only half Strength bonus to damage. If the off-hand attack is a weapon, that weapon isn’t available for use in the flurry (if it can be used in a flurry at all, see the previous question). For example, a 4th-level monk with the Two-Weapon Fighting feat and a Strength score of 14 decides to use a flurry of blows and decides to throw in an off-hand attack as well. The monk has a base attack bonus of +3 and a +2 Strength bonus. With a flurry, the character can make two attacks, each at +3 (base +3, –2 flurry, +2 Strength).

    An unarmed strike is a light weapon, so the monk suffers an additional –2 penalty for both the flurry and the off-hand attack, and the monk makes three attacks, each at an attack bonus of +1. The two attacks from the flurry are primary attacks and add the monk’s full Strength bonus to damage of +2. The single off-hand attack adds half the monk’s Strength bonus to damage (+1). If the monk in our example has two sais to use with the flurry, plus the off-hand attack, she can use both in the flurry (in which case she must make the off-hand attack with an unarmed strike) or one sai for the off-hand attack and one with the flurry. The sai used in the off-hand attack is not available for the flurry and vice versa.


    Quote Originally Posted by D&D FAQ
    Can a monk fight with two weapons? Can she combine a two-weapon attack with a flurry of blows? What are her penalties on attack rolls?

    A monk can fight with two weapons just like any other character, but she must accept the normal penalties on her attack rolls to do so. She can use an unarmed strike as an offhand weapon. She can even combine two-weapon fighting with a flurry of blows to gain an extra attack with her off hand (but remember that she can use only unarmed strikes or special monk weapons as part of the flurry). The penalties for two-weapon fighting stack with the penalties for flurry of blows. For example, at 6th level, the monk Ember can normally make one attack per round at a +4 bonus. When using flurry of blows, she can make two attacks (using unarmed strikes or any special monk weapons she holds), each at a +3 bonus. If she wants to make an extra attack with her off hand, she has to accept a –4 penalty on her primary hand attacks and a –8 penalty on her off-hand attacks (assuming she wields a light weapon in her off hand).

    If Ember has Two-Weapon Fighting, she has to accept only a –2 penalty on all attacks to make an extra attack with her off hand. Thus, when wielding a light weapon in her off hand during a flurry of blows, she can make a total of three attacks, each at a total bonus of +1. At least one of these attacks has to be with her off-hand weapon.

    A 20th-level monk with Greater Two-Weapon Fighting can make eight attacks per round during a flurry of blows. Assuming she wields a light weapon in her off hand, her three off-hand weapon attacks are at +13/+8/+3, and she has five attacks (at +13/+13/+13/+8/+3) with unarmed strikes or any weapons she carries in her primary hand. If the same monk also has Rapid Shot and throws at least one shuriken as part of her flurry of blows (since Rapid Shot can be used only with ranged attacks), she can throw one additional shuriken with her primary hand, but all of her attacks (even melee attacks) suffer a –2 penalty. Thus, her full attack array looks like this: +11/+11/+11/+11/+6/+1 primary hand (two must be with shuriken) and +11/+6/+1 off hand.

    Unfortunately, the D&D FAQ is not considered official RAW, and on most subjects tends to vacillate between mildly unhelpful to wildly inaccurate. Whether or not you allow unarmed strikes to be both the primary and offhand weapon boils down to whether or not you consider an unarmed strike to be a single striking surface, or multiple striking surfaces. The unarmed strike rules in the Combat section and the Monk's unarmed strike description mention multiple striking surfaces: punches, kicks, head-butts, knees, or feet. Other than that, there isn't much help from RAW here. The combat rules reduce the striking surface to an abstraction: you don't need to specify the striking surface other than for flavor reasons. Some people, however, feel that treating an unarmed strike as multiple (or even infinite?) natural weapons has unfortunate implications, such as with weapon enhancements (which is difficult to do with unarmed strikes, but we'll get more into that later). This would allow a PC to "double up" and apply the same weapon enhancements to both their primary and offhand attacks, thus avoiding the "pay for it twice" problem that goes along with manufactured weapons, the Necklace of Natural Attacks, or the Kensai's Signature Weapon ability. (Personally, I think this argument is bogus: unarmed strikes are difficult to enchant to begin with, and their damage output tends to be significantly lower than other manufactured weapons, so why not?) Other people like to think of the monk's entire body as a single weapon, so they can add something like the Hide-Away or Sizing weapon enhancement (Magic Item Compendium), which allows the Morph Ball Trick or other oddities like the Incredible Shrinking Monk/Attack of the 50-Foot Monk.

    Astute readers may note that in both FAQ entries, nowhere does it explicitly say the monk is actually making unarmed strikes as both a primary attack and an offhand attack at the same time. In the first example, the monk is using a sai as primary with unarmed strike as the offhand. In the second example, no specific weapons are mentioned, but it's implied that either the primary or offhand is some kind of manufactured weapon. For the purposes of this OffHandbook, then, I'm going to side with the spirit of the FAQ and say that unarmed strike can't be both your primary and offhand attack at the same time.

    b. TWF + Flurry of Blows

    Again, not to belabor the point, but the only ruling we have on whether or not you're allowed to mix Flurry of Blows with TWF is the D&D FAQ (see above). Whether you consider that "official" or not is up to you and your DM, but for the purposes of this OffHandbook, I'm in agreement with the FAQ.

    There's one other quirk to Flurry of Blows, however, that might be worth mentioning:

    "When using flurry of blows, a monk may attack only with unarmed strikes or with special monk weapons (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham)."

    It's not clear if this restriction applies only to the flurry attacks, or if it also applies to any other attacks the monk is making that round. For example, if Flurry + TWF is allowed, can the monk flurry with unarmed strikes and then make an offhand attack with a dagger? Is the dagger (a non-monk weapon) really part of the flurry if it's not actually one of the flurry attacks?

    In this case I'd say it's best to fall on the side of caution, and say that whenever a monk uses Flurry of Blows in a round, all weapons they use that round for any type of attack must abide by the Flurry rules and be either unarmed strikes or special monk weapons.

    Oho, you say, then what about if I use unarmed strikes for my Flurry *and* for my offhand TWF attacks? Didn't you just say I couldn't do that? Yes, but the Flurry rules say the monk "may attack with unarmed strikes and special monk weapons interchangeably as desired". If you're going to demand that the disadvantages of Flurry should apply to TWF, then the advantages should apply as well. While we're at it, we may also want to note that using Flurry means that the Strength bonus on damage is set to x1.0 rather than x1.5 or x0.5. Does that apply to the TWF attacks as well, you ask? And at this point, I have no friggin' clue...

    c. TWF + Shield Bash/Spikes

    A heavy or light shield can be used to make shield bash attacks as an offhand weapon. On a heavy shield, your shield-hand is busy holding the shield. On a light shield, your shield-hand can hold other things (torches, wands, small furry animals, etc.), but can't use weapons (other than, presumably, the light shield itself). Thus, if your hands are busy doing something else, and you don't have Improved Unarmed Strike, you can still shield bash as an offhand attack. The tricky part to shield bashes is that by RAW it appears that an offhand attack is the *only* thing you can do with a shield bash:

    "Shield Bash Attacks: You can bash an opponent with a heavy/light shield, using it as an off-hand weapon."

    ...which can be pretty disappointing to a few of "Captain America"-style builds that want to use shield-bashing as their primary attack. In this case, there's no compelling reason to stick to such a literal reading of RAW, and just say shield bash attacks can be either primary or offhand attacks.

    If you're going to offhand with a shield, then the light shield is recommended, since it counts as a light weapon. The heavy shield is considered a one-handed weapon (not light), and thus at best would incur a -4 penalty to both your primary and offhand attacks.

    However... PHBII introduced the Agile Shield Fighter feat, which acts a lot like TWF. If you attack with both an armed strike and a shield bash in the same full attack, you take only a -2 penalty on each attack. This *replaces* the TWF penalties, which means you can now bash with a heavy shield and get the same penalties as if it were a light weapon. The only downside to Agile Shield Fighter (other than it requires three feat slots you probably don't have) is that if you want a second or third offhand attack with your heavy shield, you still need to take TWF (which is probably now useless to you), Improved TWF, and Greater TWF.

    One last note about shield bashing... I've seen several people wondering if you can carry a shield on each arm and thus TWF with two shields. So long as your DM lets you attack with a shield as a primary attack, yes, you can do this, but it's not particularly optimal because the two shield bonuses to your AC don't stack with each other. However, there is something of a work-around that would allow the AC bonus (or rather, half of the AC bonus) from one shield to stack with the other. Make one shield out of riverine (+4000 GP, Stormwrack p. 128) and half of the shield bonus (rounded down) is converted into a deflection bonus, which *does* stack with the shield bonus from the other shield.

    d. TWF + Armor Spikes

    The last no-hands offhand weapon available in Core are armor spikes. They count as a light martial weapon (same damage as a heavy spiked shield), can be used either for primary attacks or offhand attacks, and can be used to damage opponents in a grapple. But the biggest advantage of armor spikes is, as with unarmed strikes, you can still attack with them if your hands are full. This means if you're using a reach weapon that can only attack targets at 10', your armor spikes threaten and can attack targets at 5'. It also means... DUN! DUN! DUN! you can attack with a two-handed weapon and attack with armor spikes as your offhand weapon.

    Now, this rubs many people the wrong way, and some DMs may not allow it, but there is support for this in the D&D FAQ (with of course the usual caveat about the FAQ is not RAW):


    Quote Originally Posted by D&D FAQ
    Just how and when can you use armor spikes? If you’re using two weapons already, can you use armor spikes to make a second off-hand attack? What if you’re using a weapon and a shield? Can you use the armor spikes for an off-hand attack and still get a shield bonus to Armor Class from the shield? What if you use a two-handed weapon? Can you wield the weapon in two hands and still make an off-hand attack with the spikes? What are your options for using armor spikes in a grapple? Can you use them when pinned? If you have another light weapon, can you use that and your armor spikes when grappling?

    When you fight with more than one weapon, you gain an extra attack. (Improved Two-Weapon Fighting and greater Two-Weapon Fighting give you more attacks with the extra weapon.) Armor spikes are a light weapon that can be used as the extra weapon.

    If you attack only with your armor spikes during your turn (or use the armor spikes to make an attack of opportunity), you use them just like a regular weapon. If you use the full attack action, you can use armor spikes as either a primary light weapon or as an off-hand light weapon, even if you’re using a shield or using a two-handed weapon. In these latter two cases, you’re assumed to be kicking or kneeing your foe with your armor spikes.

    Whenever you use armor spikes as an off-hand weapon, you suffer all the penalties for attacking with two weapons (see Table 8–10 in the PH). When using armor spikes along with a two-handed weapon, it is usually best to use the two-handed weapon as your primary attack and the armor spikes as the offhand weapon. You can use the armor spikes as the primary weapon and the two-handed weapon as the off-hand attack, but when you do so, you don’t get the benefit of using a light weapon in your off hand.

    You cannot, however, use your armor spikes to make a second off-hand attack when you’re already fighting with two weapons. If you have a weapon in both hands and armor spikes, you can attack with the weapons in your hands (and not with the armor spikes) or with one of the weapons in your hands and the armor spikes (see the description of spiked armor in Chapter 7 of the PH).

    When grappling, you can damage your foe with your spikes by making a regular grapple check (opposed by your foe’s check). If you succeed, you deal piercing damage to your foe (see Table 7–5 in the PH) rather than the unarmed strike damage you’d normally deal when damaging your foe with a grapple check. Since you can use armor spikes as a light weapon, you can simply use them to attack your foe. You suffer a –4 penalty on your attack roll when attacking with a light weapon in a grapple (see page 156 in the PH), but if your foe is bigger or stronger than you, this might prove a better tactic than trying to deal damage through a grapple check because there is no opposed roll to make—you just have to hit your opponent’s Armor Class. You can’t attack with two weapons when grappling, even when one of those weapons is armor spikes (see the section on grappling in Chapter 8 of the PH).

    You can’t attack and damage your foe if he has you pinned. If you break the pin and avoid being pinned again, you can go back to attacking your foe. If your attack bonus is high enough to allow multiple attacks, you might break the pin and then use your remaining attack to damage your foe. To accomplish this, you must first use an attack to break the pin. You can break a pin using the Escape Artist skill, but trying to do so is a standard action for you; once you use the standard action to attempt escape, you can’t make any more attacks during your turn.

    So yes, you can attack with a greatsword and then TWF with armor spikes as your offhand weapon. For two-handed fighters, this may be the best of both worlds: they get all their Power Attack multipliers on their greatsword, and still TWF with armor spikes. However, you wouldn't get the bonus Power Attack damage on the armor spikes, since they are light weapons. In this case, you're better off with Improved Unarmed Strike, since unarmed strikes and natural weapons still get some bonus damage from Power Attack (it isn't multiplied).

    If your character doesn't have martial weapon proficiencies, then there's another option in Complete Scoundrel that is similar to armor spikes: hidden blades (pp. 109-110). These are spring-loaded weapons that pop out from various joints. It takes a move action to deploy them, and they impose a -2 attack penalty. They include:

    Boot Blade (treated as a dagger)
    Elbow Blade (treated as a punching dagger)
    Knee Blade (treated as a shortsword)
    Sleeve Blade (treated as a dagger)

    If you're a rogue or bard, then the knee blade might be worth considering. If you're some other squishy REMF that's only proficient with simple weapons, then any of the other three might work. However, if you have lowish/mediocre BAB and you already have a -2 penalty from TWF on top of the -2 for a hidden blade, you may be better off finding a martial proficiency or Improved Unarmed Strike from somewhere else.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    II. On the Second Hand: Problems with TWF

    1. Too many feats

    One of the main arguments against TWF is it's not an efficient use of feats. You only get seven basic feat slots over your 20-level career, and TWF + Improved TWF + Greater TWF eats up at least three of those slots. Meanwhile, that idiot meatbag two-handed fighter takes a single feat, Power Attack, and is pretty much squared away with a convenient source of bonus damage for the rest of his career. He also gets that bonus damage on standard attacks and on AoOs, while all your TWF feats require full attacks to use. Classes that give bonus feats can help here, such as Fighter, Ranger, and Psychic Warrior, but if you're trying to compete against a two-handed combat wombat, they're taking the same classes, and while you're trying to pick up all those TWF feats, they're picking up feats that make their two-handed attacks even better (such as Leap Attack, Shock Trooper, etc.).

    2. Too expensive

    Another common complaint is that TWF requires you to pay for two magic weapons, while the idiot meatbag two-hander only has to pay for one magic weapon. For example, if you want the Shocking or Keen property on all your attacks, you have to pay for it twice: once for your primary weapon, and once for your offhand weapon. The two-hander only has to pay for it once. Of course, this argument assumes quite a bit about the campaign: fairly even distribution of loot, DM is dropping appropriate Wealth By Level (WBL), and various get-rich-quick/infinite-money schemes are not being used. Even assuming your DM gives you a break on paying for two sets of weapon enhancements, at the end of the day the TWF fighter is still spending a much larger portion of his resources on his combat style: he has to spend resources on getting extra movement (so he can still move + full attack), he has to keep his damage competitive, and he may have to buy special equipment to circumvent problems like Damage Reduction. The amount of resources he spends to make TWF work is going to be disproportionate compared to other characters in the party, and it's likely he'll be deficient in some other areas: defense, social engineering, and so forth.

    I don't really have much advice on dealing with this issue, other than make sure you buy the DM plenty of snacks. (I myself am partial to anything mint-flavored.)

    3. Low damage output

    By far the most common complaint about TWF is lower damage, particularly when compared to a two-handed weapon + Power Attack. For every point of BAB a fighter invests in Power Attack, he gets 2 points of two-handed damage output. If we add damage multipliers like mounted lance (x2) + Spirited Charge (x3) + Valorous Weapon (x4) + Leap Attack (x8), the damage output gets multiplied even more. By using the Heedless Charge option of Shock Trooper, he can dump his Power Attack penalty into his AC instead of his attack, turning him into what is effectively a "Rocket Tag Ubercharger": if he goes first in combat, he can do hundreds of points of damage, killing any creature with a single hit, and the newly deceased doesn't get a chance to take advantage of the charger's lower AC.

    Meanwhile, our average TWF fighter takes the same -2 penalty and gets one extra attack, which may not even hit. The damage on his offhand attacks is also restricted: the best base damage he can hope for on a light weapon will probably be 1d6, and he only gets half his Strength bonus. Worse, the TWF fighter needs a high Dexterity as well as Strength, while the Power Attacking fighter can dump Dex and focus entirely on buffing his Strength. There are no damage multipliers for TWF other than "hit with more attacks", which gets progressively harder as you add Improved TWF (BAB -5) and Greater TWF (BAB -10).

    Fortunately, there is some hope for the TWF fighter to stay competitive if he can find a good source of bonus damage. It's difficult to give an exact figure for "how much" bonus damage you need, depending on the level of optimization used by the other damage dealers in your party, the number of your attacks that are hitting, the cost of weapon enhancements, and so forth. Here's a breakdown of the most common methods:

    a. Getting "Pounce"

    TWFers need some reliable method to move + full attack in the same round. The Pounce ability combines a charge with a full attack, although in common parlance it may refer to any ability or effect that allows a character to combine movement with a full attack. The easiest way to pick up Pounce is dip into Barbarian 1 and trade Fast Movement for the Spirit Lion Totem ACF (from Complete Champion). If you have some method to move away as a swift action (such as Travel Devotion, dimension hop power, Sudden Leap maneuver, etc.), then you can repeat this charge multiple rounds in a row. Even if you can't get Pounce (Ex) itself, any method that allows you to move more than 5' and still make a full attack (rather than a charge) is often referred to as a form of "Pounce". There are many, many, many ways to get extra movement into a build. In fact, Person_Man has created a guide that lists all the known methods:

    [3.X] Ways to get Pounce or Free Movement

    Several of the most common methods:

    Travel Devotion (Complete Champion): When activated, for the next 10 rounds, you can spend a swift action to move up to your speed.

    Dimension Hop power (Complete Psionic): As a swift action, spend 1 PP to teleport 10' (or more by spending more PP). You can get this power by dipping Ardent for the Freedom Mantle, dipping into a Mantled Psychic Warrior, or taking the Hidden Talent feat (Expanded Psionic Handbook p. 67).

    Hustle power (Expanded Psionic Handbook): As a swift action, grants you a move action. It's a 2nd level power, though, so not as easy to dip for this one.

    Snow Tiger Berserker feat (Unapproachable East): This regional feat grants Pounce with light weapons, but has some additional restrictions, such as must be able to rage and must be a member of a particular tribal lodge. (For half-orc monks locked out of barbarian due to alignment restrictions, you can use this feat to work your way around that by taking Half-Orc Paragon levels from Unearthed Arcana to pick up rage.)

    b. Sneak Attack

    This is the most reliable bonus damage method in Core, and of course quite popular among rogues. Damage output is still kind of lackluster, however... your sneak attack goes up 1d6 every two levels, so that's an average of +1.75 every level. Remember, the two-handers are getting at least +2 damage for every BAB +1, so Sneak Attack tends to lag behind. Adding the Craven feat (from Champions of Ruin) helps make up for this, increasing the damage by +1.0 per character level, or +2.75 for every level of rogue. You can also add various "rider" effects, such as Staggering Strike, Maiming Strike, Wounding weapons, etc., which can make Sneak Attack much more potent than just doing damage. There are two problems with Sneak Attack, however:

    1) It can be difficult to trigger reliably. A target needs to be flanked or denied its Dex bonus in some way. Fortunately, there are dozens if not hundreds of different ways to render a target subject to sneak attack, so while it may not work every time, a clever sneak attacker will have several different methods to start piling on the bonus damage. It's outside the scope of this OffHandbook to go into all the different methods, but consult your nearest Rogue Handbook for more details.

    2) Many creatures are immune to "precision damage". The major offenders: undead, constructs, elementals, plants, oozes, and swarms. While there aren't as many methods to get around this, there are still a few: the Penetrating Strike ACF (from Dungeonscape and Expedition to Castle Ravenloft), Death's Ruin ACF (Complete Champion), wands of golemstrike/gravestrike/vinestrike (Spell Compendium), Truedeath Crystal (Magic Item Compendium), and Deathstrike Bracers (Magic Item Compendium).

    c. Skirmish

    Introduced as the signature class feature of the Scout in Complete Adventurer, skirmish is precision damage that triggers when the attacker moves at least 10' prior to attacking. However, the designers were much more leery of this bonus damage, and the progression is much slower than the rogue's sneak attack: the damage goes up by 1d6 every four levels instead of two (up to 5d6 at Scout 17), which works out to about +0.875 damage per level. Unlike sneak attack which has been in the game since the beginning of 3.0 and thus has a huge amount of feats, classes, PrCs, etc. that can support it and make it more effective, skirmish was released late in the 3.5 era and has very little support.

    Skirmishers did get a couple things in Complete Scoundrel that were a huge help, though: the Improved Skirmish feat (+2d6 damage when you move 20' or more), and the Swift Hunter feat, which lets you stack Ranger levels with Scout levels when determining your skirmish abilities. This does load a bunch of additional feats on a combat style that was already pretty feat-intensive to begin with, but once you pair it up with a reliable "extra movement" method, you can dish out enough whoopass that even the two-handers start to notice. With the right build, you can even get your skirmish damage up to 10d6, about even with the rogue.

    d. Dragonfire Inspiration

    As any bard can tell you, Inspire Courage optimization has been around since the beginning of 3.0. Dragon Magic, however, introduced a feat that literally takes those minor attack/damage bonuses and lights them on *fire*. If you have the blood of ancient dragons running through your veins, you can take the Dragonfire Inspiration feat to convert each +1 Inspire Courage bonus into +1d6 fire damage. Even better, add the proper Draconic Heritage feat and you can convert that fire damage into a much more interesting energy type, such as acid, cold, electricity, or sonic. Throw in the inspirational boost spell, the Song of the Heart feat (Eberron Campaign Setting), and the Words of Creation feat (Book of Exalted Deeds), and you can get up to +12d6 bonus damage on every attack... not just *your* attacks, but for the entire *party*. Even better, unlike Sneak Attack or Skirmish, there is no 30' restriction on ranged attacks.

    One of the more popular variations on TWF + Dragonfire Inspiration is often referred to as a "Bardblade". This uses the Song of the White Raven feat from Tome of Battle, which allows Warblade or Crusader levels to count towards your Inspire Courage bonus. The original "Bardic Badass" build by Janus Jones was a Bard 3/Warblade 17, although the traditional Bardblade is more commonly suggested as Bard 4/Warblade 16 (see the example in the Sample Builds section). Since the Warblade involves more Intelligence-based synergy than Charisma-based synergy, a Bard 4/Crusader 16 "Bardsader" wouldn't be an entirely bad idea, either.

    e. Natural Weapons

    Once you have a reliable form of bonus damage, one of the easiest ways to increase that damage is to increase your number of attacks. One of the easiest ways to do this is by adding natural weapons as secondary attacks to your full-attack. There are many, many, many ways to do this, and fortunately Person_Man wrote a guide to gaining extra attacks.

    The rules for natural weapons are in the Monster Manual p. 312:


    Natural weapons are weapons that are physically a part of a creature. A creature making a melee attack with a natural weapon is considered armed and does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Likewise, it threatens any space it can reach.

    Creatures do not receive additional attacks from a high base attack bonus when using natural weapons. The number of attacks a creature can make with its natural weapons depends on the type of the attack -- generally, a creature can make one bite attack, one attack per claw or tentacle, one gore attack, one sting attack, or one slam attack (although Large creatures with arms or armlike limbs can make a slam attack with each arm). Refer to the individual monster descriptions.

    Unless otherwise noted, a natural weapon threatens a critical hit on a natural attack roll of 20.

    When a creature has more than one natural weapon, one of them (or sometimes a pair or set of them) is the primary weapon. All the creature’s remaining natural weapons are secondary.

    The primary weapon is given in the creature’s Attack entry, and the primary weapon or weapons is given first in the creature’s Full Attack entry. A creature’s primary natural weapon is its most effective natural attack, usually by virtue of the creature’s physiology, training, or innate talent with the weapon. An attack with a primary natural weapon uses the creature’s full attack bonus. Attacks with secondary natural weapons are less effective and are made with a -5 penalty on the attack roll, no matter how many there are. (Creatures with the Multiattack feat take only a -2 penalty on secondary attacks.) This penalty applies even when the creature makes a single attack with the secondary weapon as part of the attack action or as an attack of opportunity.

    Natural weapons have types just as other weapons do. The most common are summarized below.

    Bite: The creature attacks with its mouth, dealing piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning damage.

    Claw or Talon: The creature rips with a sharp appendage, dealing piercing and slashing damage.

    Gore: The creature spears the opponent with an antler, horn, or similar appendage, dealing piercing damage.

    Slap or Slam: The creature batters opponents with an appendage, dealing bludgeoning damage.

    Sting: The creature stabs with a stinger, dealing piercing damage. Sting attacks usually deal damage from poison in addition to hit point damage.

    Tentacle: The creature flails at opponents with a powerful tentacle, dealing bludgeoning (and sometimes slashing) damage.

    The rules for mixing manufactured weapons with natural attacks appears just before that, on page 311:


    Some monsters employ manufactured weapons when they attack. Creatures that use swords, bows, spears, and the like follow the same rules as characters, including those for additional attacks from a high base attack bonus and two-weapon fighting penalties. This category also includes "found items," such as rocks and logs, that a creature wields in combat -- in essence, any weapon that is not intrinsic to the creature.

    Some creatures combine attacks with natural and manufactured weapons when they make a full attack. When they do so, the manufactured weapon attack is considered the primary attack unless the creature’s description indicates otherwise (using the manufactured weapon consumes most of the creature’s attention), and any natural weapons the creature also uses are considered secondary natural attacks. These secondary attacks do not interfere with the primary attack as attacking with an off-hand weapon does, but they take the usual -5 penalty (or -2 with the Multiattack feat) for such attacks, even if the natural weapon used is normally the creature’s primary natural weapon.

    While there are a variety of methods to add natural attacks, the designers can be very inconsistent with the text that describes how they can be used. Some natural weapons explicitly state whether or not they can be used as primary or secondary attacks, and some effects/powers don't mention this at all. The psionic power claws of the beast, for example, explicitly states that they can only be used as primary attacks and cannot be combined with any other weapons at all, natural or otherwise. The Lamia Belt soulmeld (Magic of Incarnum) gives you two claws that can only be used as secondary attacks. The text of the feat/spell/item/ability that gave you the natural weapon should state whether or not it can be used as a primary or secondary, but in many cases it just doesn't mention anything of the sort at all.

    The question remains then: If you already had a primary natural attack, such as a bite, and then attack with a sword for your iterative attacks, what happens to your bite? Fortunately, the rules in the Monster Manual covers this: the manufactured weapon becomes your primary attack, and "any natural weapons the creature also uses are considered secondary natural attacks". This means that, unless the text says otherwise, any primary natural weapon can become a secondary natural attack, even if the effect that gave you this attack did not explicitly state that it could be used as a secondary attack.

    Once we add TWF into the mix, though, there are some other rules quirks we need to be aware of. First, as mentioned previously, TWF penalties do not apply to secondary natural attacks, because they are neither primary nor offhand attacks. Second, you only get 1/2 Strength bonus on damage, and each natural weapon can only attack once on your turn. Third, there's an "unwritten rule" when you mix manufactured weapons with natural attacks, you "lose" a natural attack when the associated appendage is busy wielding a manufactured weapon. Unfortunately, this rule is not written down anywhere. It's based mostly on common sense (which often reacts violently when brought into close proximity with Rules As Written) and a close reading of the stat blocks of creatures wielding weapons in the various Monster Manuals. Whenever a creature is given the option of attacking with a manufactured weapon or a natural weapon, the Full Attack entry lists the possible combinations of attacks that may occur. When a claw is holding a manufactured weapon, that claw is no longer available as part of the full attack. The best example of this is the Troglodyte entry in the first Monster Manual:

    Full Attack:
    1) Club +1 melee (1d6) and claw -1 melee (1d4) and bite -1 melee (1d4); or
    2) 2 claws +1 melee (1d4) and bite -1 melee (1d4); or
    3) javelin +1 ranged (1d6)

    In this case, you may notice that both claws are considered primary attacks, as some designers may occasionally grant creatures with multiple similar natural weapons. Also, the penalty for secondary attacks has been reduced to -2 by the Troglodyte's Multi-Attack racial bonus feat. When the Troglodyte wields a club, the claw he holds it with is no longer available as part of his full attack. This is also clear from the various Giant entries, which all have the option of attacking with two slam attacks (representing their arms), and also list the option of wielding a two-handed weapon, at which point they can no longer use their slams. However, since many of the designers do not understand how natural weapons, unarmed strikes, and TWF rules work together, there are a variety of inconsistencies and oddball effects tucked away in various sourcebooks. I don't really want to go into all the particulars here, but just be aware of this unwritten rule: If you use a natural weapon to attack with a manufactured weapon, you can't attack with that natural weapon.

    If you want to keep your claw attacks and still TWF, there's are two easy ways to do this: take Improved Unarmed Strike and attack with unarmed strikes as your primary weapon, or buy some armor spikes and use those as your primary weapon.

    If you're looking to combine TWF with natural attacks, there are several PC-friendly races without any Level Adjustment that start with natural weapons: Darfellen, Kenku, Kobolds, and Warforged, to name a few. See the section on Races for more details.

    With regards to Warforged, there's one last quirk I want to cover. The rules for natural weapons mention that a large-sized or larger creature with a roughly humanoid shape often has two slam attacks, which represent the creature's arms, assuming they aren't otherwise occupied with wielding weapons. There are a few medium-sized humanoids, however, that have a single slam attack, but it's not clear if they "lose" this attack when wielding a manufactured weapon. The slam is supposed to represent the creature causing blunt-force trauma with some particularly hard part of its body, but the rules don't explicitly state that this slam involves a single arm or both arms. As any veteran Monk player can tell you, a "body slam" or unarmed attack doesn't have to involve the arms: it could be a body check, elbow, kick, headbutt, etc. However, from a mechanical standpoint, the rules treat unarmed strikes and slams as two different and distinct types of attack, and they can't be interchanged for one another.

    The stat blocks in the Monster Manuals aren't much help here. If we consider the Warforged entry in MMIII, it looks like it loses the slam attack when it attacks with a two-handed weapon, but this tells us nothing about what happens when it wields a one-handed weapon. The Vampire and Woodling template both grant slam attacks, but in both cases the example creatures keeps the slam attack regardless of whether their arms are occupied with other weapons. From what I can see in the stat blocks, there appear to be two types of "slam" attacks: giants and some other large humanoids slam with their arms, and creatures with amorphous shapes (oozes, aberrations, worms, etc.) may have a "body slam" that doesn't rely on a specific appendage. If a medium creature gets a slam attack, which of these two types of slams is it? I tried to settle this issue in another thread, but my efforts were somewhat loudly shouted down. I'm not saying this is RAW, but the consensus boiled down to this:

    1) Creatures with a single slam attack treat this as a body slam and keep it regardless of whether their arms are occupied with something else.

    2) Creatures with two slam attacks (and a roughly humanoid shape) are assumed to be using their arms to slam, and thus lose these slams if their arms are occupied.

    I call this the "One Slam Good, Two Slams Bad" approach, and while this doesn't fit the Warforged stat block (which would still have its slam available while wielding a spear), it's simple to remember and fits most of the stat blocks in the Monster Manuals.

    f. Power Attack

    This feat is the lynchpin to most two-handed ubercharger builds, but obviously not so popular with TWF builds because the cost/benefit is so lousy: you're already taking at least a -2 attack penalty to TWF to start with, one-handed weapons get mediocre bonus damage with no multipliers, and light weapons get no bonus damage at all. However, there are several work-arounds that can get Power Attack damage on both your primary and offhand weapons.

    1) Oversize Two-Weapon Fighting feat (Complete Adventurer). When wielding a one-handed weapon in your offhand, you may treat it as a light weapon for the purposes of determining your TWF penalties. Fortunately, due to the specific wording, this means it's still treated as a one-handed weapon for other purposes, which means that it can get bonus damage from Power Attack. You still only get x1.0 damage output from Power Attack, but now your damage multiplier is the number of attacks you can get off in a round. As you add on more unarmed strikes and natural weapons (which are light weapons but still get bonus damage from Power Attack), you get more damage out of Power Attack when those attacks hit.

    2) Dragonsplits (Monster Manual IV). These exotic one-handed melee weapons have similar stats to shortswords (Medium = 1d6 piercing damage, 19-20/x2 crits), but you can change your grip to use them as slashing weapons (crit switches to 20/x4). For the purposes of Weapon Finesse and TWF, they are treated as light weapons. For the purposes of Power Attack, they are still treated as one-handed weapons.

    3) Revenant Blade (Player's Guide to Eberron). The 5th level class ability Legendary Force (Ex) allows you to treat both ends of the Valenar double-scimitar as a two-handed weapon, even when wielding it as a double weapon.

    4) Agile Shield Fighter feat (PHBII). As I mentioned before, Agile Shield Fighter replaces the TWF penalties when shield bashing with a flat -2 penalty. This allows you to bash with a heavy shield as an offhand attack, which still counts as a one-handed weapon, and thus can take advantage of bonus damage from Power Attack. Add shield spikes and the Bashing property, and the heavy shield does as much damage as a greatsword: 2d6.

    So, yes, we can get at least some Power Attack damage on both our weapons, but what we really want are all those juicy multipliers that the two-handed uberchargers are getting. Can we get those? Why yes, we can:

    Exotic Weapon Master (Complete Warrior). Under the Exotic Weapon Stunt Uncanny Blow, there are two sentences. The first says that when you wield a one-handed weapon with two hands, your Strength bonus on damage is treated as x2.0 instead of x1.5. The second sentence says, "If he has the Power Attack feat, he treats the weapon as two-handed for purposes of determining his bonus on damage rolls." Now, this sentence may be dependent on the first sentence, but if it was, then it would be completely redundant: one-handed weapons wielded with two hands are already treated as if they were two-handed weapons according to the text of Power Attack. If this is an independent sentence, then this is referring to wielding a one-handed weapon with one hand while using Power Attack, in which case you get the same x2.0 damage payout as a two-handed weapon. (Not all DMs will agree with this interpretation, so check with your DM before you devote any feats to get into this PrC.)

    g. Other Oddities: Shadow Blade, Drow Hit-and-Run Fighter, Knowledge Devotion, etc.

    Here's a few other methods to getting bonus damage on your TWF attacks:

    1) Shadow Blade feat (Tome of Battle). While in a Shadow Hand stance and wielding a weapon associated with the Shadow Hand discipline, you can add your Dex bonus to damage. Shadow Hand weapons include: dagger, sai, siangham, short sword, spiked chain, and unarmed strike. Note that while the table says you replace Dex with damage, the text of the feat itself says "add", and Text Trumps Table. The weapons available may be a short list, but spiked chains and unarmed strike can be combined with Power Attack. Some DMs may even allow you to use Aptitude weapons (Tome of Battle p. 148) with Shadow Blade. Of the available stances, Island of Blades makes flanking (and thus sneak attack) ridiculously easy, and Assassin's Stance actually gives you 2d6 sneak attack damage, which opens up options like Craven (Champions of Ruin) and Staggering Strike (Complete Adventurer). If you use daggers or unarmed strikes, you can take advantage of the Bloodclaw Master PrC to get a few more TWF perks: Claws of the Beast lets you add your full Strength bonus to your offhand attacks, Superior Two-Weapon Fighting completely eliminates the -2 TWF penalty, and Pouncing Strike gives you a limited version of Pounce.

    As an added perk, the feat also counts as Weapon Finesse for the purposes of qualifying for other feats and PrCs. If you still want Weapon Finesse to help with your attacks but don't have enough feat slots to get it, you can use Feycraft weapons (DMGII) to get the equivalent of Weapon Finesse with light weapons.

    2) Drow Fighter Hit-and-Run ACF (Drow of the Underdark). It's not clear if this ACF was intended only for Drow, or if other races can take it as well. By giving up proficiency with heavy armor and tower shields, you gain +2 on initiative checks, and whenever you attack a flat-footed opponent within 30', you can add your Dexterity bonus as a competence bonus on damage.

    3) Knowledge Devotion (Complete Champion). This is a good choice for bards, rangers, and cloistered clerics, as they can put those skill points to use by buffing up their Knowledge ranks. If you don't have a lot of Knowledge skills as class skills, just getting the Devotion feat lets you pick one Knowledge skill to become a class skill. While it can be difficult to get enough skill ranks to reliably get a lot of bonus damage, make sure you get at least 1 rank in all of the Knowledge skills, because even a minimum roll of 1 (you can't fumble a skill check!) gives you a +1 damage bonus. Even better, making the Knowledge check is a free action, so it doesn't eat up your action economy or cost swift actions to activate like most of the other devotion feats.

    Do note that the feat requires at least 5 ranks in one Knowledge skill, so if you're dipping into cleric or cloistered cleric to pick this up as a domain power, make sure you've got the prereq squared away first. While you're dipping, you may want to pick up the Travel Devotion as well. Here's a list of deities that offer both Knowledge and Travel domains:


    • Bargrivyek (Living Greyhawk Deities v2.0, NE): Community, Evil, Knowledge, Protection, Travel
    • Celestian (Living Greyhawk Deities v2.0, NG): Destiny, Knowledge, Oracle, Protection, Travel
    • Grankhul (Living Greyhawk Deities v2.0, CE): Celerity, Chaos, Evil, Knowledge, Travel, Trickery
    • Gwaeron Windstrom (Faiths & Pantheons, NG): Animal, Good, Knowledge, Plant, Travel
    • Heward (Living Greyhawk Deities v2.0, NG): Good, Haversacks, Knowledge, Travel
    • Io (Races of the Dragon, N): Dragon, Knowledge, Magic, Strength, Travel, Wealth, Spell
    • Keoghtom (Living Greyhawk Deities v2.0, NG): Good, Knowledge, Ointment, Travel
    • Keptolo (Living Greyhawk Deities v2.0, CE): Chaos, Domination, Drow, Evil, Knowledge, Travel
    • Lirr (Living Greyhawk Deities v2.0, CG): Chaos, Good, Knowledge, Liberation, Magic, Rune, Travel
    • Lydia (Living Greyhawk Deities v2.0, NG): Good, Knowledge, Liberation, Sun, Travel
    • Mak Thuum Ngatha (Lords of Madness, CE): Destruction, Knowledge, Madness, Travel
    • Mouqol (Living Greyhawk Deities v2.0, N): Knowledge, Pact, Travel, Trickery
    • Odin (Deities & Demigods, NG): Air, Knowledge, Magic, Travel, Trickery, War (shortspear)
    • Oghma (Faiths & Pantheons, N): Charm, Knowledge, Luck, Travel, Trickery
    • Ptah (Deities & Demigods/Sandstorm, LN): Creation, Knowledge, Law, Travel
    • Rill Cleverthrush (Races of Stone, LN): Air, Gnome, Knowledge, Magic, Travel
    • Sehanine Moonbow (Races of the Wild/Living Greyhawk Deities v2.0, CG): Chaos, Dream, Elf, Good, Knowledge, Oracle, Repose, Travel, Trickery
    • Tem-Et-Nu (Sandstorm, LN): Knowledge, Magic, Nobility, Travel, War (kama)
    • Tiia (Deities & Demigods, Creator Aspect CG/CN/LG/LN/N/NG): Air, Chaos, Earth, Good, Healing, Knowledge, Law, Luck, Magic, Protection, Sun, Travel
    • Waukeen (Faiths & Pantheons, N): Knowledge, Protection, Trade, Travel
    • Ye'Cind (Living Greyhawk Deities v2.0, CG): Chaos, Elf, Good, Knowledge, Magic, Travel

    In Deities & Demigods, there's also the option to worship an entire pantheon. This lets you select two domains from the entire pantheon, which can be Knowledge and Travel. In Eberron, the Sovereign Host offers a similar option:

    Asgardian Pantheon: Odin already covers Knowledge and Travel, but you can also get Knowledge from Forseti and Frigga, and Travel from Hermod and Uller. If you also take the War domain, you can choose from the following favored weapons: composite longbow, dagger, greatclub, greatsword, longsword, quarterstaff, short sword, spear, unarmed strike, or warhammer.

    Olympian Pantheon: Knowledge from Apollo or Athena, Travel from Hermes or Tyche. For favored weapons, you can choose from: dagger, greatclub, light mace, longsword, quarterstaff, short sword, spear (any kind), trident, unarmed strike, or warhammer.

    Pharaonic Pantheon: Ptah kinda already covers both domains, but Imhotep also has Knowledge. If you don't like Ptah's favored weapon (mace), you can pick a different favored weapon: flail, heavy pick, khopesh, longsword, mace, quarterstaff, short sword, spear, and tiger claws.

    Sovereign Host: Aureon covers Knowledge and Kol Korran covers Travel. For favored weapons, you only have one choice: longsword.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    III. On the Gripping Hand: Practical Tools for TWF Builds

    For the purposes of this section, I'll be using the following color code:

    Gold: Fantastic. These are "Must Have" or game-changing options that help make TWF worthwhile and relevant.

    Green: Good, solid options with few downsides.

    Blue: So-so options which are marginally or occasionally useful. In a certain build they might shine, but you may be better off looking for something better.

    Purple: Bad options that actually hurt TWF more often than they help. There may be one or two corner-cases where they might be useful, but avoid this if at all possible.

    Red: VERY BAD. Taking one of these options has been proven to cause cancer in kittens. Do not consider these options, not even under the most dire situations.

    1. Races

    Asherati (Sandstorm). They can swim through sand. Their bodies can glow like a lamp. And they treat the Eagle's Claw as a martial weapon, which makes them a strong choice for Crit-Fishing builds, particularly when you add the Eagle's Fury feat for an extra attack.

    Air Goblin (Unearthed Arcana/SRD). In addition to being immune to suffocation, this elemental variant offers a +4 Dex modifier without any Level Adjustment. While I don't normally recommend small races for TWF (-2 Str and small-sized weapons = -2 damage on average), this is definitely worth considering if you want a build that focuses on adding Dex to damage (Shadow Blade, Hit-and-Run Fighter).

    Azurin (Magic of Incarnum). A subrace of humans that still gets a bonus feat, but instead of extra skill points they get an Essentia Pool of 1. If you're mixing TWF with Incarnum, then Azurin is well worth considering. Only one word of caution: if your group plays with multiclassing penalties, you may want to stick to just Human, since Azurin's favored class is the much-reviled Soulborn.

    Catfolk (Races of the Wild). I'm not a big fan of these guys, mostly because of the LA +1, but in a game with LA Buyoff then the +4 Dex bonus starts to look pretty appealing. They also have access to the Catfolk Pounce feat, which lets them pounce on any flat-footed opponent... which isn't "all pounce, all the time" like Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian, but not quite as annoying or restrictive as some other versions of pounce (Snow Tiger Berserker, Lion Tribe Warrior). As far as TWF goes, Favored Class: Ranger helps, but... yeah, mostly it's that +4 Dex bonus.

    Darfellen (Stormwrack). A race with a -2 Dex penalty may have some trouble qualifying for all the TWF feats, but I included them here because they have a natural bite attack that can be used as a secondary attack. This makes them a good medium-sized chassis for loading up on natural weapons. A Darfellen Totemist is particularly scary: a Totemist 2 with the Girallon Arms soulmeld bound to their totem chakra can get seven attacks: primary/offhand/claw/claw/claw/claw/claw/bite.

    Diopsid (Dragon Compendium). These four-armed oddballs are sort of "Thri-Kreen-Lite", and they come with their own peculiar TWF rules. Although they have a Dex penalty (Ability mods are +2 Con/-2 Dex/-2 Int), they have a racial feature that allows them to ignore any Dex-based requirement for any feat with "Two Weapon" in the name. They also have another racial ability that is similar to Powerful Build, allowing them to wield larger-sized weapons. If a Diopsid uses its secondary arms to hold a weapon or shield while its primary arms are doing something else, there are additional penalties, but the shield penalty can be brought down to zero by bringing the ACP down to zero, so you can go all out with THF+TWF+Sword-&-Board all at the same time if you wanted to. The other major drawback to Diopsid is the Level Adjustment +1, but at least that's much more manageable than the Thri-Kreen.

    Dolgrim (Eberron Campaign Setting). These are mutant goblins with four arms and two brains. Given their attribute modifiers (Str +4, Dex +2, Con +2, Int -2, Wis -2, Cha -4), apparently the second brain doesn't help all that much. While Dolgrim don't start with Multi-Weapon Fighting, they do have Dual Consciousness, which gives them a +2 bonus on Will saves and lets them make offhand attacks with no penalty, similar to the Superior Two-Weapon Fighting (Ex) enjoyed by ettins and other multi-headed creatures. This means their TWF/MWF penalties are *zero*, even if they don't even have TWF/MWF. Once they take MWF, they have a primary attack with three offhand attacks. The downside is LA +2, which I consider a bit too excessive (hence the purple rating), but might be manageable if your DM allows LA buyoff.

    Drow (Core). By-the-book drow (with LA +2) are a bit too fragile for TWF, and their SR and other abilities don't really make up for the fact that they have -2 Con and are 2 HD behind everyone else in HPs. You're much better off using a variant without LA, and there are two: Lesser Drow (Player's Guide to Faerun) have stats very similar to vanilla elves (+2 Dex/-2 Con), while the Savage Progression Drow (Online Article) has better stats (+2 Dex/+2 Int/-2 Con). Both still have a Con penalty, so be wary of spending too much time on the front line. Going Drow allows you to benefit from a variety of Weapon Style feats, PrCs, and Drow-based ACFs, mostly found in Drow of the Underdark (although it's not clear if these explicitly have "Drow-only" prerequisites... by RAW most of them don't). However, with the exception of the Fighter Hit-and-Run ACF, very few of these feats/PrCs/etc. really help all that much with TWF.

    Dwarf (Core). Dwarves make capable TWF fighters mostly due to their Weapon Familiarity: wielding the dwarven waraxe as a martial weapon makes it one of the best one-handed weapons in the game, and the dwarven urgrosh is a decent double-weapon if you're into that sort of thing. Weapon Familiarity also allows them to get into Exotic Weapon Master a little easier, so they can take advantage of exotic weapon stunts. A dwarf with a dwarven waraxe in one hand and a light spiked shield in the other is ready-made for TWF. I'm also quite fond of Oversize TWF, which puts 1d10 of dwarven waraxe whoopass in each hand. While there are a number of dwarf subraces, none of them really add anything to TWF other than Jungle Dwarf (Unearthed Arcana), which has Favored Class: Ranger and thus may be a better fit for various Swift Hunter or Ranger-ish builds.

    Elan (Expanded Psionic Handbook). This race of aberrations doesn't have much to offer TWF, except their creature type allows them to qualify for Rapidstrike/Improved Rapidstrike (with some help from Totemist or Shape Soulmeld: Claws of the Wyrm), as well as various alter self/polymorph/metamorphosis shenanigans (check out the Tako from Oriental Adventures, for example). If you're looking to mix TWF with psionics, then due to the +2 PP and the Resistance/Resilience/Repletion stuff you may want to consider them green.

    Elf (Core). Ah yes, a rainbow of flavors. Standard vanilla elves don't offer much to TWF other than a +2 Dex bonus. The martial weapon stuff you'll probably get from one of your base classes. Since TWF tends to put you in harm's way quite a bit, you want to avoid a race with a -2 Con penalty. Fortunately, there are a few flavors of elf that don't have a Con penalty: Wild Elf (Monster Manual, +2 Dex/-2 Int), Painted Elf (Sandstorm, +2 Dex/-2 Int) and Snow Elf (Frostburn, +2 Dex/-2 Cha). If you're considering a Swift Hunter build, Wood Elf (Monster Manual, +2 Str/+2 Dex/-2 Con/-2 Int, Favored Class: Ranger) might be worth considering, particularly if you're dipping Cleric for Knowledge/Travel Devotion (Sehanine Moonbow). There are a few other elf-friendly options that might be worth including in a TWF build: the Improved Weapon Familiarity feat (Complete Warrior) gives proficiency to the Elven Courtblade, Elven Thinblade, and Elvin Lightblade (Races of the Wild), which have slightly better crit ranges than their martial equivalents, and the Eternal Blade PrC (Tome of Battle) is elf-only.

    Frostblood Orc/Half-Orc (Dragon Magic). The standard Orc or Half-Orc doesn't really offer much to TWF except a higher Str bonus. Even more insulting, they don't get Weapon Familiarity with the Orc Double-Axe (although I've heard of many DMs adding it as a house-rule). There are a couple subraces that may be worth noting: Desert Half-Orcs (Unearthed Arcana) have no Cha penalty and are thus better at Bardblading, and of course Water Orcs (Unearthed Arcana) are better than standard orcs because, hey, free Con bonus and swim speed. The real stand-out for TWF is in Dragon Magic: Frostblood orcs and half-orcs get Endurance as a bonus feat. For TWF purposes this is a little like a fish with a bicycle, but there's a clause that says if they get Endurance later, such as from a class feature, they can pick any bonus feat they want instead. Ranger 3 gets Endurance as a bonus feat, and if you were already going into Ranger to begin with (as many TWF builds may do), then this becomes the equivalent of a human bonus feat. Only since you can choose when you take that 3rd level of Ranger, you can use it to get a feat that has prereqs that prevent you from grabbing it at the typical 1st/3rd/6th/etc. level, such as Improved Natural Attack or Superior Unarmed Strike. Even better, if you add Dragonborn of Bahumat after you've picked up your bonus feat, you lose Endurance as a racial bonus feat, but keep the feat you picked up at Ranger 3. If variant classes are available from Unearthed Arcana, there are a couple other ways to get Endurance as a bonus feat: Horse Totem Barbarian 5, and Undying Way Monk 2.

    Hadozee (Stormwrack). These gliding monkeys have somewhat TWF-friendly stats (+2 Dex/-2 Cha) and Dodge as a bonus feat (cut off of page 41, but check page 151). This isn't a particularly useful feat as far as TWF goes, but a great deal of other feats and PrCs require it as a prereq, so it may come in handy for certain builds.

    Human (Core). Did I mention TWF builds are feat-intensive? Would a bonus feat help? Oh heck yeah. If you're looking to go into a Dragonfire Inspiration build, then you'll want to consider the variant Silverbrow Human (Dragon Magic): still gets a bonus feat, but instead of extra skill points they get the Dragonblood subtype as well as a few other perks.

    Kenku (MMIII). The Bird is the Word! Kenku TWF very nicely: +2 Dex bonus, +4 flanking bonus, medium size, Favored Class: Rogue, and two claws that can become secondary attacks if you pick up Improved Unarmed Strike.

    Kobold (Core/Races of the Dragon). A small-sized race with a -4 Str penalty does not lend itself all that well to TWF, but there is one area where kobolds excel at: natural attacks. With the Races of the Dragon Web Enhancement, they get three natural attacks: claw/claw/bite. Add those to TWF with unarmed strike/armor spikes and a source of bonus damage that isn't based on size, and you've got a little whirlwind of whoopass. Add the Dragon Tail feat (Races of the Dragon), and they get a fourth natural attack. Add some Totemist and maybe some tentacles and... yeah, well, kobolds kinda pwn D&D. If you take the Dragonwrought feat to change your type to dragon, then this opens up the Rapidstrike feat for getting an extra attack with a natural weapon. If you're looking to minimize that Str penalty, Arctic and Earth Kobold (Unearthed Arcana) reduces it to -2 Str, and if you want a more TWF-friendly favored class, Desert Kobold (Unearthed Arcana) switches it to rogue.

    Minotaur (Dragonlance Campaign Setting). This is a medium-sized version of the minotaur without any racial HD or Level Adjustment. While the stats don't exactly scream TWF (+4 Str/-2 Dex/-2 Int/-2 Cha), I mention them here because like the Darfellen and Warforged they have a gore attack that can be used as a secondary natural attack. It even has a built-in damage buff when you charge and use it as your primary attack: the damage increases to 2d6 + 1.5xStr.

    Neraph (Planar Handbook). This race is the only native outsider (other than Savage Progression Aasimar/Tiefling) that doesn't have any Level Adjustment. Although their racial traits don't mention it, the outsider type makes neraphim proficient with all martial weapons, which may come in handy if you're trying to TWF with something like Rogue 20 or Druid 20. It also makes them ideal candidates for alter self/polymorph shenanigans (Dwarf Ancestor says "Hi!"). They also get Natural Armor +2, weapon familiarity with the annulat (basically a really sharp chakram for Xena fetishists), +5 racial bonus on Jump checks (Tiger Claw Discipline says "Hi!") and a special "Neraph Camouflage" ability that negates a target's Dex bonus the first time you charge them, which could be quite handy for sneak attack builds.

    Poison Dusk Lizardfolk (MMIII). This is sort of an upgrade over the standard Lizardfolk, mostly because it doesn't have 2 racial HD. However, it still has LA +1, and is small-sized instead of medium. If you're looking to do something with natural attacks, it has claw/claw/bite, similar to the kobold, but with better ability mods: +2 Dex/+2 Con/-2 Cha. Some other perks: Poison use, and Favored Class: Ranger. If your group allows LA Buyoff, then this might be worth considering if you're looking for something reptilian.

    Shifter (Eberron Campaign Setting/MMIII). Several good TWF features here: +2 Dex bonus, Favored Class: Ranger, and a Shifting (Su) ability that temporarily gives them access to some natural weapons. Longtooth gives them a bite with a nice little damage buff, and Razorclaw gives them not only two claw attacks, but one of the claws can be used as an offhand attack with a -2 penalty instead of a secondary natural attack. The main disadvantage to shifters is that shifting only works 1/day for a limited number of rounds, and increasing the number of uses per day involves taking a bunch of shifter feats... which, due to TWF, you don't have much room for.

    Skarn (Magic of Incarnum). This is a race that probably should have been good at TWF, but sucks at it. First, they have a Dex penalty to start with, and second, they have these spines on their arms that are called natural weapons but apparently aren't. The special rules on the spines allow them to be used as offhand weapons, but only if you're not attacking with a weapon held by that arm. It looks like they tried to nerf the spines to make the Spinemeld Warrior PrC worth going into, but it prevents you from TWFing with anything except your spines, which is just one large snotbucket full of fail.

    Spiker (Planar Handbook). These guys have TWF already built into their actual bodies: natural armor spikes growing out of their skin that they can use as a martial weapon, either as a primary or offhand attack. Now, the designer seems to have dropped the ball on whether these spikes should be treated as natural weapons or as manufactured weapons for the purposes of spell effects/enchantments, but as far as combat goes they appear to work exactly like armor spikes as a martial manufactured weapon. Assuming you can work out the spell effects/enchantment thing with your DM, these guys might be an interesting choice for a TWF build.

    Strongheart Halfling (Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting). The default Halfling is a bit of a wash for TWF: Yes, the Dex bonus is nice, but the Str penalty along with the smaller-sized weapons means you're probably losing at least two points of damage on all your attacks. The Strongheart subrace salvages the wee folk a bit: you get a bonus feat, which you're going to need for most TWF builds.

    Synad (Complete Psionic). As with the Elan, this is your other LA +0 "aberration" option if you want to do something with Rapidstrike/Improved Rapidstrike (with some help from Totemist or Shape Soulmeld: Claws of the Wyrm) or various alter self/polymorph/metamorphosis shenanigans. If you're looking to mix TWF with psionics, then due to the +3 PP and the extra mental swift action per day you may want to consider them green.

    Tiefling (Core). As with Drow, I'm not a big fan of Level Adjustment, but there are two options for playing Tiefling with no LA. The first option is the Lesser Planetouched Tiefling in the Player's Guide to Faerun, which leaves their racial abilities as-is and just gives them the humanoid type with the extraplanar subtype. This makes for TWF-friendly stats: +2 Dex/+2 Int/-2 Cha. The second option is the Savage Progression Tiefling (from this Online Article), which nerfs them slightly but gives you a racial class "level" you can take later to get their full racial abilities or, since you're not required to take it, just ignore it for the rest of your career. Stats are still TWF-friendly (+2 Dex/-2 Cha), but there's an additional perk: they still have the outsider type, and are thus proficient with all martial weapons.

    Thri-Kreen (XPH/Shining South). Most general advice will tell you to avoid anything with racial HD and Level Adjustment, but the Thri-Kreen present some interesting possibilities. Like... four arms! That's, like, twice as awesome as TWF, right? Only it's not TWF, it's Multi-Weapon Fighting (MWF), which would be undeniably awesome if the rules for it were a little clearer. Even better, four claws + bite attack! So if you go unarmed strike/armor spikes, whoa... that's a lot of attacks. Then there's the whole psionics thing, which adds all sorts of fun stuff to TWF: dimension hop, hustle, psionic lion's charge, etc. And how about let's put a little of that +30 Jump check on some Tiger Claw strikes... yowza. If you're not into the psionic thing, then Shining South offers a non-psionic version with LA +1 instead of LA +2. If that plus the 2 racial HD is too much, consider the Diopsid (Dragon Compendium, only LA +1, no racial HD) as a somewhat passable alternative to "Humanoid Insect With Four Arms".

    Warforged (Eberron Campaign Setting/MMIII). The principal advantage to TWFing with a Warforged is using that slam as a secondary natural attack, but as I noted in an earlier section, whether or not they get that slam when wielding manufactured weapons with their arms is a bit of a head-scratcher. Under my "One Slam Good, Two Slams Bad" interpretation, yes they do, although your DM may obviously interpret things differently. If your DM is inclined to agree with me, then like Darfellen, Warforged are well-suited to loading up on natural attacks (check out Jaws of Death and Second Slam in Section III-4.c below). If you want to upgrade the slam, you can even add a Battlefist (although the description is written so poorly it's difficult to tell what this component actually does).

    Whisper Gnome (Races of Stone). Since most of their racial abilities involve stealth, it's not exactly a surprise that this subrace excels and sneaky/stabby-ness. The -2 Str is somewhat disappointing for melee builds, but the +2 Dex and +2 Con make up for it. They make ideal rogues, which of course are no strangers to TWF. They also have Weapon Familiarity with the Gnome Hooked Hammer if you're looking for a more interesting double weapon, or you can use the optional rules in Complete Warrior to switch this to a Gnome Calculus (A&EG), Gnome Tortoise Blade (Complete Warrior), or Gnome Quickrazor (Races of Stone).

    Dragonborn of Bahumat (Races of the Dragon). This is more of a "template" than a race, and there are several drawbacks that don't work well with TWF: losing racial bonus feats makes Human/Azurin/Strongheart Halfling poor choices, the Dex penalty makes qualifying for some TWF feats more difficult, and you may lose your natural attacks (this isn't clear from the Dragonborn rules, so ask your DM to clarify). There are a few advantages that could help, however: dragonblood subtype helps you qualify for Dragonfire Inspiration, adding Favored Class Fighter helps with dipping for Fighter bonus feats, and there's the whole Frostblood Orc/Ranger 3 Endurance swap thing I mentioned earlier. There's also one other oft-overlooked option... in the last paragraph on page 10 in Races of the Dragon, the text mentions that you can swap one of your existing feats for certain 1st-level-only feats that require the dragonblood subtype. There are only two that qualify: Dragon Wings and Dragon Tail. The first puts you one feat away from a Fly speed, so you could take the Heart aspect for the breath weapon and then grab Improved Dragon Wings later. The second, however, gives you a tail attack as a secondary natural weapon. Even better, you can add Prehensile Tail (Savage Species) to have it hold a weapon for two-handed primary + offhand TWF. What existing feat should we swap out? Well, we can't use racial bonus feats for that, since we already lost 'em, but let's go back to that Frostblood Orc/Half-Orc example, or rather just Ranger 3: are we using Track for anything important? (Probably not.) Or if we're not Frostblood, we can ditch Endurance for Dragon Tail. There are other base classes that get not-so-useful bonus feats at early levels: Monk (Stunning Fail, Defunct Arrows, etc.), Wizard (Scribe Scroll), Dragonfire Adept (Dragontouched), Duskblade (Combat Casting), or Knight (Mounted Combat). Add the variant class features from Unearthed Arcana, and you can add Barbarian (Toughness from Bear Totem, Blind-Fight from Dragon Totem, Run from Lion or Horse Totem) and a couple others, such as Simple Druid (Track), to the list. There may also be PrCs that grant a bonus feat that would be much better to swap for Dragon Wings or Dragon Tail.

    Some other racial options for more "advanced" (or insane) optimizers:

    Anthropomorphic Giant Octopus (Savage Species). Don't pull this on your DM unless you want to give him nightmares. 2 racial HD but no LA, +6 Dex bonus, and oh look... *SIX ARMS*. Oh yeah, we are Multi-Weapon F***ing S*** Up.

    Multi-Headed Template (Savage Species). What could be more eff'ed up than six arms? Why, two heads, of course! For only LA +2, we get access to Superior Two-Weapon Fighting: no TWF or MWF penalties on any of our attacks, and each "hand" is treated as a primary attack for determining the number of attacks and damage. Unfortunately, this template also adds +2 HD per head (presumably those are racial HD), and thus creates some headaches when adding this to a PC.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    2. Classes

    a. Core:

    Fighter. Their signature class ability is they get a metric buttload of feats. And as it happens, TWF builds require quite a few feats. The main advantage with Fighter is if you want to do TWF and still do something else with feats, such as Power Attack Ubercharging, Trip/Lockdown, etc., then this is the best way to get the feats to do that. The main disadvantage with Fighter is if you've got a problem that can't be solved with fighter bonus feats, then you're pretty much screwed: Damage Reduction, enchantment costs, invisible/flying/ethereal opponents, etc.

    Barbarian. Let's get this out of the way: dipping for Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian may rub some people the wrong way or be widely vilified as cheesy, but Pounce is a vital combat ability that helps give melee builds a chance to stay relevant in the low- to mid-range levels. The real question is, should you stay in this class for anything except Pounce, and Wolf Totem Barbarian 2 kinda answers that with Improved Trip. (And don't even bring up any of that monotheism crap... how many totem poles have only one animal?) Beyond that... well, Rage is useful because bonus Strength = bonus damage, which is always good to have in a TWF build. However, if you can get the Whirling Frenzy variant rage (Unearthed Arcana), then it's even better: Str bonus, extra attack, and none of that mucking around with your Con score. The Ferocity variant rage (Cityscape Web Enhancement) is also a nice option: Str and Dex bonus, which is quite nifty if you're doing something with adding Dex as bonus damage. However, for the long haul, you're probably better off grabbing the Extra Rage feat (Complete Warrior) and multiclassing out of Barbarian once you've got the good stuff.

    Monk. This is a class you should be wary of, because taking any more levels than "zero" tends to weaken the build. However, are some situations where it may be worthwhile to dip into Monk, particularly if the variant fighting styles (Unearthed Arcana) are available, as those bonus feats may be useful to qualify for a feat or PrC. The Invisible Fist ACF (Exemplars of Evil) is also quite handy for triggering sneak attacks every 4 rounds. While the FAQ does say that you can stack Flurry with TWF, it's generally a bad idea to do so: with all those attack penalties stacking, you'll be lucky to hit the broadside of a barn. If you are doing anything with unarmed strikes, consider the Battle Dancer (Dragon Compendium) or Unarmed Swordsage variant (Tome of Battle) instead.

    Ranger. This class tends to stand out as the go-to class for TWF not only because of the two-weapon combat style, but because their class skills and spellcasting offers a little more flexibility than the standard Fighter. There are also a wide variety of ACFs that add more functionality to the class, such as Distracting Attack (PHBII), Trap Expert (Dungeonscape) and Spiritual Connection (Complete Champion). A word of caution about the Champion of the Wild ACF (Complete Champion): skip it, Ranger spells are worth more than the bonus feats. Rangers get a little bit of bonus damage via Favored Enemy, but you'll probably forget about the bonus more often than you'll ever use it, and what seems like a threat at 1st level is more likely to get you teased about at higher levels. Ranger is great for dipping to add TWF to a build (particularly since it's more common as a favored class in sub-races than fighter), but tends to fade at later levels. Fortunately, the Swift Hunter feat (Complete Scoundrel) makes sticking with Ranger worthwhile.

    Rogue. A solid choice for TWF not necessarily because rogues are good at combat (they often aren't), but because all those sneak attack dice is one of the easier methods to rack up bonus damage. A crafty rogue in the right place at the right time can be extremely deadly with TWF, but their reliance on lighter armor and lower HPs makes them a little too fragile to spend a lot of time on the front line. As a dip, Rogue opens up Craven, Evasion, and Penetrating Strike.

    b. Not-So-Core:

    Ardent (Complete Psionic). An Ardent's powers are more closely tied to his Manifester Level (ML) rather than class level, so it's somewhat easier to multiclass as an Ardent than most other psionic classes. You can take some levels in a meatbag class, grab Practiced Manifester or something else to boost your ML, then head back into Ardent without worrying too much about cutting yourself off from higher-level powers. There are also some TWF-friendly powers that are easier to grab via Ardent than Psychic Warrior, most notably via the Freedom mantle: dimension hop (1st) and hustle (2nd). The downside is a much more limited selection of powers, and no help with bonus feats (psionic or otherwise).

    Battle Dancer (Dragon Compendium). I mention this class mostly as a dip for those of you who want to do something with unarmed strike but want to avoid the game design disaster known as Monk. A one-level dip adds full BAB, Cha bonus to AC, and Improved Unarmed Strike as a Monk (including the unique Monk-only class features, but no actual Monk levels, so you can still progress your unarmed damage with the Superior Unarmed Strike feat from Tome of Battle). A more dedicated Battle Dancer build can mimic the Monk's Flurry of Blows with TWF, but the various Dance-related abilities probably aren't worth sticking around for.

    Crusader (Tome of Battle). A good, solid choice if you're looking to TWF with dwarven waraxes, armor spikes, or shield bashes. However, the Crusader's repertoire is pretty heavy on standard-action strikes and pretty thin on boosts/counters, so TWFing may be a little harder to pull off. Although the typical "Bardblade" uses Warblade for Song of the White Raven, a "Bardsader" may get more Cha-synergy with Crusader.

    Duskblade (PHBII). One of the easiest "gish in can" classes to play, but the secret here may be don't get too fancy with exotic weapons or Somatic Weaponry: use a quarterstaff for TWF, grab Arcane Strike for damage buffs, and consider picking up Eilservs School (Drow of the Underdark) for an attack/damage bonus and the ability to discharge spells from the staff if you hit with both ends. If you stick with it until Duskblade 13, you can Arcane Channel on a full attack, then consider branching out for better touch spells with Fiend-Blooded, Sand Shaper, Wyrm Wizard, etc.

    Knight (PHBII). Since the Knight's Challenge depends so heavily on having a lot of Knight levels, this class generally doesn't respond well to multiclassing. However, a short dip into Fighter, Ranger or Barbarian is still doable without mucking up your class abilities too much. The other problem with Knight is it wants you to be mounted, and full attacks + mounted combat just don't work very well together, if it all. Dragonborn of Bahumat works well here, as you can swap your Mounted Combat bonus feat for Dragon Wings/Tail, and adding Favored Class: Fighter makes that Fighter 2 dip to pick up some more TWF-friendly feats much easier. Knight also has a couple shield-related class features, so it may be one of the better options if you want to try TWFing with Sword-&-Board or Agile Shield Fighter.

    Lurk (Complete Psionic). This class is a horrible tease: promises a lot, but fails to deliver the goods. At first glance, the Lurk Augments look like a great way to dish out the debuffs with TWF, but in practice they only work on the first hit and you run out of uses way too quickly. If you're looking for something to mix TWF with sneak attack and psionics, then you'll probably get better bang for your buck with Psychic Rogue.

    Ninja (Complete Adventurer). A crappier version of the Rogue. Sudden Strike is more difficult to trigger than Sneak Attack, and while Ghost Step allows you to trigger it more reliably, your Ki points don't progress quickly enough to really get your money's worth out of it. Whatever you're trying to do with Ninja, you're probably better off just taking levels of Rogue, wear a lot of black clothes, call yourself a "Ninja", and backstab anybody who begs to differ from you.

    Psychic Warrior (Expanded Psionics Handbook/SRD). This is the best go-to class if you want to gish up TWF with psionics, and it helps solve a couple problems for TWF, notably movement issues (via psionic lion's charge, hustle, and dimension hop, the latter you can grab with Expanded Knowledge or the Freedom mantle and Mantled Warrior ACF), and damage buffs (animal affinity, metaphysical weapon, offensive prescience, weapon of energy, etc.). Add in strength of my enemy and vampiric blade, and for every hit your opponent gets worse while you get better. The downside is you've got more Multiple Attribute Dependency (MAD) since Wisdom is no longer a dump stat, and you may have a Glass Cannon problem: burn through your Power Points too fast, and you're a Big Stupid Fighter with medium BAB and d8 hit points. Even so, whether your ride it all up to Psychic Warrior 20 or dip in for a few bonus feats/powers, this is a solid class for TWF.

    Samurai (Complete Warrior) This much-reviled base class already has TWF built into it, but locks you into using a katana and wakizashi combo (or bastard sword and shortsword, if you prefer). At 1st level, you get Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Katana, and at 2nd level, you get "Two Swords as One", which works like TWF but only when wielding a katana and wakizashi. As has been frequently pointed out, you can build a much better samurai with a straight Fighter build, taking EWP as your 1st level bonus feat and TWF as your 2nd level bonus feat. The rest of the class is a grab bag of oddball abilities, like an intimidation-based Staredown. Even if you ignore the depravities done to things like historical accuracy, this is a terrible class that is terrible at combat (because it loses all those fighter feats) and terrible at intimidation (because why would you ever intimidate when you can just kill things instead?). Actually, you can do a really frighteningly good fear-based samurai, see Shneekey's Takahashi no Onisan as the most infamous example, but I think that's about all you can do with this class.

    Samurai (Oriental Adventures). Fortunately, the OA version of the samurai is able to salvage much of the samurai's good name. The 1st level gives you "Ancestral Daisho", which is mechanically very similar to the Ancestral Relic feat (Book of Exalted Deeds). This allows you to sacrifice loot to enhance your chosen weapon at a 1:1 ratio, so no need to sell magic items back at 50% market rate to buy your weapon enhancements. You then get bonus feats at 2nd and 4th level, just as a fighter does. Bonus feats progress a little more slowly after that, one every 3 levels, but you also get a better Will save as well as Fort. As with the fighter, it suffers at the higher levels because it has nothing to offer except bonus feats, but the first four levels are very solid.

    Scout (Complete Adventurer). The Scout is essentially a refluffed "wilderness rogue", and unfortunately there's not a lot the Scout can do that a Rogue couldn't do better... except for one thing: Swift Hunter. On its own, Skirmish damage doesn't progress quickly enough to be all that effective. But replace that mediocre BAB with Ranger levels and the ability to Skirmish crit-immune creature types, and things get a little more interesting. Add Improved Skirmish and some PrCs like Dragon Devotee and Unseen Seer, and you can get up to 10d6 Skirmish damage, about on par with the Rogue's Sneak Attack.

    Soulknife (Expanded Psionics Handbook/SRD). This class is a very deep snotbucket full of epic fail. Yes, they can dual-wield mindblades at 5th level, and there are some feats that allow them to create a double weapon as a mindblade, but the scant few bonus feats they get don't help TWF (or possibly anything else), the weapon enhancements they get are too weak for their level, and while they get some "psionic" abilities, they have no PP/Powers progression to make up for the laundry list of their shortcomings. If you really need to summon a psionic weapon with your mind, try the Soulbound Weapon ACF for Psychic Warrior.

    Spellthief (Complete Adventurer). This can be an interesting class to dip into if you need some Sneak Attack and want to mix in a little arcane spellcasting. However, a great deal of the Spellthief's effectiveness depends on how often he runs into enemies with spellcasting or SLAs, as well as what spells/SLAs he can "borrow" from his party members. The other problem with spellthief is you need at least one hand free to provide somatic components on stolen spells, so unless you're TWFing with a double weapon or have an easy way to get a hand free, spellcasting might interfere with your TWF attacks.

    Swashbuckler (Complete Warrior). The Swashbuckler is worth it for about 3 levels, and then, once you have Insightful Strike... one long stretch of "meh". While adding Int to damage is useful for TWF, it may not be worth a 3-level dip... unless we're adding Daring Outlaw, and then full BAB and Sneak Attack every two levels as a Rogue makes for some pretty tasty awesomesauce.

    Swordsage (Tome of Battle). This class is the ideal choice for TWFing with Shadow Blade, although feat-wise it can get a little tight without multi-classing. Island of Blades makes flanking ridiculously easy, and Assassin's Stance may open up things like Craven (Champions of Ruin) and Staggering Strike (Complete Adventurer).

    Totemist (Magic of Incarnum). If you're doing anything with natural attacks, not only can Totemist add a bunch of them, but there are a few soulmelds that can add some extra damage or a little versatility to a TWF build. Some stand-out soulmelds: Blink Shirt (move-action dimension door), Displacer Mantle (two tentacle attacks), Girallon Arms (four claw attacks), Heart of Fire (+1d4/essentia fire damage on natural attacks), Lamia Belt (Double Chakra for two additional secondary claw attacks), Phase Cloak (ethereal movement, bite + poison), Sphinx Claws (Pounce with natural weapons), Threefold Mask of the Chimera (immune to flanking, add a bite/gore attack), and Totem Avatar (extra HP, natural armor bonus, damage bonus).

    Warblade (Tome of Battle). Out of the gate, Warblade is one of the strongest TWFers in the game: Punishing Stance, Sudden Leap, and Wolf Fang Strike to start with, gets even nastier as you add more Tiger Claw boosts, and then finishes off with Time Stands Still. If you want to go two-hander, add armor spikes or Improved Unarmed Strike. Warblades get Iron Heart as a unique discipline, and access to the tactical feat Stormguard Warrior, which may offer some interesting combos for TWF (see the Feats section below).

    Wilder (Expanded Psionic Handbook). This is not really a TWF-friendly class at first glance, but there are a few tricks they can pull off that aren't as easy to do with an Ardent or Psychic Warrior. Most of these revolve around Metapsionic shenanigans with synchronicity to get extra actions on your turn. A 3-level dip into Mantled Wilder with the Freedom mantle along with Linked Power and Metapower can get you a 10' dimension hop every round for zero PPs. See the Swift Hopper build in Section V-3.g for more details.

    3. Prestige Classes

    Bloodclaw Master (Tome of Battle). At first glance, this PrC looks like a TWFer's wet dream: it negates TWF penalties, grants full Str bonus on offhand attacks, and gives you a two-weapon attack as a standard action or at the end of a charge. But there are a few blemishes you should be aware of. First, you're restricted to Tiger Claw weapons or daggers, which may crimp your style or limit your damage output (although Great Axe + unarmed strike may be worth checking out). Aptitude weapons (ToB p. 148) won't help you here, either, because Superior Two-Weapon Fighting is a class feature, not a feat. Second, it has medium BAB, so even though you reduced TWF penalties to zero, someone else could take a full-BAB class and Weapon Focus to wind up with the same TWF attack bonuses as a Bloodclaw Master. If you've already taken levels in a medium-BAB class and were going to lose more BAB anyway, such as Rogue or Swordsage, then a 2-3 level dip into Bloodclaw Master is probably green.

    Bloodstorm Blade (Tome of Battle). This may not be an obvious choice for TWFers, but it does solve one of the problems of TWF in an interesting way: instead of worrying about trying to move + full attack, just stand in one place and throw all your weapons at your enemies. If you've got some Warblade levels and are already TWFing, Bloodstorm Blade doesn't give you full initiator levels, but might be worth a dip to extend your range. A two-level dip gives you Thunderous Throw, which lets you spend a swift action to treat all your ranged attacks as if they were melee attacks. This gives you the best of both worlds: you can use all your TWF attacks at range, and even use melee-only feats like Improved Trip, Power Attack, etc. Note that until you get Lightning Ricochet at level 4, your weapons don't immediately return to your hands, so this may create some problems for TWFing until then. Once you've got 4 levels, it's best to stop there, as the rest of the class abilities don't really help TWF all that much.

    Cavestalker (Drow of the Underdark). This is a ranger-based PrC from Drow of the Underdark, but it doesn't require you to be a drow, just darkvision (along with some Rangerish prereqs). It offers mostly some abilities having to do with squeezing around in narrow underground passages, but four levels in you get Exotic Combat Style: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Spiked Chain) as a bonus feat, along with the ability to wield a spiked chain as a one-handed weapon. Combined with Oversize TWF, this creates some interesting possibilities for a TWF/Spiked Chain Tripper build. For TWF, you can stop there (Improved Exotic Combat Style just lets you treat the spiked chain as a smaller weapon when fighting in confined spaces), but there are some other interesting abilities if you stick with it: gaseous form 1/day, undetectable against tremorsense/blindsense/blindsight, and at-will spiderclimb on stone surfaces as the capstone.

    Daggerspell Mage (Complete Adventurer). Most of the class abilities here come off as parlour-tricks, but the real problem with this PrC is if you're a serious arcane spellcaster, the last place you want to be is standing next to your enemies while you try to poke them with daggers. If you want to mix TWF with sneak attack and spellcasting, then Unseen Seer (Complete Mage) is a better PrC. Otherwise, if you want to gish it up with TWF, you're probably better off with sturdier full-BAB PrCs such as Abjurant Champion (Complete Mage), Eldritch Knight (Core), or Knight Phantom (Five Nations).

    Daggerspell Shaper (Complete Adventurer). As with most Druid-friendly PrCs, this one is rendered obsolete largely by just taking more levels of Druid. Unlike Daggerspell Mages, it's somewhat more likely for a treehugger to get his hands dirty with melee. However, once you're in wildshape, your daggers become natural weapons, which don't work with TWF and all your TWF feats become useless.

    Demonbinder (Drow of the Underdark). This is a very oddball PrC to get into (requires Chaotic Evil Drow Warlock 4) and probably not worth the bother, but if you have enough damnation points, you can bind a Marilith demon with your soul for a short period of time. This gives you four extra arms, allowing you to wield up to five offhand weapons. So that might have made this PrC purple, but the binding takes too long (one full-round action), doesn't last long enough (only 10 rounds), and doesn't get enough daily uses (one per class level).

    Dervish (Complete Warrior). For about a year in the early heyday of the 3.5 era, this PrC was the only decent way to TWF with a pair of one-handed weapons, and compared to the PrCs in the DMG, was considered at the time to be a decent PrC. As more sourcebooks came out, the Dervish's luster faded considerably: no bonus damage to keep up with the THFers, and the number of different methods to get move + full attack multiplied. Two feats in particular make almost the entire class obsolete: Oversized TWF (Complete Adventurer) lets you use any one-handed weapon as your offhand attack as well as still allowing Power Attack (Slashing Blades does not), and Travel Devotion (Complete Champion) lets you "Dervish Dance" 10 rounds in a row 1/day. That being said... while the Dervish may have faded a bit from sourcebook power creep, it remains an interesting and fun PrC for TWF aficionados.

    Duelist (Core). While the DMG PrCs tend to be weak, the Duelist adds insult to injury: not only are they really lousy at what they do, they deliberately prevent Duelists from combining Precise Strike with TWF: "When making a precise strike, a duelist cannot attack with a weapon in her other hand or use a shield." This directly contradicts a wealth of historical evidence that duelists did, indeed, use offhand weapons: the "main-gauche" (left-handed parrying dagger), weighted "dueling" cloak (represented elsewhere by the Combat Cloak Expert feat in PHBII), and buckler were all used by historical duelists as an offhand weapon or blocking device. Beyond being historically inaccurate, it's also just completely stupid, and prevents duelists from using *any* decent combat style, not even THF or sword-and-board. However, there is at least one way to possibly salvage this PrC: if you have Improved Unarmed Strike, you can keep your offhand empty and still attack. Add Versatile Unarmed Strike to make your unarmed strike count as a piercing weapon, and you can even get Piercing Strike to work with it. The problem is, even if you did use something like rapier + unarmed strike... as a PrC, the lackluster and underpowered class features of the Duelist still blows goats.

    Eternal Blade (Tome of Battle). The signature class feature is the Blade Guide, which may look like a rip-off of Navi from "Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time", but has several interesting abilities: it gives you access to a Devoted Spirit or Diamond Mind maneuver outside of your normal maneuver progression, it can negate an opponent's DR for a round, can make knowledge checks for you, can give you a dodge bonus equal to your Int bonus, or can nerf an opponent's AC by your Int bonus for you and all of your allies. And then there's the capstone, Island in Time, which may make this PrC gold for pointy-eared TWFers, particularly when you combine it with maneuvers like Time Stands Still and Raging Mongoose: you get an extra turn as an immediate action, allowing you to unload a metric buttload of TWF attacks.

    Exotic Weapon Master (Complete Warrior). This PrC is not green or gold because in general, a TWFer should stick to normal martial weapons and avoid spending his precious feats on all that spiky exotic nonsense. However, there are several exotic weapons that make this PrC worth considering: Spiked Chain (two-hander you can pair up with unarmed strikes or armor spikes as offhand), Kusari-Gama (light one-handed version of the Spiked Chain from the DMG), Dwarven Waraxe (which martial dwarves can qualify for without spending a feat), and Dragonsplits (from Monster Manual IV p. 151). If you're doing anything with a Spiked Chain or an exotic double weapon, then the "Flurry of Strikes" exotic weapon stunt is definitely worth picking up. The other two exotic weapon stunts you may be interested in are "Twin Exotic Weapon Fighting" and "Uncanny Blow". Combined with Weapon Focus, Twin Exotic Weapon Fighting is a better deal than 5 levels of Tempest: one class level and two feats reduces your TWF penalties to zero (I'm counting the +1 bonus from Weapon Focus on top of the 1-point reduction). But the real gem here for TWFers is Uncanny Blow, which has two sentences. The first gives you a better multiplier for calculating your Strength bonus on damage with a two-handed exotic weapon, x2.0 instead of x1.5. The second sentence reads as follows: "If he has the Power Attack feat, he treats the weapon as two-handed for purposes of determining his bonus on damage rolls." But if he already has a two-handed weapon and Power Attack, then this sentence would be entirely redundant and unnecessary... so what exactly does this sentence mean? Well, if this sentence is entirely independent from the first sentence, then it has nothing to do with two-handed weapons, and it means that if you're wielding one-handed exotic weapons, you can get the same damage output from Power Attack as a two-handed weapon. You'll want to double-check with your DM on this, but for the purposes of this OffHandbook, that's what I think it means. This is where a pair of Dwarven Waraxes or Dragonsplits really shines, and you've got the best of both worlds: you look awesome wielding two weapons, and you get the same damage multipliers that the THFers are getting.

    Revenant Blade (Player's Guide to Eberron). This is what Tempest should have been. Feat tax is a little heavy to get in, but once you're in, Ancestral Guidance makes up for it by giving you the equivalent of three bonus feats over five levels. Actually, you can increase that to four bonus feats by wearing a Zaelshin Tu, an 1800 GP magic amulet from one of your patron ancestors (see Player's Guide to Eberron p. 145). Even better, you don't have to meet the prereqs for those bonus feats, so you can grab Great Cleave without Cleave or Weapon Specialization without four levels of Fighter. Legendary Force caps it off, letting you treat both ends of the double scimitar as if they were two-handed weapons, and you rack up all those Power Attack multipliers just like all those Ubercharger idiots.

    Spinemeld Warrior (Magic of Incarnum). The wacky rules for spines makes this PrC nearly useless. First, the spines are called a natural weapon, but then suddenly they aren't, because now they're either a primary or offhand attack you can only use once per round. Spinemeld Warrior tries to fix this by allowing you to treat your spines as light weapons for TWF, and then gives you TWF as a bonus feat, but then forbids you from using any other weapons, including both manufactured and natural weapons. You do get a little rend at 5th level, and you can invest essentia into your spines for a little bonus attack/damage, but the meldshaping progression is almost as bad as Soulborn. If you want to mix TWF with natural weapons, you're much better off going Totemist.

    Tempest (Complete Adventurer). This PrC appears to offer the Holy Grail of TWF: a way to reduce TWF penalties to zero. However, do not be fooled by this Grail-Shaped-Beacon: it actually makes you worse at TWF. It requires *five* prereq feats, only two of which involve TWF. Dodge and Mobility are some of the most reviled examples of "feat taxes", and despite what all designers seem to think, Spring Attack can't be combined with TWF.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    4. Feats

    a. Core:

    Combat Reflexes. This feat may not be immediately helpful to a TWF build. On one hand, you generally have a high Dex just to qualify for TWF feats. On the other hand, you're unlikely to generate a lot of AoOs because most creatures don't generate more than one per round (if that), and whatever resources you might have had to generate more (reach, large size, etc.) you probably used to improve TWF instead. Even if you're lucky enough to get more than one AoO per round, you only get one attack on a AoO, so unless you took Double Hit (Miniatures Handbook) all those TWF feats are wasted. If you do have access to Double Hit, then grab Combat Reflexes early so you can get Double Hit ASAP. Otherwise, if you're TWFing with a spiked chain or some other reach weapon, then it's probably worth picking up Combat Reflexes.

    Dodge. This much-reviled feat isn't really worth taking in any build, much less a feat-starved TWF build. You may be forced into taking it anyway, because it's a popular prereq feat, and for some reason designers keep thinking that the Spring Attack line should have something to do with TWF (but it doesn't). If you do have to take Dodge, then consider one of the "counts as Dodge for prereqs" alternatives, such as: Expeditious Dodge (Races of the Wild), Desert Wind Dodge (Tome of Battle), or Midnight Dodge (Magic of Incarnum).

    Exotic Weapon Proficiency. In general, EWP is not considered worth a feat since you're only getting about +1 average damage better than a non-exotic weapon. However, there are several exotic weapons that have features that may help TWF builds: spiked chain, kusari-gama (DMG), spinning sword (Secrets of Sarlona), flindbar (Monster Manual III), dragonsplits (Monster Manual IV), elven courtblade/thinblade (Races of the Wild). See Section III-6 below for more specific information on various exotic weapons.

    Greater Two-Weapon Fighting. This may be one of the three "Core" TWF feats, but it's not always absolutely necessary. If you don't have full BAB, then it's not going to be available until very late in the campaign, and because of the -10 attack penalty it's going to hit much less often and thus the payoff is much worse than the other TWF feats. If you have room for it, might as well take it, but if you don’t have room for it, you can skip it.

    Greater Weapon Focus. As with Weapon Focus, this feat is pretty lousy from a cost/benefit standpoint. Even worse, it requires 8 levels of Fighter, which may not fit into your build if you're only dipping Fighter for 2 or 4 levels. On the other hand, as with Weapon Focus, the additional +1 attack bonus gets applied to more attacks with TWF, and thus has a better chance of increasing your damage output. Warblades that are looking for a decent "filler" feat for 15th or 18th level might want to consider this one.

    Greater Weapon Specialization. As with Weapon Specialization, this may be considered a mediocre feat in most builds, but with TWF, your damage gets multiplied by the number of times you hit, so if you're hitting more often, you may get a better damage payoff out of this feat than a two-handed fighter. The biggest drawback is it requires 12 levels of Fighter, which is pretty unlikely unless you're doing a straight Fighter 20 build. Warblades that are looking for a decent "filler" feat for 15th or 18th level might want to consider this one.

    Improved Critical. The general advice for Improved Critical is "get a Keen weapon or Scabbard of Keen Edges instead", or rather never waste a feat slot on something you can just buy with GP, but TWF characters have the additional headache of having to pay for enchanting a second weapon. If your DM is stingy with gold or you're in a low magic/low WBL campaign, then Improved Critical starts to look more appealing for a crit-hunter build. There are a couple other perks with Improved Critical: it continues to work if your weapons get sundered/lost/stolen/disjuncted/etc., and the autocrit from blessed weapon works with it but not with Keen.

    Improved Shield Bash. If you're using a shield as your offhand weapon, this feat allows you to keep the shield bonus to your AC even if you choose to attack with the shield on your turn. Just by itself, the AC bonus from your shield is likely to be better than Dodge or Two-Weapon Defense, but I don't really recommend it unless you're doing something else with shield bashes, such as Shield Charge or Agile Shield Fighter, in which case it's a prereq.

    Improved Trip. Tripping is one of the easiest special attacks/debuffs to pull off for melee characters. It doesn't require a lot of feats, so it's somewhat easier for a TWF build to fit in. However, there are some drawbacks: Str is more important than Dex, size is more important than both of those put together, and as you get into the higher levels, the creatures get so large and strong that tripping ceases to be an effective tactic. The other problem is Combat Expertise is a prereq, which requires at least Int 13. So to be an effective TWF tripper, you need high Str, high Dex, and moderately high Int, so you may have some MAD (Multiple Ability Dependency) issues. However, if you grabbed a level of Barbarian for Spirit Lion Totem and/or Whirling Frenzy, you can pick up one more level for Wolf Totem and get Improved Trip as a bonus feat without bothering with Combat Expertise or Int 13. If you have a way to increase your size or want to set up tripping combos with things like Knock-Back, Shield Charge, etc., then yes, Improved Trip is probably worth it.

    Improved Two-Weapon Fighting. A dedicated TWF build will pick this up ASAP. The problem with that is it first becomes available in that sweet spot around levels 6-9 where it has to compete with every other feat you want to take. If you can get your hands on Gloves of the Balanced Hand (8000 GP, Magic Item Compendium), then you can possibly put off taking Improved TWF until later, or if you're happy with the Gloves, maybe even skip it entirely.

    Improved Unarmed Strike. There are many advantages to using unarmed strikes as your offhand weapon: can't be disarmed/sundered, leaves your hands free for two-handed weapons, and can still be used with Power Attack. However, there are still disadvantages: may be difficult to enchant, low damage output (even with Power Attack), and occasionally a few confusing rules headaches.

    Mobility. Dodge's evil twin, this nearly useless prereq feat purports to help you avoid AoOs when you move past an enemy... wait, isn't that what Tumble is for? And once you can reliably hit a Tumble check DC 15, you'll never even use this feat.

    Multiattack. This feat drops the penalty for secondary natural attacks from -5 to -2. More attacks hitting means better damage output, so if you already have three or more natural attacks, then consider this feat green or even gold. If you have only two natural attacks, then you might consider picking up a third and then taking this feat (Improved Unarmed Strike can be added via a dip into Battle Dancer, Unarmed Swordsage, Fighter, or even *shudder* Monk). If you'd rather use an item, Horned Helm (8000 GP, MIC) adds a gore attack, while a Fanged Mask (8300 GP, MIC) adds a bite attack. If you'd rather use a feat, Shape Soulmeld: Claws of the Wyrm (Dragon Magic) can add two claw attacks to an Improved Unarmed Strike/Armor Spikes combo if you have the Dragonblood subtype. Note that if you want to eliminate this penalty entirely, there's an Improved Multiattack feat in Savage Species that does exactly that.

    Multiweapon Fighting. If you have three or more hands, this feat replaces TWF. I'm rating it green because it's somewhat hard to qualify for without taking racial HD or Level Adjustment, and while it does help with the damage problem of TWF, it makes other problems, such as weapon cost, much worse. With MWF, you get an extra offhand attack for each extra hand you have wielding a weapon. That means four hands = three offhand attacks with only a -2 penalty (assuming three light weapons), so you can multiply your offhand damage by 2x or 3x so long as those extra hands hit. You can get even more attacks by taking Improved Multiweapon Fighting and Greater Multiweapon Fighting from Savage Species. For a more in-depth look at MWF, see "Section IV: Helping Hands" below for more details on getting more hands into your build.

    Power Attack. This is the powerhouse behind most THF builds, and while it can be used as a source of bonus damage for TWFers, getting any useful damage out of it can be somewhat problematic. While you can TWF with a two-handed weapon and use armor spikes or an unarmed strike as your offhand, only the unarmed strike gets Power Attack damage. There are also ways to TWF with two one-handed weapons, such as the Oversize TWF feat, Agile Shield Fighter, and the exotic Dragonsplits. However, all of these methods only get you a plain old boring vanilla x1.0 damage multiplier. Still, x1.0 is still bonus damage, and if you manage to land a lot of hits, that becomes your damage multiplier. However, unless you go the Shock Trooper/Heedless Charge route, you wind up paying for that damage bonus with an attack penalty, which makes your subsequent attacks less likely to hit. There is a way to get two-handed damage multipliers on twin exotic weapons via the Exotic Weapon Master/Uncanny Blow stunt (see Prestige Classes section above), but this requires a lot of feats to get it all up and working: Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Weapon Focus, and Oversize TWF on top of TWF/Improved TWF/Greater TWF and Power Attack. If you can squeeze Improved Bull Rush, Shock Trooper, and Leap Attack in there, then you've got pretty much the best of both worlds and Holy Grail of Whoopass: not only do you look like a complete whirling death machine, you've got the damage output that will make even the most jaded Ubercharger teary-eyed.

    Quickdraw. As per the PHB, if you have at least +1 BAB and TWF, you can already combine drawing two weapons with any other type of move action. If you don't want to waste a move action, you can also use some Least Crystals of Return (500 GP, Magic Item Compendium) to get the same effect. However, you may need those augment crystal slots for something else, and Action Economy is King in D&D, so there may be a few builds where being able to get your weapons out quickly or switch to a back-up weapon as a free action might be very useful in a pinch.

    Spring Attack. For some bizarre reason, the designers keep adding this feat to PrCs that are supposed to support TWF, I guess because they think it's somehow related to that sort of combat style, but Spring Attack can only be used with a single weapon so... WTF? This feat has absolutely nothing to do with TWF, and taking it only makes you worse at TWF, since you can't use your second weapon at all. There are many, many other ways to move + attack + move, and nearly all of them are better than Spring Attack.

    Two-Weapon Defense. There are many, many, many other ways to get a +1 AC bonus that don't involve wasting one of your feat slots. If you really need a shield bonus, buy an animated shield.

    Two-Weapon Fighting. While you can fight with two weapons without taking this feat, doing so generally makes you look stupid.

    Weapon Finesse. This feat allows you to dump Str and focus on Dex, increasing your chances of hitting, but... wait, it does what? But you need Str for damage! Yeah, well, if wishes were silver pieces... anyway, this feat works best if you have a reliable way to get bonus damage, but don't go out of your way to dump Str or pick this up if you can avoid it. It gets better when combined with a method to apply Dex to damage (such as Shadow Blade or Drow Hit-and-Run Fighter ACF), but you can also skip it entirely by buying feycraft weapons (+1000 GP, DMGII). This drops your damage by a die, but if it was already a light weapon, you can treat it as if you had the Weapon Finesse feat without actually taking the feat.

    Weapon Focus. This feat is generally considered a poor choice, since that +1 doesn't scale as you level up, but could actually wind up helping TWFers more than any other combat style. Why? Because a standard THF beatstick can only get four iterative attacks, but a TWFer gets so many more attacks (well, in theory) that the +1 attack bonus is more likely to turn more of his misses into hits. Also, he's already down with a -2 attack penalty just for TWFing, so cutting that to only a -1 penalty with a single feat can be very tempting. On the other hand, TWFers don't exactly have open feat slots growing on trees, so I'd recommend using your feat slots for extra movement and bonus damage before you pick up Weapon Focus.

    Weapon Specialization. +2 damage may not be worth even an eyeroll to an Ubercharger, but on a TWF build, that 2 points of damage gets multiplied whenever another attack hits. So if you've got the feat slots for it, Weapon Specialization may be worth it. This requires 4 levels of Fighter, but that's generally not a bad thing in a TWF build.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    b. Not-so-core:

    Ancestral Relic (Book of Exalted Deeds). If you've got a stingy DM or a low-magic campaign world, this feat can give you a break on enchantment costs, allowing you to convert loot into weapon enhancements at full market price rather than selling everything at 50% and then trying to find someone to enchant for you. This is particularly effective on a double weapon, since you can use the same feat to enchant both ends of the weapon.

    Aberrant Blood (Lords of Madness). This is a feat tax to pick up Deepspawn, which gives you two secondary tentacle attacks. This is only useful for a build trying to maximize natural attacks, but two feats may not be worth it or may not even fit in your build.

    Agile Shield Fighter (PHBII). At first glance, this feat looks like "TWF with shields", and while that's somewhat accurate, there are a couple quirks to this feat. First, while it gives you one offhand attack, same as TWF, it doesn't give you a second or third offhand attack, and there's no Improved/Greater version, so if you want that second and third offhand attack, you have to take TWF (which is now a wasted feat), Improved TWF, and Greater TWF. The second quirk is that this feat gives you a -2 primary/-2 offhand penalty, and these penalties *replace* the usual TWF penalties, even if your offhand weapon (such as a heavy shield) isn't light. This means if your offhand weapon is a heavy shield, it still counts as a one-handed weapon for Power Attack. If you've got a dedicated sword-and-board build that wants to TWF with a shield, then this feat is probably green, but you're going to need a lot of bonus feats to make it work.

    Ascetic Rogue (Complete Adventurer). A good example of "the chart LIES!" According to the text, this feat does not stack monk and rogue levels to determine sneak attack damage, only unarmed strike damage. It also adds +2 to the DC of any Stunning Fist attack delivered with sneak attack damage, but Stunning Fist is nearly useless to begin with. Mixing monk levels with TWF follows the general advice on monks: the optimal number of monk levels is pretty much zero.

    Bounding Assault (PHBII). This feat helps salvage the Spring Attack line of feats somewhat... but it does absolutely nothing for TWF.

    Craven (Champions of Ruin). Somewhat obscure source, and some DMs may consider it campaign-specific, but this feat is required for most sneak attack builds, increasing the average damage to +2.75 per character level. It's a static modifier, too, so it gets multiplied on crits. If you're doing anything with sneak attack, you should get your hands on this feat as quickly as possible.

    Crushing Strike (PHBII). While the +1 attack bonus for every attack that hits is nice to have in a TWF build (particularly for that 2nd and 3rd offhand attack), the Melee Weapon Mastery and BAB +14 prereqs mean it's only likely to show up in a Fighter 20 build.

    Deadly Precision (Expanded Psionics Handbook). I don't recommend this feat for two reasons: first, it doesn't add nearly as much damage as you think it does (only +0.42 damage per sneak attack die, or +0.21 per Rogue level), and second, you can buy Bracers of Murder (Drow of the Underdark) for 8000 GP that offer an even better "reroll 1's" ability (you can keep rerolling 1's) along with +2 profane damage against flat-footed targets and a +2 increase on Death Attack save DCs.

    Deepspawn (Lords of Madness). This feat adds two natural tentacle attacks, which may be useful if you've got a TWF build that stacks up a bunch of natural attacks on top of your TWF attacks. However, it requires Aberration Blood as a prereq, and opens you up to a bunch of "tentacle porn" jokes (I'm going to pretend you don't consider that an "additional benefit"). Two feats may not fit into your build, but once you get the easy ones like bite/claw/claw, picking up additional natural weapons can be tricky.

    Deformity: Teeth (Heroes of Horror). This is not the best way to get a bite attack... that would probably be Planar Touchstone -> Hunger Domain. The deformity stuff also requires you to be evil, which some groups may frown upon. However, if you picked up Willing Deformity and Deformity: Tall for +5 additional reach (again, not really recommended), might as well pick up the teeth.

    Desert Wind Dodge (Tome of Battle). If you're doing anything with skirmish damage, then this is a good feat to pick up to add a little fire damage to your attacks. It also counts as "Dodge" for prereq purposes, so if you're being forced to take Dodge to qualify for another feat or PrC, you can pick up this feat instead. Even better, if you already have Dodge (as racial bonus feat or from crappy "bonus feat" class feature), you can swap it out for any other feat you qualify for.

    Dancing Blade (Ghostwalk). This is a terrible feat, +1 on full attacks with a rapier, similar to Weapon Focus. Actually, it's even worse than Weapon Focus (which still works on standard attacks), but it also stacks with Weapon Focus. So if you want to negate TWF penalties with rapiers, you can take Weapon Focus, Dancing Blade, and Oversize TWF. Still not something I would recommend, but probably better than taking 5 levels of Tempest.

    Daring Outlaw (Complete Scoundrel). There's a strong argument that this feat makes Swashbuckler playable beyond level 3. By taking this feat, your Swashbuckler levels count towards your Rogue levels for determining your sneak attack damage. This lets you stack two sources of bonus damage: sneak attack and Insightful Strike from Swashbuckler. Getting full BAB with all those Swashbuckler levels is also nothing to sneeze at. See Section V-2.c for a sample Daring Outlaw build.

    Dire Flail Slash (Champions of Ruin). If you're comfortable with a weapon that looks even sillier than a spiked chain, then this feat might be worth considering for a double-weapon TWFer... except for the three prereq feats (Improved Sunder, Power Attack, Weapon Focus) that you probably don't have room for. (Ok, seriously, Improved Sunder? WHY?)

    Double Hit (Miniatures Handbook). This allows you to attack with two weapons on an Attack of Opportunity. It requires Combat Reflexes, TWF, and Improved TWF, but you already had high Dex anyway, right? Combat Reflexes may not be all that useful for TWF at first, but picking up Double Hit should be your first priority after Improved TWF, before Greater TWF.

    Double Wand Wielder (Complete Arcane). This feat allows you to activate two wands, which would normally require two standard actions, as a full-round action. Unfortunately, the prereqs are what make this feat red: it requires TWF, but you don't attack with two weapons or use the TWF rules, and it requires Craft Wand for some idiotic reason. While there may be some TWF gish builds that could make good use of this feat, it's not worth blowing a feat on Craft Wand.

    Dragonfire Inspiration (Dragon Magic). If you're looking for bonus damage... well then, boy howdy! When you activate inspire courage, you can choose to convert your attack bonus into +Xd6 fire damage for all your allies (including yourself). This includes melee and ranged attacks. It requires the dragonblood subtype, which you can get with the various subraces in Dragon Magic, the Dragontouched feat, or dipping into Dragonfire Adept for a level. If you take Draconic Heritage, you can switch the energy type from fire to one of the more exotic energy types, such as sonic. With the inspiration spell, Song of the Heart feat (Eberron Campaign Setting), and Words of Creation (Book of Exalted Deeds), you can get up to 12d6 or more bonus damage on all your allies' attacks. For more general advice on how to optimize inspire courage, check this link, and for sample Bardblade builds, see Section V-2 below.

    Dragonfire Strike (Dragon Magic). If your bonus damage relies on sneak attack, sudden strike, or skirmish damage, then this may be a good feat to pick up for +1d6 damage. It also changes the damage type to fire, which may cause problems if you frequently run into creatures with fire resistance or fire immunity, but you can turn off the fire damage by just choosing not to use Dragonfire Strike. This is particularly useful for skirmish builds, because skirmish damage is so darned hard to advance quickly. Also note that this feat adds +1d6 damage to sneak attack, sudden strike, and skirmish separately, so if you have all three damage types on the same attack, you get +3d6 bonus damage.

    Dragontouched (Dragon Magic). This feat has nothing to do with TWF, but it may be necessary to pick up Dragonfire Inspiration. It also allows you to qualify for draconic feats as if you were a sorcerer, so you can take Draconic Heritage to switch your energy type with Dragonfire Inspiration or Dragonfire Strike to something else, such as sonic damage. If you don't have room for this feat, there are plenty of other ways to pick up the dragonblood subtype: use one of the subraces from Dragon Magic, use Dragonborn of Bahumat, or dip one level of Dragonfire Adept to pick up Dragontouched as a bonus feat.

    Dragon Tail (Races of the Dragon). This feat is awesome for two reasons. First, it gives you a natural tail attack, which you can add to your TWF routine as a secondary attack. And second, you can take Prehensile Tail (Savage Species/Serpent Kingdom) to let it wield a weapon as an offhand attack, which also may open up Multiweapon Fighting for you. If you don't have room for Prehensile Tail, try a weapon with the Opposable property (+1 enhancement, Masters of the Wild). To take this feat, you need the dragonblood subtype, which you can get with the various dragonblood subraces in Dragon Magic, Dragonborn of Bahumat, the Dragontouched feat, or by dipping into Dragonfire Adept. You also have to be 1st level, unless you use Dragonborn of Bahumat, in which case you can swap one of your existing feats for Dragon Tail. I love using Ranger for this, swapping out Track or Endurance for Dragon Tail, but there are plenty of other base classes that may offer less-than-useful bonus feats.

    Driving Attack (PHBII). This lets you combine a single melee piercing attack with a bull rush, and by swapping your Str bonus for your total damage bonus (including Power Attack, Leap Attack, etc.), you can probably bull rush your opponent clear into next week. You can even trade 10' of your bull rush for knocking your opponent prone, so it becomes "Improved Trip" without actually using the trip rules. However, since it requires a full-round action for a single melee attack, it's useless from a TWF standpoint.

    Dual Strike (Complete Adventurer). As a standard action, lets you combine two weapons into a single attack roll, but the penalties are worse than usual for TWF: -4 if your offhand is light, -10 if it isn't. Since there's only one attack roll, you only get precision/crit damage on your primary weapon. Don't even bother with this feat, you're better off picking up a feat that lets you move + full attack or taking Martial Study: Wolf Fang Strike.

    Dwarven Urgrosh Mind Blade (Complete Psionic). Requires you to be a Soulknife. As awesome as TWF might be, it can't salvage Soulknife from the depths of stinkage.

    Eagle's Fury (Sandstorm). This is similar to many extra attack feats: get an extra attack per round with an eagle's claw, and take a -2 penalty on all your attacks for the round. An eagle's claw is an exotic light weapon from Sandstorm similar to a kukri, but with slightly better damage, and might be an ideal weapon for a crit-fisher build.

    Flay (PHBII). Great fluff, but the mechanics stink. First, it only works when you use Power Attack with slashing/piercing weapons against an opponent with no armor bonus, so it's hard to predict when this feat will actually be useful. Second, it requires a failed Fort save to work, and the DC is based off your bonus damage from Power Attack. This means if you crank your Power Attack damage up, you're less likely to hit in the first place, and if you dial down the Power Attack to make sure you hit, your opponent is more likely to make the Fort save. Overall, not worth the bother.

    Greater Multiweapon Fighting (Savage Species). As if you didn't have enough attack rolls already... sure, why not, if you're going to go all in, then by all means, go all the way in. This should push resolving your entire attack routine out past an hour or so...

    Greater Two-Weapon Defense (Complete Warrior). As with the previous incarnations, there are way too many other ways to buff your AC to bother wasting your feat slots on this useless piece of trash. If you want a shield bonus, buy an animated shield.

    Haft Strike (Dragon Compendium). This is an odd feat that sort of lets you treat a polearm as a double weapon to get an extra attack, treating the haft of the weapon like a club. However, although it requires TWF, and involves a similar -2 penalty on all your attacks, it doesn't actually use the TWF rules, since the additional attack is at your highest BAB. There's nothing in the text that mentions if you can use the haft as an offhand weapon, nor does it explain what happens when the polearm has reach: does the haft have the same reach as a club, or the same reach as the polearm? I have no idea. If you're going to use this feat, you'll need to ask your DM to clarify how it should work.

    Hidden Talent (Expanded Psionic Handbook). This is an "optional" variant of the Wild Talent feat, so you may have to clear it with the DM, but this feat allows you to get 2 PP and pick up a 1st-level psionic power. For example, grab the dimension hop power (Complete Psionic) for a swift-action 10' teleport.

    Indigo Strike (Magic of Incarnum). I wish it did more, but if you're looking to squeeze a few more points of damage into a skirmish build, this might be worth a look. Fortunately the feat itself supplies at least one point of essentia, you can pick up another point by going with Azurin for race, and then later after you've taken all your TWF feats you can pick up some other incarnum feats to max out your capacity.

    Improved Buckler Defense (Complete Warrior). The problem with this feat is there's an additional -1 penalty for using your buckler arm to attack with a weapon, either two-handed or an offhand weapon. There's no easy way to get rid of that penalty, and since you're already down -2 on attacks due to TWF, another -1 really isn't something you can afford. Skip it.

    Improved Multiattack (Savage Species). This feat reduces the penalty on your secondary natural attacks to zero. If you're doing a lot with natural attacks, then this is a great feat to work towards, as your natural attacks will then have a better chance to hit than your TWF attacks.

    Improved Multiweapon Fighting (Savage Species). All of your offhands get a second attack with a -5 penalty. Oh yes, you want this.

    Improved Rapidstrike (Draconomicon). As with Rapidstrike, you need the correct creature type (aberration, dragon, elemental, magical beast, or plant) and a pair of natural weapons to qualify for this feat, but as if weren't hard enough, the BAB +15 requirement for the Improved version will probably put this out of reach for anything that isn't a full BAB build. If you can get it at a decent pre-epic ECL, however, it gives you four extra attacks at -5, -10, -15, and -20 penalties. While this feat has sometimes been called "iterative attacks for natural weapons", it's important to note that these extra attacks are not iterative or secondary attacks. If your natural weapon is a primary attack, these extra attacks get your full Str bonus. If you've already got iteratives (such as with a manufactured weapon or Improved Unarmed Strike), then these extra attacks are similar to secondary attacks (1/2 Str bonus) but use their own penalties.

    Improved Skirmish (Complete Scoundrel). If you have a reliable method to move at least 20' and still full attack (such as Travel Devotion), then this feat is probably gold. However, some extra movement methods can only manage 10' a round (Sparring Dummy of the Master, Press the Advantage, Tumble check DC 40, etc.), in which case this feat might not be so useful. Then again, if you can get it to work reliably, in the right build this can bring skirmish damage up to par with sneak attack (up to 10d6 over 20 levels).

    Improved Two-Weapon Defense (Complete Warrior). Same deal with the non-improved version: there are too many other ways to buff your AC without blowing one of your feat slots on this garbage. If you want a shield bonus, buy an animated shield.

    Improved Weapon Familiarity (Complete Warrior/Races of Stone). Since you generally don't use more than one exotic weapon at a time, this feat isn't much better than just taking Exotic Weapon Proficiency. If you need proficiency with an exotic racial weapon, ask your DM if you can use the optional rule in Complete Warrior (p. 154) to swap one of your racial weapons for a different one. For example, ask if you can swap your dwarf's familiarity with the dwarven urgrosh for the dwarven warpike. Or gnome hooked hammer for gnome quickrazor. This doesn't work with elves, since their proficiencies are given as feats and not identified as "Weapon Familiarity", so this feat may be the best way to pick up proficiency with the elven courtblade, thinblade, and lightblade. For orcs, it's almost worth it just to get proficiency with the orc shotput (A&EG, 2d6 damage, 19-20/x3 crit!). But unless you have some particularly devastating combo in mind, you're almost always better off TWFing with non-exotic weapons and using that feat slot for something else.

    Knowledge Devotion (Complete Champion). This is an excellent way to add +1 to +5 bonus damage to all of your attacks as a free action. Unfortunately, to get the most out of it, you need classes that offer a lot of Knowledge skills and enough skillpoints to max them out. Bard probably works best for this, although dipping into Cloistered Cleric to pick this up (maybe along with the Travel Devotion as well) wouldn't be unheard of. Fortunately, you can't "fail" the roll, and even if you roll a "1" you still get +1 damage. So if you don't have enough skill points to max out all the creature-related Knowledge skills, then get at least one rank in them so you're no longer considered "untrained". Do be careful of the prereqs, however, since you need 5 ranks in a Knowledge skill, and thus can't pick this up at level 1.

    Leap Attack (Complete Adventurer). This feat works best if you have Pounce. If you have Pounce and Travel Devotion, then it works *really* well: charge + full attack every round for 10 rounds. Note that the Complete Adventurer errata changes how you calculate the damage from Power Attack: instead of x2 or x3, you get +100% of the damage from Power Attack. If your build doesn't involve Power Attack, though, skip it.

    Lion Tribe Warrior (Shining South). At first glance, this looks similar to Snow Tiger Berserker, but it's actually much worse. It lets you full attack at the end of a charge, but only with a single light weapon. If you have two light weapons, you get a single attack with each, instead of an actual full attack. So don't bother with this one... if you're trying to add Pounce via feats, then you're better off with Snow Tiger Berserker.

    Maiming Strike (Exemplars of Evil). There aren't a lot of feats that allow you to deal ability damage, but this is one of the exceptions. You need to be evil and have at least 2d6 sneak attack, but allows you to sacrifice your sneak attack dice to do ability damage. For each 2d6 you sacrifice, you do 1 point of Charisma damage. Oh look... that's everyone's favorite dump stat!

    Martial Stance (Tome of Battle). Stances can be extremely useful for TWFers, particularly things like Punishing Stance (Iron Heart 1, +1d6 damage/-2 AC), Assassin's Stance (Shadow Hand 3, 2d6 sneak attack), and Press the Advantage (White Raven 5, take an extra 5' step). The only downside is you need to know at least one maneuver from the discipline first, so it's not always easy to cherry-pick the stance you need. You may need to take Martial Study first, or consider dipping into a Martial Adept class. You can also try picking up a Novice Crown of the White Raven type magic item to "learn" a maneuver (although some DMs may not allow that to count).

    Martial Study (Tome of Battle). If you're going to grab a maneuver this way, you'll want to focus on boosts and counters, or pick up a strike that shores up a weakness not covered by TWF, such as getting past Damage Reduction (Mountain Hammer FTW). As feats are so precious, you're probably better off dipping into a Martial Adept class and getting the maneuver you need that way, along with several others that might come in handy. If you don't have room for a feat or a dip, then consider the Novice Crown of the White Raven type magic items (Tome of Battle p. 149).

    Melee Weapon Mastery (PHBII). The +2 attack/damage bonus makes for a nice follow-up to Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization, but you may have trouble fitting all those feats into a TWF build unless you're doing something like Fighter 20. Even so, three feats for a +4 damage bonus that doesn't scale is still a pretty poor payoff.

    Monkey Grip (Complete Warrior). Oh, if only more people read this feat more carefully... First, it probably doesn't do what you think it does, which most people think is "wield a two-handed sword with only one hand". What it really does is allow you to wield an oversize weapon without changing the handedness. Normally, wielding an oversize one-handed weapon requires two hands, and an oversize two-handed weapon can't be wielded at all. You still take a -2 inappropriately sized weapon penalty, and there's no way in the entire 3.x library to get rid of it. (Actually, there is one way... City of Stormreach p. 100, but you have to fight in a special arena match every week.) Second, the benefits of Monkey Grip are usually pretty paltry. Increasing damage from 1d6 to 1d8 or 1d8 to 1d10 results in +1 damage on average. You get a much better penalty/damage ratio by taking Power Attack with a two-handed weapon: if you take a -2 attack penalty, you get +4 damage out of it, and once you start adding in multipliers like Spirited Charge, Valorous Weapon, Leap Attack, etc., the ratio can get up to 1:8 or 1:16. That being said, you may be wondering, why isn't this feat red? And the reason would be, once you get your weapon damage up to 4d6 or 4d8, then the penalty/damage ratio starts to look much more appealing. If you've got Strongarm Bracers, Powerful Build, Heavy Weapon property, Greater Mighty Wallop, or various size/polymorph shenanigans going on, then going from 4d6 to 6d6 is an additional 7 damage on average, and going from 4d8 to 6d8 is an additional 9 damage. This is more comparable to the output the uberchargers are getting from Power Attack. However, for TWFers, Monkey Grip is still a bad idea because it doesn't work with offhand weapons or double weapons. If you're TWFing with a big two-handed weapon and offhanding with unarmed strike/armor spikes, then Monkey Grip may actually be worth taking, but that's a difficult build to pull off.

    Multitasking (Savage Species). This is an oddball, and something of a relic from the 3.0 rules... if you have four or more arms, then you can pair up the arms to perform separate "partial actions". Partial actions don't exist in the 3.5 rules, but if you can get your DM to agree that this means each pair of arms can perform a standard action, then it gets a little more interesting, but rules-wise may be a bit of a mess. From a TWF/MWF standpoint, this would be a waste of a feat, since two standard action attacks isn't anywhere equivalent to the number of attacks you can get without Multitasking. If you're trying to do something with mixing a melee attack with spellcasting or with activating a magic item, well that's another ball of wax... but it doesn't really help TWF.

    Off-Hand Parry (Sword & Fist/Masters of the Wild). Sacrifice all of your offhand attacks to gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC. But our offhand attacks make us look awesome, so... yeah, don't bother with this one.

    Open Least/Lesser/Greater Chakra (Magic of Incarnum). It can be difficult to fit Shape Soulmeld and one of the Open Chakra feats into a TWF build, but you can use these feats to add things like evasion (Impulse Boots -> Feet chakra), force descriptor to all your melee attacks (Crystal Helm -> Crown chakra), flight (Pegasus Cloak -> Shoulder chakra), or +Xd4 sonic damage and a save vs. stun on all your charge attacks (Thunderstep Boots -> Feet chakra).

    Orc Double Axe Mind Blade (Complete Psionic). As with the dwarven urgrosh version, this feat can't salvage the suckage of Soulknife.

    Oversize Two-Weapon Fighting (Complete Adventurer). I absolutely love this feat... but it's still a terrible feat. At best, it adds +1 average damage to your offhand weapon, which is not enough to make this worth taking for anything other than style reasons. However, it also allows you to Power Attack with your offhand weapon. You don't get any Power Attack multipliers (unless you get the "Uncanny Blow" stunt from Exotic Weapon Master), but some bonus damage is better than none. If your race has familiarity with a decent one-handed weapon, such as a dwarven waraxe, then I'm always tempted to throw this feat into the build, but dwarven waraxe with a shortsword or spiked shield is perfectly effective. Doesn't look nearly as cool, though.

    Pin Shield (Complete Warrior). Assuming you can even find an opponent actually using a shield, you can give up all your offhand attacks to deny him that paltry +1 or +2 shield bonus to his AC... woo hoo. Consider me extremely unimpressed.

    Planar Touchstone (Planar Handbook). If you can scrape up 8 ranks of Knowledge: the Planes and a 250 GP touchstone item, you can link yourself to a planar touchstone site, which gives you a "base ability" for that site, and if you actually visit the site, a higher-order ability that can be used a limited number of times. Fortunately, you don't even have to visit the site to gain the base ability. For a more complete list of interesting base abilities, see this post, but for the purposes of TWF, we're only going to worry about two planar sites. The first is Oxyrhynchus, which allows you to make an extra attack with a chosen weapon at a -5 penalty whenever your opponent is flat-footed. Due to the quirky way this ability is worded, you get this extra attack "during any round that you can make multiple attacks", which means if you can figure out a way to get multiple attacks on a standard action (such as Snap Kick), you can get an extra attack from Oxyrhynchus. The second planar site to consider is the Catalogues of Enlightenment, which gives us access a cleric domain power. If you pick the War domain, you get "two feats for the price of one", Martial Weapon Proficiency + Weapon Focus with the deity's chosen weapon. But the Catalogues don't care who we worship or even if the deity has the War domain in its portfolio. And if the deity's chosen weapon happens to be exotic, then this is a much more effective way to pick up something like Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked Chain. NOTE: This doesn't work by strict RAW, as the War domain in the PHB pretty explicitly says "Martial Weapon Proficiency". However, I think the intention here is fairly clear, since there weren't any deities with exotic favored weapons when the PHB was written, so this shouldn't be a hard sell to your DM.

    Power Lunge (Ghostwalk). This first appeared in Sword & Fist, but you'll want to track down the Ghostwalk version, which is worded a little better, although it's still not entirely clear what the designers intended. The gist of it is that regardless of whether you're wielding a one- or two-handed weapon, your strength bonus on damage is now x2.0 rather than x1.0 or x1.5. What's not clear is if this also applies to light weapons, natural weapons, and secondary/offhand attacks. I'm inclined to say yes, with the reasoning that light weapons are still wielded with one hand, and the text implies you're replacing (rather than multiplying) your existing Str modifier with Str x2. If you're using a lot of natural attacks or are using Oversized TWF, then consider this feat gold.

    Prehensile Tail (Savage Species/Serpent Kingdoms). If you have a tail attack, this feat allows you to add a "third hand" that can wield an additional offhand weapon and open up Multiweapon Fighting. If you don't have a tail attack, you can get one pretty easily by taking the Dragon Tail feat at 1st level (Races of the Dragon), or by using Dragonborn of Bahumat to swap one of your existing feats for Dragon Tail. If you don't have room for this feat, consider a weapon with the Opposable property (+1 enhancement, Masters of the Wild) instead.

    Rapid Blitz (PHBII). As with Bounding Assault, this feat attempts to redeem the whole Spring Attack line, but the +18 BAB requirement means it will be mostly unobtainable or irrelevent. And again, it only allows one weapon to attack, and thus is useless for TWF.

    Rapidstrike (Draconomicon). This feat is purple mostly because it's so difficult to qualify for. First, you have to have the aberration, dragon, elemental, magical beast, or plant type. Second, you have to have a pair of natural weapons, such as two claws, two wing buffets, or two slams. If you're looking to avoid any racial HD, Level Adjustment, or template shenanigans, then your best bet to pick this up is Dragonwrought Kobold or Synad with some claws (via Totemist 2 or Dragonborn of Bahumat + Shape Soulmeld: Claws of the Wyrm). Once you have all that, you get an extra attack with one of those natural weapons at a -5 penalty. However, do note that this is an "extra" attack, not a "secondary" attack. If your Rapidstrike attack was a primary, your extra attack at -5 would still get full Str bonus on damage. If you're mixing manufactured weapons with natural weapons, then the extra attack would also be secondary, and you'd get 1/2 Str bonus. While this feat itself may not be worth the hoops you have to jump through to get it, picking up Improved Rapidstrike to get *four* extra attacks probably is.

    Rending Claws (Secrets of Xen'drik). If you hit with a pair of scorpion claw gauntlets in the same round, you deal 1d6 + 1/2 Str in rending damage. Unfortunately, I don't think that's enough damage to sink two feats into this.

    Robilar's Gambit (PHBII). This is a good "chaser" feat to follow up after you take Double Hit. Don't let the +4 bonus on your opponent's attack and damage scare you: if you get two attacks every time they attack you once, on top of your full attack on your turn, they'll be dead before you have to worry about the +4 bonus. If you have room for it, combine with Karmic Strike for even more attacks (AKA the "Jack B. Quick" build). Another good use for Robilar's Gambit is loading up on AoOs to fuel "Channel the Storm" from Stormguard Warrior (see below).

    Sense Weakness (Draconomicon). When attacking with a weapon you have a Weapon Focus for, this lets you ignore up to 5 points of Damage Reduction, so essentially this is +5 damage against anything with DR. The only downside is it requires two prereq feats you may not have room for. If you had to get Combat Expertise and/or Weapon Focus for something else, then this is probably worth picking up. Otherwise, you may be better off saving up for some Transmuting (+2 enhancement, Magic Item Compendium) weapons.

    Shadow Blade (Tome of Battle). When you're wielding a Shadow Hand weapon and in a Shadow Hand stance, you add your Dex modifier to damage. This feat generally goes hand-in-hand with Swordsage, otherwise it's considerably more difficult to pull off, as you need to find room for Martial Study and Martial Stance.

    Shape Soulmeld (Magic of Incarnum). There aren't a lot of soulmelds that directly help TWF, but there may be one or two that might be worth picking up for general utility: Mage's Spectacles (+4 insight bonus to UMD), Planar Ward (immune to charm/compulsion effects), Strongheart Vest (prevent ability damage), Threefold Mask of the Chimera (immune to flanking), or Wormtail Belt (+2 natural armor bonus). However, if you've got Pounce/Travel Devotion and do a lot of charging, then consider shaping Thunderstep Boots for +Xd4 sonic damage on all your charge attacks, and if you use Open Least Chakra to bind it to your feet chakra, anyone you hit with a charge attack has to save vs. stunned for 1 round.

    Shield Charge (Complete Warrior). If you hit with a shield bash attack, you get a free trip attempt. Add Improved Trip for another free attack (I'm looking at you, Wolf Totem Barbarian).

    Shield Slam (Complete Warrior). Great feat if you can deliver a full attack on a charge via Pounce! Otherwise, if you have to limit yourself to a single attack as a full-round action, you may be better off sticking with a full attack. Daze is usually a much more powerful debuff than stun, although here it's been nerfed so Shield Slam doesn't work against constructs, oozes, plants, undead, and incorporeal creatures (normally, these creatures are immune to stun, but can still be dazed).

    Slashing Flurry (PHBII). Great idea, but the -5 penalty on all your attacks kinda kills it for me.

    Somatic Weaponry (Complete Mage). You shouldn't need this feat. If you're trying to combine spellcasting with TWF, then you should be using a two-handed weapon with armor spikes/unarmed strike, or use a double weapon. This allows you to take a hand off as a free action to handle any spell component stuff.

    Song of the White Raven (Tome of Battle). This one of the key feats to the Bardblade build. First, it allows you to activate inspire courage as a swift action when you're in a White Raven stance, but more importantly, it allows you to stack your Warblade or Crusader levels with your Bard levels to determine your inspire courage bonus. This lets you dip into Bard just long enough to get enough Bardic Music to be useful, and then spend the rest of your career dishing out whoopass as a Warblade. (The Crusader version is called a Bardsader, but isn't as popular, even though there's more Cha synergy with Crusader.) See Section V-2 for some sample builds.

    Snap Kick (Tome of Battle). This is another feat that grants an extra attack for a -2 penalty on all your attacks, but with a new twist: you can use it whenever you make a melee attack, even a standard attack, a strike maneuver, or possibly even an attack of opportunity (DM's Call). It may even be stackable: there's an argument if you have three iterative attacks in a round, you could take a -6 penalty and make three snap kicks that round (another DM's Call). Even if you're only allowed to use this on standard and full attacks, it's still worth picking up. Unfortunately, it has a +6 BAB requirement, which means it becomes available right when Improved TWF, Staggering Strike, and about a dozen other really cool feats become available. If you can fit it in, consider getting Planar Touchstone -> Oxyrhynchus for the possibility of three attacks on a standard action.

    Snowflake Wardance (Frostburn). This feat is frequently recommended to anyone trying to TWF with a bard, but I consider it a bit of a trap. It lets you add your Cha bonus to your attack rolls with slashing weapons that you wield in one hand, but it does nothing to add any damage, and that's really where TWF needs more help. I'd much rather take Arcane Strike (Complete Warrior) or Dragonfire Inspiration (Dragon Magic) instead, as these both provide decent damage buffs.

    Snow Tiger Berserker (Unapproachable East). This feat gives you a full attack at the end of a charge, but only if you're armed with light weapons. This makes it difficult to combine with Power Attack/Leap Attack, but unarmed strikes and Dragonsplits (Monster Manual IV) may still work. The other sticking point are the prerequisites, which require membership in the Snow Tiger Lodge, which usually means only humans from the Rashemen region, and the ability to rage. If you can already dip into Barbarian to pick up the Spirit Lion Totem, why would you bother with this feat? However, for half-orc monks who take a couple of Half-Orc Paragon (and can still claim Rashemi parentage), this feat offers a way to get Pounce and Rage into a monk build without running into alignment conflicts. If your DM has banned 1-level dips into Barbarian to grab pounce, ask if he'll allow this feat as a reasonable compromise.

    Staggering Strike (Complete Adventurer). Every time you hit with sneak attack, your target has to make a Fort save vs. your damage total or be staggered for 1 round. This is the second-most important feat I recommend for sneak-attackers, right after Craven. The problem is it has the same BAB requirement as Improved TWF, so it becomes available right when you want to take every other nifty feat on your wish list. You may have to put off Staggering Strike until later, particularly for rogues, who might not be able to fit it in until ECL 12 or 15. If you still want to take it early, see if you can get your hands on a pair of Gloves of the Balanced Hand (8000 GP, Magic Item Compendium).

    Strength Devotion (Complete Champion). This feat does three things: the ignoring "hardness" thing is kinda meh, but it gives you a slam attack with a +2 damage bonus, which is always nice to add to a TWF routine, and it lets you treat all your melee attacks as if they were adamantine for overcoming DR, which can be a life-saver if you run into the wrong kind of golem and don't have any adamantine weapons handy.

    Superior Unarmed Strike (Tome of Battle). This feat increases the base damage of your unarmed strike, but there are some quirks to it. If you're a monk, you just deal your unarmed damage as if you were four levels higher. If you have no monk levels, then your unarmed damage goes up according to a table by your character level, which is very similar to a small-sized monk. The quirky part is the table doesn't mention anything about adjusting for size, so if you're already a small-sized character, you have the same unarmed damage output as a monk with your same character level. And if you're medium-sized, your unarmed damage isn't that far behind a medium-sized monk, either. Now toss on Improved Natural Attack, Fist of the Forest (Complete Champion), or Greater Might Wallop (Races of the Dragon), and you may be doing more damage than a monk with the same character level. If you're looking for another way to add the monk's Improved Unarmed Strike to a build without actually taking any monk levels, then consider a dip into Battle Dancer (Dragon Compendium), Shou Disciple (Unapproachable East), or the unarmed Swordsage variant (Tome of Battle).

    Swift Ambusher (Complete Scoundrel). A scout is already so similar to rogue, I'm not sure I understand the purpose of allowing rogue levels to count as scout levels for determining skirmish damage/AC bonus. On the other hand, a Scout 3/Rogue 17 with 5d6 skirmish damage on top of 9d6 sneak attack is nothing to sneeze at. If you're inclined to try this out, then Daftendirekt's Swift Ambusher Handbook is probably worth a perusal.

    Swift Hunter (Complete Scoundrel). To be fair, the ranged Swift Hunter builds get most of the thunder for this feat, but TWF Swift Hunter is still quite viable... if you can figure out how to squeeze in some extra movement (which of course isn't a problem for ranged Swift Hunters). See Section V-3 for several sample builds.

    Telling Blow (PHBII). This feat might make sense in a crit-fisher build, but personally I try to stay away from any feat that only works on a crit, as I'd much rather have a benefit that works whenever I want it to rather than depending on a confirmation roll. But the biggest problem with this feat is too many creatures are immune to crits (constructs, elementals, oozes, plants, undead, and swarms) and Telling Blow does nothing to change this.

    Travel Devotion (Complete Champion). As a swift action, move up to your speed. This allows "Pounce" of a sort: move + full attack for up to 10 rounds per day. Not only does this allow you to TWF every round, it lets you unload a whole bunch of skirmish damage. The tricky part is activating it more than once per day. You can take this feat more than once, giving you another activation per day, or if you have Turn Undead, swap two uses of that for another activation. If dipping into Cleric/Cloistered Cleric doesn't quite fit into your build, there may be other ways to add Turn Undead, such as: dip into Sacred Exorcist (Complete Divine), dip into Soldier of Light (Deities & Demigods), Necromantic Bloodline/Kin Mastery feats (Dragon Compendium), or God-Touched/Divine Channeler feats (Dragon Magazine #305). You could also try Planar Touchstone -> Catalogues of Enlightenment to take the Sun domain power from the Dragonlance Campaign Sourcebook, which grants you Turn Undead as a cleric, but some DMs may find that too obscure or dubious.

    Twin Sword Style (Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting/Player's Guide to Faerun). All of the failure of Dodge and Two-Weapon Defense rolled up into a single feat.

    Two-Bladed Mind Blade (Complete Psionic). Seriously, how exactly is a Soulknife supposed to use a double weapon? They have no class features to help with double weapons or TWF. Or to help with being a soulknife, really.

    Two-Weapon Pounce (PHBII). At the end of a charge, you get... two attacks. Ugh. This isn't just pathetic, it's insulting. If you're not going to get a full attack at the end of a charge, don't even bother. You're better off with Travel Devotion, Snow Tiger Berserker, or dipping into Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian.

    Two-Weapon Rend (PHBII). It's nice to finally get some rend without jumping through a bunch of useless prereqs or obtuse tactical feat "options", but by the time you qualify for the BAB +11, the 1d6+(1.5xStr) damage feels underwhelming. Then again, bonus damage is still damage, and TWF needs all the bonus damage it can get.

    Undo Resistance (Fiendish Codex II). For sneak attack builds, after you've got Craven and Staggering Strike, this can be a useful feat to pick up in the higher levels when Spell Resistance (SR) becomes more common. Every time you sneak attack a creature with SR, you reduce the creature's SR by 1 point per sneak attack die. While this probably doesn't help you directly, the other spellcasters in the party will love you for it. It requires a cold iron weapon, but it also doesn't reduce your sneak attack dice, which is a nice touch.

    Unorthodox Flurry (Dragon Compendium). If you're trying to mix TWF with Flurry of Blows and running into issues with weapon restrictions, this may help. You can designate a light weapon as a special monk weapon, and thus can flurry with it (or attack in the same round as a flurry, or whatever). If the weapon isn't exotic, you also get proficiency with it, so this makes for a nice work-around for allowing monks to use enchantable gauntlets as a stand-in for their unarmed strikes.

    Versatile Combatant (Drow of the Underdark). This feat duplicates the effects of TWF when you attack with a rapier in one hand and a hand crossbow in the other, and also prevents you from provoking AoOs when you attack with the hand crossbow. And this makes perfect sense, of course, because everyone knows the best way to reload a crossbow is with a rapier...

    Weapon Supremacy (PHBII). This feat appears to be some sort of apology to the fighter class: a grab-bag of somewhat useful stuff that would have been a lot more helpful way before Fighter 18. While several of these benefits would be useful to a TWF fighter (notably the +5 to a single attack once per round and treat an attack roll as a '10' once per round), all this has the whiff of "too little too late". Still... if you managed to get all the way up to Fighter 18, might as well take it.

    Willing Deformity (Heroes of Horror). This feat allows you to take Deformities... but very few of them really help TWF, and the one that might (Teeth) requires a two-feat investment. It also requires you to be evil, which may not sit well with some groups. Since there are better ways to add reach or natural weapons, I don't really recommend deformities.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
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    Oct 2006
    Cleveland, OH

    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    c. Racial, Tactical, and Weapon Style feats:

    Anvil of Thunder (Complete Warrior). Save vs. daze is very nice... but FIVE prereqs? And WTF is Improved Sunder going to do for you? I can see this might work on a Dwarven Fighter 20 build with Oversize TWF + Power Attack, but I don't think anything else would have enough feat slots.

    Axespike (Races of Stone). When you make a full attack with your greataxe, this feat allows you to attack with your armor spikes as if they were an offhand weapon (-2 penalty, 1/2 Str bonus). In essence, this is TWF: Armor Spikes only, but it also begs the question... what if you already have TWF and are already attacking with armor spikes as your offhand weapon? By my reading, you get two offhand attacks with a -5 penalty. Other than the annoying Weapon Focus prereq, very nifty.

    Bear Fang (Complete Warrior). This feat gives you the equivalent of Improved Grab if you hit with both an axe and dagger in the same round. I have no idea why a TWFer would want to be in a grapple, though.

    Bestial Charge (Complete Champion). No prereq feats, but this tactical feat requires Wildshape... not only requires it, but the feat can only be used on the round after you use Wildshape to change forms. It offers three options: pounce, +5' reach, and one change of direction on a charge. Fortunately, they can all be used on the same charge attack. Unfortunately, once you're in an animal form without any hands, TWF is generally not available.

    Bladebearer of the Valenar (Player's Guide to Eberron/Races of Eberron). This feat is somewhat redundant (Valenar elves already treat the double scimitar as a martial weapon), but it has a few other perks: +1 damage, you can apply Weapon Focus/Specialization/Improved Critical to three different weapons, and you get some additional damage when you spend an action point. But the main reason to take this feat is to get into the Revenant Blade PrC, which is one of the best PrCs for TWF.

    Blood-Spiked Charger (PHBII). There's one marginally ueseful option here:"Spiked avalanche" allows you to attack with both armor spikes and a spiked shield on a charge using the TWF rules, and you get double your strength bonus on damage, but this isn't the same as Pounce (Ex), and the rest of the options are useless for TWF.

    Catfolk Pounce (Races of the Wild). Even if you didn't have to be catfolk to take this feat, it would still be lousy: you can full attack on a charge, but only against a flat-footed opponent.

    Clarion Commander (Tome of Battle). The stand-out here is "Perpetual Flank": spend a standard action to Intimidate an opponent, and if successful you must hit your opponent with a melee attack on your next turn. If you can pull this off, then you and your allies can treat that enemy as flanked for 1 minute (so... not exactly perpetual, but close enough for most combats). The tricky part here is Warblades and Crusaders aren't really the sneakiest Martial Adepts, although Martial Study/Martial Stance may be able to fix that. Unfortunately, there's no mention here if Perpetual Flank trumps Improved Uncanny Dodge or not. The other two options don't really do anything for TWF.

    Combat Cloak Expert (PHBII). Despite the historical evidence that cloaks were often used as an alternative to an offhand weapon, there is nothing all that useful here for TWF.

    Confound the Big Folk (Races of the Wild). This feat is one of the lynchpins in LogicNinja's I May Be Tiny, But You're Dead: the other, melee Killer Gnome build. After you use Underfoot Combat to move into your opponent's square, you can use "Knee Striker" to make your enemy flat-footed for all your attacks. With a good sneak attack build, this lets little people tear apart some very big creatures. However, I find the prereqs for both Underfoot Combat and Confound the Big Folk to be infuriating, as they both require 10 ranks of Tumble. This means you may not be able to get this combo working until 12th level.

    Crescent Moon (Complete Warrior). If you hit with your sword and dagger in the same round, you get a free disarm attempt... which gets you bupkis if your opponent never bothers to wield a weapon. If you want free disarm attempts, you're probably better off with EWP: Flind Bar (Monster Manual III). Or, you know, do it the old-fashioned way: kill your opponent, then take the weapon out of his cold dead fingers.

    Darguun Mauler (Races of Eberron). A goblin-only feat, similar to Bladebearer of the Valenar, that offers several benefits for using a flail-type weapon or a spiked chain. You treat the dire flail and spiked chain as martial weapons, you get +1 damage, can combine Weapon Focus/Specialization/Improved Critical with several weapons, and get additional damage when you spend an action point on an attack roll. Most goblins are small-sized, which bumps the damage on spiked chain down into "not worth it" territory, but on a medium-sized Bhuka (Sandstorm), this feat might be an acceptable upgrade from having to take EWP: Spiked Chain.

    Drow Scorpion Warrior (Secrets of Xen'drik). The only thing this tactical feat really offers TWF is "Rending Sting": If you hit with two different drow long knives on the same round, on the next round you get +1d4 additional damage with your drow long knives. "Deadly sting" may add some constitution damage if you manage to confirm a crit with a drow long knife, so that might be useful with a crit-hunter build, but if you're TWFing with long knives, then "Lunging Sting", which requires charging with a drow scorpion chain, would be completely useless. Overall, just not worth it.

    Drow Skirmisher (Races of Eberron/Secrets of Xen'drik). This is a racial feat, similar to Bladebearer of the Valenar, but for two drow-specifc weapons: the drow long knife (a shortsword that can be thrown with a 10' range increment) and the drow scorpion chain (variation on the spiked chain, only 1d6 damage but crits on 19-20). You get +1 on damage whenever you attack with either weapon and move more than 5' during the same round (somewhat useful for skirmish builds), you can swap around Weapon Focus/Specialization/Improved Critical with various weapons, and you get some bonus damage when you spend an action point on an attack roll. Unfortunately, there is no drow equivalent of Revenant Blade, and the unique drow weapons aren't interesting enough to warrant taking this feat.

    Eilservs School (Drow of the Underdark). If you're TWFing with a magical staff, this feat offers two interesting effects: first, you get +1 damage for each 10 charges in the staff (rounded up!), and second, if you hit with both ends of the staff in the same round, you can discharge a spell in the staff as a swift action. For the first effect, you don't even have to be a spellcaster, so a fully charged staff gives you +5 damage on all your attacks. The cheapest staves for this cost 13,500 GP: Staff of Oaken Battle (Complete Divine) and Staff of Tricks (Complete Mage). And don't worry if you have the wrong skin complexion to take this feat: being drow isn't part of the prereqs.

    Einhander (PHBII). Despite the name ("Einhander" is German for "one-handed"), clever TWFers may realize they can take this feat and use armor spikes or unarmed strikes as their offhand weapon... which would be great if this feat actually did anything useful or improved any kind of fighting, one-handed or otherwise. "Narrow profile" gives you a +2 dodge bonus when fighting defensively or using total defense, but using either of those options is generally synonymous with "I don't want to be playing D&D". "Off-hand balance" gives you a +2 bonus on Tumble checks to avoid AoOs, but that ceases to be useful once you can reliably hit a DC 15 Tumble check. "Off-hand swap" is kind of interesting, and gives you a feint attempt as a free action on your next turn if you hit an opponent at least twice, but it uses Sleight of Hand instead of Bluff (which stinks if your build was actually designed to use Bluff in combat) and can only be used once against an opponent regardless of whether it succeeds or fails.

    Elusive Target (Complete Warrior). You may consider this a consolation prize for being forced to take Dodge + Mobility to qualify for some other feat/PrC. While none of the options really help TWF directly, for once all of the options are actually *useful* (which may make Elusive Target unique among all the Tactical feats). "Negate Power Attack" does exactly what it says it does, and removes the most important source of extra damage from the whole THF/Ubercharger combo while sticking them with the penalties. If you ever get flanked, "Diverting Defense" automatically causes one of your flankers to attack the other one. "Cause Overreach" gives you free trip attempts whenever your movement triggers an AoO and your opponent misses, which can be quite handy Trip-focused builds.

    Faith Unswerving (Tome of Battle). The only option here TWFers might find useful is "Keep Up the Pressure": if you charge an opponent, and they move away from you before your next turn, you can move up to your speed as an immediate action to stay adjacent to them, allowing you to full attack them on your turn. However, if you already have Pounce (from Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian or something similar), then you don't really need this option, as you can just charge them again.

    Flying Tiger (Secrets of Sarlona). I'm not entirely sure how this feat is supposed to work. By hooking your two hook swords together, you turn both weapons into a reach weapon that can still attack adjacent squares... but if they are connected, does that mean you can still use one of them for offhand attacks? If so, do your offhand attacks have reach? It's a free action to connect or disconnect, so... yeah, every time you finish a primary or offhand attack, it's a free action to connect/disconnect, so you can continue to swap the two swords in and out of both hands whenever you want. And since your other hand is now free, regrip the hooked sword with two hands for Power Attack multipliers. And if that's not crazy enough for you, you can use Flurry of Blows with these things. Huh. You're going to need Oversize TWF to make the penalties manageable, EWP: Hooked Sword and Weapon Focus: Hooked Sword, but if you can fit all that in... I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    Gloom Razor (Tome of Battle). You may not have room for it, but if you're doing anything with Shadow Blade, see if you can work this feat in as well. All three options help you set up sneak attacks. If your opponent misses you due to concealment and you can beat his Spot check with a Hide check, "Lingering Gloom" gives you a non-magical greater invisibility effect until the end of your turn. If you deal damage to an opponent and move at least 10' on your turn (Pounce or Travel Devotion anyone?), "Moving Shadows" makes your opponent flat-footed for your first attack on your next turn. If you hit a flanked an opponent and he manages to step out of flanking, "Shadow Slip" lets you move around to any adjacent square as a free action with a DC 20 Tumble check.

    Hammer's Edge (Complete Warrior). If you hit a target with both your sword and hammer, make a Fort save or be knocked prone. Or, you know, just trip them and do the same thing without a Fort save. Why exactly does this require Improved Bull Rush?

    High Sword Low Axe (Complete Warrior). If you hit with both your sword and axe, you get a free trip attempt, and if the trip succeeds, you get a free attack via Improved Trip. You can get Improved Trip without Combat Expertise via Wolf Totem Barbarian 2, but then you need to shoehorn in two Weapon Focus feats, so... might be worth it, if you can fit in all the prereqs.

    Inlindl School (Drow of the Underdark). I'm not sure if anyone has ever actually tried this, but every so often someone suggests wielding two shields and just attack everything with shield bashes. Assuming the DM has clarified that shield bashes can be primary attacks as well as offhand attacks, this is possible, but unfortunately you can't add both shield bonuses to your AC, because shield bonuses don't stack with each other. However, there are a couple things you can do with that extra shield bonus to gain another benefit, and this feat is one of them: you can trade in your shield bonus to get an attack bonus with light weapons equal to 1/2 your shield bonus. The other thing you can do is make one shield out of Riverine (+4000 GP, Stormwrack p. 128), which means half of the shield bonus becomes a deflection bonus, which does stack with your other shield bonus. So... this feat should probably be red, but there may be an Agile Shield Fighter build out there that might find this useful.

    Jaws of Death (Races of Eberron). For warforged, an excellent no-fuss way to add another natural weapon to your attack routine.

    Lightning Mace (Complete Warrior). The biggest problem with this feat is that light maces are terrible for crit-hunting, since they only crit on a "20". The Impact property helps somewhat (+1 enhancement, Magic Item Compendium), but the most popular method of exploiting "crit = free attack" is by using the Aptitude property from Tome of Battle with two other weapons, usually Keen kukris for the better crit range. However, some DM's consider that abusive and ban it outright. If your DM is so inclined, then as far as style feats go, this one doesn't have a lot of onerous prereqs, and a free attack on a crit is still a free attack.

    Mror Stalwart (Races of Eberron). This is the dwarven version of Bladebearer of the Valenar, but unfortunately there is no dwarven equivalent of Revenant Blade. Even worse, you don't get the +1 damage if you move at all (even a 5' step), which makes this nearly useless for TWF. You can still mix/match Weapon Focus/Specialization/Improved Critical with favored dwarven weapons, and you get a damage bonus when you spend an action point on an attack, but it's just not worth it.

    Net and Trident (Complete Warrior). Normally, this feat would be red along with most of the other style feats, but there's a quirky little combo in here that can be used to trigger skirmish damage on a Swift Hunter build. But it's complicated. First, take a 5' step to put yourself at least 5' away from your opponent (and hope he doesn't have reach). Second, throw your net (you'll probably need Quickdraw or lots of Least Crystals of Return for this) and win an opposed Str check to control your opponent's movement. Third, drop the net, pull out another trident (Quickdraw + Oversize TWF), take a free 5' step towards your opponent, and full attack with both tridents. Next round, drop your offhand trident (or stow it in a Glove of the Master Strategist as a free action), rinse & repeat. See "Section V: A Show of Hands" for a sample build that uses this strategy.

    Quick Staff (Complete Warrior). I'm not a big fan of Combat Expertise: it makes combat last longer, and gives your opponent more time to finally land a crit. That being said, if you can combine this feat with the longstaff from Complete Adventurer, then dumping two BAB into Combat Expertise may be worth it: you get an additional +2 dodge bonus, and you're immune to flanking for the round. Unfortunately, it still has too many useless prereqs.

    Reaping Talons (Tome of Battle). While all the options here require TWF with Tiger Claw weapons, only "Cornered Predator" stands out as a "must have": On the round after you hit an opponent with two Tiger Claw weapons (which, if you're doing TWF right should be almost every round), you get a +2 attack bonus against that opponent for every enemy that threatens you. So if your opponent is still standing there, then that's at least one easy +2 attack bonus. "Focused Assault" is sort of a mini-Whirlwind Attack, but you have to fight defensively/total defense/use Combat Expertise to set it up, and you have to hope your DM surrounds you with lots of enemies that are dumb enough to attack you and then stay adjacent to you. If you hit an opponent with two Tiger Claw weapons and fight defensively/total defense on your next turn, "Talon Shield" gives you a +2 shield bonus to AC.

    Second Slam (Races of Eberron). Not quite as elegantly simple as Jaws of Death, but another good way to add another natural weapon attack to a Warforged. However, it begs the question... does a second slam incur the "One Slam Good, Two Slams Bad" rule? No. The text says you get the second slam whenever you get a slam as part of a full attack, so if your hands are occupied, and you still get a single slam, you get the second slam with a -5 penalty. Oddly, however, this second slam is not identified as a secondary attack, so it's not clear what the Str bonus on damage should be. Since the text says it gets your "normal slam damage", in this case I'd just follow what the first slam gets: if it's a primary attack, you get full Str bonus, and if it's secondary, you get 1/2 Str bonus.

    Shadow Marches Warmonger (Races of Eberron). This is the orc version of Bladebearer of the Valenar, and offers similar effects: +1 to damage, mix/match Weapon Focus/Specialization/Improved Critical for various axes, and additional damage when you spend an action point on an attack roll. For an orc/half-orc looking to TWF with an orc double axe, this is probably an improvement over just taking Exotic Weapon Proficiency. However, I cannot forgive the travesty of forgetting about the orc shotput as a racial weapon.

    Shards of Granite (Tome of Battle). Stone Dragon tends to favor two-handed weapons, but heavy mace and unarmed strike are pretty TWF-friendly. "Battering Smash" lets you ignore hardness on your target if you take at least a -5 penalty on Stone Power. This may be useful for destroying/sundering objects, which Mountain Hammer kinda does already, but this option can be used with a full attack if you can stomach the -5 attack penalty. "Eviscerating Strike" gives you a bonus on confirming criticals if you're using Stone Power. "Unstoppable Onslaught" lets you ignore DR if you're attacking with a Stone Dragon weapon and taking a -5 penalty with Stone Power, which may solve a lot of your DR problems if you can still hit with the -5 penalty.

    Shield of Blades (Player's Guide to Eberron). *Five* feats are required to get an additional +1 AC bonus when using Combat Expertise? WTF?

    Shielded Axe (Races of Stone). This feat is similar to Improved Buckler Defense, allowing you to keep that all-important +1 shield bonus to AC, but only when attacking with a dwarven waraxe in your primary hand and a handaxe in your offhand. The other thing it does is it gets rid of that annoying -1 attack penalty when wearing a buckler and attacking with that arm. The nice thing about it is the way the feat is worded, you get rid of that -1 attack penalty even if you're not attacking with a dwarven waraxe/handaxe combo, which would be fantastic if it didn't cost an entire feat to get rid of that annoying little penalty.

    Shock Trooper (Complete Warrior). This is a staple in many Ubercharger builds, but not so useful to TWF unless you're actually mixing Ubercharging with TWF (hey, Fighter 20's got to put all those bonus feats somewhere, right?) "Heedless Charge" allows you to dump your Power Attack penalty into your AC, which means if you don't kill whatever you're charging, you're probably going to be in a world of hurt. "Directed Bull Rush" and "Domino Rush" don't really help TWF, since you'd probably much rather prefer your opponent stay right next to you where you can hit him with all those attacks. Unless you're trying to Dungeoncrash your opponents into a wall/floor, you can skip this one.

    Spellrazor (Races of Stone). This feat allows you to combine a touch attack with an offhand gnome quickrazor attack, which I suppose might be a nice feature for a gish, depending on the spell, but I'm having a hard time imagining an entire TWF build based on this style. More importantly, it locks you into one touch attack + one offhand attack, so if your full attack routine has multiple iterative and offhand attacks, why would you bother?

    Spinning Halberd (Complete Warrior). When combined with armor spikes or unarmed strike as an offhand weapon, this feat becomes one of the most potent weapon styles: +1 dodge bonus to AC, and an extra attack at a -5 penalty. Essentially, this turns a halberd into a double weapon... only it doesn't. You still get your normal complement of offhand attacks. Another odd quirk: you don't have to enchant the "haft" end of the halberd separately. Near as I can tell, if the halberd has an enchantment, it works just as well on the "extra" attack as it does with your primary attacks (although you might want to clear this with your DM first). I'm a little disappointed that the designers didn't consider the halberd a reach weapon, but at least you get a tripping bonus. Only three prereq feats is nice to see, compared to some of the other style feats, and if you were going to pick up Double Hit later, you needed Combat Reflexes anyway.

    Steal and Strike (Drow of the Underdark). If you successfully disarm your opponent with your rapier, you get a free attack with your kukri. *yawn*. The five prereq feats don't help much, either.

    Stone Breaker (Secrets of Sarlona). This feat gives you some rending damage when you hit with two picks in the same round. Unfortunately, it requires four prereq feats, one of which is Improved Sunder (again, why?) and another is Power Attack, which is difficult to use in TWF without Oversize TWF. Even worse, the feat requires a swift action to rend, which annoys me. You may need that swift action for something else, like Travel Devotion or a boost/counter.

    Stormguard Warrior (Tome of Battle). This tactical feat can be very difficult to pull off, but can result in some mind-blowing attack routines. You need enough feats to get Ironheart Aura, Stormguard Warrior, Combat Reflexes, and all the TWF feats on the same build. Then there are two options to buff your damage output: "Channel the Storm", where you coax/goad your opponent into triggering AoOs against you (via Robilar's Gambit or Karmic Strike, if need be), and then you can choose not to attack. On your next turn, each AoO you gave up becomes a +4 bonus on attacks and damage on that opponent. If your opponent is too smart to risk any AoOs, then you can try "Combat Rhythm" instead: on your turn, make touch attacks that do no damage instead of your normal attacks. On your next turn, you unload your "real" attacks, and get +5 on damage for each successful touch attack from your last turn. This is a great way to blow through lots of Damage Reduction. Even better, you can use White Raven Tactics to load up on touch attacks on your first turn, and then take a second turn immediately after your first. So, complicated setup, but pretty impressive when you finally pull it off.

    Talenta Warrior (Races of Eberron). This is the halfling version of Bladebearer of the Valenar, but with Talenta weapons: sharrash, tangat, and boomerang. The weapon familiarity is already redundant for halflings from the Talenta region. As with the other racial weapon feats, you get +1 on damage, but only while mounted, which is disappointing until you remember that "mounted" in this case means riding a dinosaur, which is of course awesome. You can also mix/match your Weapon Focus/Specialization/Improved Critical, and you get some bonus damage when you spend an action point on an attack roll. The sharrash is a pole-armish scythe thing with reach, and initially had a 19-20/x4 crit range, but errata knocked this down to 19-20/x2 (and I checked... this was not reprinted in another Eberron book after the errata with the 19-20/x4 crit multiplier restored). The tangat sounds like some kind of oversized scimitar or falchion. And the Talenta boomerang is somewhat infamous for the Boomerang Daze feat (and rightly so), but not of immediate interest for TWF purposes. Riding around on dinosaurs is indisputably awesome, but unfortunately the borked mounted combat rules don't mix well with TWF.

    Three Mountains (Complete Warrior). It looks like this feat is geared more towards two-handed fighting, but you can still work a heavy mace or morningstar into TWF, particularly with Oversize TWF (Complete Adventurer). Even a greatclub will work, if you use unarmed strike or armor spikes as your offhand weapon. If you hit a creature twice with a heavy mace, morningstar, or greatclub (the text doesn't say it has to be the same weapon, so you can use two), the target has to make a Fort save vs. nausea, which as far as status conditions go is one of the nastier ones (can only take a single move action per turn). The biggest drawback for TWFers is four prereq feats that don't involve TWF, so this feat only makes sense for Fighter 20ish builds that are drowning in fighter bonus feats.

    Tormtor School (Drow of the Underdark). This feat was designed to let you stab people with a javelin and then throw the javelin at another target within 30' as a swift action. However, since javelins are not designed to be melee weapons and normally incur a -4 improvised weapon penalty, the designers included this little gem: "You take no penalty when making a melee attack with a javelin." So... welcome to the ULTIMATE TWF feat! By RAW, the text doesn't specify which penalty, so it applies to all penalties: improvised, weapon size, TWF, Power Attack, Combat Expertise, Str penalty, fighting defensively, etc.

    Wind and Fire (Secrets of Sarlona). Every time you hit a creature with both cutting wheels in the same round, they take 1 point of bleeding damage every round until they get a DC 15 Heal check. The really nifty part is this damage is cumulative, so if you manage to do this three rounds in row, they take 3 bleeding damage every round. It's not quite ability damage, but the cutting wheel is pretty decent for a light exotic melee weapon (1d6, 19-20/x2, piercing and slashing), and you can flurry with it.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    5. Simple & Martial Weapons

    a. Simple Light Weapons

    Gauntlet. Your character may already be armed with this weapon and not even realize it, as every medium or heavy suit of armor except breastplates comes equipped with gauntlets. Gauntlets let you deal lethal damage when you attack with an unarmed strike. Unfortunately, unless you have Improved Unarmed Strike or are using a spiked gauntlet (which no longer counts as an unarmed attack), you don't threaten with a gauntlet and you will provoke an AoO if you try to attack an armed opponent with it. As with unarmed strikes, the rules are particularly murky with regards to whether gauntlets count as manufactured or natural weapons, how do they interact with feats that use unarmed strike, how do they work with the monk's class features, and so forth. Many people suggest using gauntlets to the "can't enchant your fists" problem that many monks run into. However, there are two RAW issues with this: 1) monks are not proficient with simple weapons, including gauntlets, and 2) gauntlets are not a special monk weapon, and can't be used in a Flurry of Blows. However, the Unorthodox Flurry feat (Dragon Compendium) will solve both problems. If you're just looking for a simple offhand weapon that can be used with two-handed weapon, then consider using a spiked gauntlet or taking Improved Unarmed Strike instead.

    Unarmed Strike. You need to take Improved Unarmed Strike to use this properly, but if you're willing to pick up the feat, then an unarmed strike has some unique features as an offhand weapon: it's always considered light, you can attack with it even if your hands are full, and it also works with Power Attack. Unfortunately, unarmed attacks have a lot of oddball rules and wonky corner cases where it's not entirely clear if they work like manufactured weapons or natural weapons. See Section I.4.a. above for a more in-depth discussion of how unarmed strikes work with TWF. It should also be noted that a monk's unarmed strike works a little differently than a non-monk's: a monk can switch between unarmed strikes and special monk weapons when making a Flurry of Blows, and a monk's unarmed strike should always get full Str bonus on damage, even when it's used as an offhand weapon. If you don't have room for taking Improved Unarmed Strike as a feat, it's also easy to add this with a magic item: Bracers of Striking (1310 GP, Magic of Faerun), Ring of Might (4000 GP, Magic of Faerun), or Fanged Ring (10000 GP, Dragon Magic) can grant it. In general, you want to avoid dipping Monk to pick up Improved Unarmed Strike, unless you're trying to squeeze in a few bonus feats (check out the Variant Fighting Styles in Unearthed Arcana: Cobra Strike lets you grab Dodge/Mobility, and Overwhelming Attack lets you grab Power Attack/Improved Bull Rush). If you want to grab a monk-like Improved Unarmed Strike without taking levels of monk, consider dipping Battle Dancer (Dragon Compendium) or Fist of the Forest (Complete Champion). Improved Natural Attack, Superior Unarmed Strike, Shape Soulmeld: Totem Avatar + Open Lesser Chakra: Shoulders, Monk's Belt, Bones of Li-Peng (Weapons of Legacy), and spells like greater mighty wallop can be used to increase lackluster base damage. If you're having trouble enchanting your unarmed strikes, check out the Bracers of Striking (1310 GP, Magic of Faerun), Wyrmfang Amulet (1350 GP, Magic Item Compendium), Necklace of Natural Weapons (2600+ GP, Savage Species/online article), Scorpion Kama (6302 GP, Magic Item Compendium), or Dragonfang Gauntlets (8610 GP, Magic Item Compendium).

    Dagger. Ah yes, the ubiquitous dagger... While some may sneer at the 1d4 damage as too low, this is one of the most versatile of the simple weapons. It has the best crit range of the simple weapons, it can do either piercing or slashing, it has a range increment so it can be thrown, and you have to try really, really hard to not be proficient with it. There are some PrCs and class features that explicitly require daggers, such as Daggerspell Mage/Shaper, and it's the only manufactured weapon that can be combined with the Shadow Blade feat and the Bloodclaw Master PrC (although unarmed strike will also work there). If you're doing TWF properly with some decent bonus damage, the low 1d4 base damage will become less important as you level up. All in all, daggers are one of the best options if you're trying to TWF with one of the squishier base classes and don't have martial weapon proficiencies.

    Spiked Gauntlet. Adding spikes to a gauntlet means it no longer counts as an unarmed strike, but you can now threaten with it and are considered armed, so it doesn't provoke like an un-improved unarmed strike or un-spiked gauntlet. If you're just looking for a simple light offhand weapon, then the dagger is more versatile and the light mace or sickle do more damage, but the spiked gauntlet offers a unique advantage: you can grip a two-handed weapon or a polearm with reach, and still threaten adjacent squares or let go/re-grip of your weapon to make offhand attacks. Actually, that last one isn't entirely clear by the rules, but if you can take your hand off of a longbow to draw ammunition as a free action, you should be able to take a hand off to smack an opponent that tries to get inside your reach.

    Light Mace. There's only one interesting thing about this weapon, and that's the Lightning Mace weapon style feat, which gives you an extra attack whenever you hit with a light mace and threaten a critical. However, if you're using Lightning Mace properly, you use the Aptitude property (+1 enhancement, Tome of Battle) on a pair of weapons with a high crit range, so you don't actually use light maces for anything interesting. Without access to the Aptitude property (and some DMs ban this use of Aptitude as "too cheesy" even if they allow Tome of Battle), light maces only threaten a crit on a natural 20, so it might not be worth it. Then again, as far as weapon style feats go, it has only three somewhat TWF-friendly prereq feats, and a free attack on a natural 20 is still a free attack.

    Sickle. This is a decent option for Druid 20 builds that want to TWF but have a very limited selection of weapon proficiencies. Or maybe you may need a simple 1d6 offhand slashing weapon for something like Dervish or Snowflake Wardance. It does slightly better damage than a dagger, but isn't quite as versatile. If you're looking for a simple one-handed slashing weapon for your primary attack, you might want to check out the Heavy Sickle in the Planar Handbook (see below).

    Muspelrule (Planar Handbook). Sort of a mix between a light mace and a dagger... 1d4 damage and 19-20 crit range, but does bludgeoning damage. Not really worth the bother, unless you absolutely have to have bludgeoning damage for some reason, in which case a light mace works just as well.

    Poison Ring (Dragon Compendium). This ring is designed to deliver poison, so there are some additional rules for how you deploy the needle. But here's the thing... it only does 1 point of damage, but attacking with it is a touch attack. And once the needle is out, there aren't any disadvantages to always wearing the ring that way. Which is a bit bonkers if you load it up with a whole bunch of precision damage, weapon enhancements, or spell effects. Even if you don't use it as a cheapshot touch attack, you can still enchant it with useful enhancements like Eager or Wary that might clutter up your other weapons. So... be careful with this one. You'll want to clear it with your DM before you try to use one of these.

    Steel Flute (Secrets of Sarlona). This can be used as a lightweight club, but it's most notable feature is it doesn't look like a weapon, so you may be able to sneak it past guards or into secure locations with strict anti-weapon policies. That and Jethro Tull apparently used one to completely rob Metallica of a Grammy Award once, so it has that going for it.

    b. Simple One-Handed Weapons

    Club. Well, you can't argue with the price. You can also cast shillelagh on it. But other than that, you're probably better off with a morningstar.

    Heavy Mace. The only thing this weapon has going for it is you can use it with the Three Mountains weapons style feat, but the morninstar has it beat on price and weight.

    Javelin. This isn't designed to be used in melee, so it incurs a -4 improvised weapon penalty if you try to stab someone with it instead of throwing it. However, if you take the Tormtor School [Style] feat (Drow of the Underdark): "You take no penalty when making a melee attack with a javelin." If we go by strict RAW... that means we can ignore *any* penalty. So you could get all your primary/offhand TWF attacks at your full BAB. Or throw in Power Attack (they count as one-handed weapons). Combat Expertise. Low Str score. Weapon size. Fighting defensively. And so on.

    Morningstar. One of the best "backup" weapons in the game: you can grip it one-handed or two-handed, it does both bludgeoning and piercing damage (useful for bypassing some commonly encountered Damage Reductions, such as skeletons), and it's one of the three weapons you can use with the Three Mountains weapon style feat, which allows you to add a save vs. nausea to your melee attacks. You can take Melee Weapon Mastery for this as either a bludgeoning or piercing weapon, but unfortunately according to the PHBII errata you can't take Melee Weapon Mastery twice for the same weapon.

    Shortspear. The most disappointing of all the spears, because it doesn't really do anything that some other simple weapon already does better.

    Heavy Sickle. (Planar Handbook). Despite being a larger version of one of the most iconic druid weapons, druids aren't proficient with the heavy sickle, although I would imagine most DMs would handwave it as a druid weapon if you asked nicely. It's also the only simple one-handed slashing weapon in print, if you need something like that for Dervish, Snowflake Wardance, whirling blade, or whatnot.

    c. Simple Two-Handed Weapons.

    Longspear. The only simple reach weapon in the PHB. It pairs up well with a spiked gauntlet or Improved Unarmed Strike for TWF, but if you have access to martial reach weapons, then you're probably better off with a glaive or guisarme.

    Quarterstaff. If you're going to use a double weapon, then this is the best, most versatile double weapon to use with TWF. In particular, if you want to gish things up as a spellcaster, then don't even bother with all that fancy exotic garbage. You can let one hand go to draw spell components or make somatic gestures, you can grip it with both hands when you need a two-handed smackdown, you can put a Wand Chamber (100 GP, Dungeonscape) in each end for swift-action buffs, and, of course, it's a walking stick. You can even spend 300 GP for an Elvencraft Longbow (Races of the Wild) to treat your longbow as a quarterstaff, allowing you to switch effortlessly between ranged and melee attacks. Throw on Eilservs School (Drow of the Underdark, no spellcasting or dark skin necessary) and a fully-charged staff gets you +5 damage on all your attacks, which may take the sting out of the slight damage increase you might have gotten for blowing a feat on Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Chainsaw-Chucks.

    Spear. If you're a druid looking to stab your opponents with something that does more than 1d6 damage, then this is your only option without multiclassing into something with better weapon proficiencies. It doesn't work particularly well with TWF because it takes two hands to wield, so your offhand attack will need to be something like a spiked gauntlet, armor spikes, or Improved Unarmed Strike. If you need a two-handed weapon that does 1d8 damage, then you're probably better off swinging a morningstar with a two-handed grip. The spear's 20' range increment adds the possibility of a ranged attack, but generally at the cost of depriving you of your primary weapon.

    Fauchard (Dragon Compendium). There are undoubtedly some people who could rant on and on for several hundred pages about how the history, development, and usage of the fauchard was extremely different from that of the longspear, but... from a mechanical standpoint, this simple polearm is nearly identical to a longspear, except it does slashing damage.

    d. Martial Light Weapons

    Cutlass (Stormwrack). This is the slashing equivalent of a shortsword. The Straightblade (Planar Handbook p. 69) has the same properties.

    Gehennan Lancet (Planar Handbook). An excellent offhand martial weapon for crit-fishing, as it's almost identical to the kukri, but it does piercing damage and has a slightly cooler name. If you need a slashing weapon (for Dervish or Snowflake Wardance), then stick with the kukri.

    Kukri. This is your best offhand martial weapon for crit-fishing. I like to throw Pitspawned (+1000 GP, DMGII) on these for the +2 bonus to confirm criticals. If you need something with the same crit range but does piercing damage (for Duelist or Dive Attacks), try the Gehennan Lancet (Planar Handbook) instead.

    Light Spiked Shield. A light shield doesn't really make a better offhand weapon than a dagger or shortsword unless you've got a spare feat slot to pick up Improved Shield Bash. However, there are better uses for a feat than getting a +1 shield bonus to AC, not to mention "Sword & Board" is the top contender for the worst fighting style in 3rd edition. Even so, if you have room for at least Improved Shield Bash, then you can take advantage of various shield enhancements, such as Death Ward (+1 enhancement, MIC) or Lesser Crystal of Arrow Deflection (2500 GP, MIC). Note that as a piercing weapon, you can add another Augment Crystal (MIC), add a Wand Chamber (100 GP, Dungeonscape), or enchant it with other weapon properties. If you need a slashing shield (for Snowflake Wardance or Dervish), check out the Razored Shield in the FR Underdark book.

    Shortsword. Overall, this is the best, most versatile offhand martial weapon. By the simple fact it's your offhand weapon, it's not going to get as many attacks as your primary weapon, so there's really no need to go overboard with Exotic Weapon Proficiency or dig through obscure sourcebooks to find that bizarre little carrot-peeler-thingy with the footnote in tiny print that lets you make an extra attack whenever you hop on one leg and make a Disguise DC 15 check to impersonate a dire flamingo. Speaking of weapons hidden in obscure sourcebooks... if you need a light slashing weapon with the same stats as a shortsword, check out the Straightblade (Planar Handbook p. 69) or the Cutlass (Stormwrack p. 107).

    Stabaxe (Planar Handbook). This weapon is functionally identical to the handaxe, except it does piercing instead of slashing damage. If you need an offhand piercing weapon (for Duelist or Diving Attacks), this might be worth a look, but a shortsword performs just as well and is easier to find without wandering around on Acheron.

    Straightblade (Planar Handbook). This is the slashing equivalent of a shortsword. The Cutlass (Stormwrack p. 107) has the same properties.

    e. Martial One-Handed Weapons

    Heavy Spiked Shield. As mentioned previously with the light shield, Sword & Board does not get a lot of love in 3rd edition. However, since a heavy shield is treated as a one-handed weapon, this offers some interesting possibilities for a TWF build. Most notably, if you take the Oversize TWF or Agile Shield Fighter feat, you can Power Attack with it for extra damage. As with the light version, if you need a heavy shield that slashes, check out the Razored Shield in the FR Underdark book.

    Longsword. This is a classic, solid performer. It's also the most commonly encountered magic weapon in both published modules and random treasure tables. The biggest drawback is it's the traditional favorite for the stabby part of "Sword & Board", which is generally considered the weakest combat style in 3rd edition. However, there are several TWF-friendly feats that can help salvage Sword & Board a little bit, if you've got room for feats like Improved Shield Bash, Shield Specialization, and Agile Shield Fighter.

    Rapier. This is a popular weapon for high-Dex builds, Crit-Fishers, and many sneak-attackers. Pair it up with a kukri or shortsword, add Weapon Finesse and you're all set to really swash some buckles. There are a couple things I want to call attention to, though. First, although the text says you cannot grip it with two hands and get x1.5 Str bonus on damage, you do still get Power Attack damage, and you can grip it with two hands and get x2 Power Attack damage, if you're into that sort of thing. Second, there's a completely terrible feat in Ghostwalk called Dancing Blade that gives you an untyped +1 attack bonus when you full attack with a rapier. So you could take Weapon Focus + Dancing Blade + Oversize TWF and eliminate the -2/-2 TWF penalties if you wanted to attack with two rapiers.

    Scimitar. Ah yes... a favorite weapon for druids, Dervishes, and all those drow ranger clones. If you're not bothering with Weapon Finesse, then a scimitar/kukri combo is one of the best weapons layout for Crit-Fishers. Performance-wise, the scimitar is very similar to the rapier, but there are several differences: it's not finessable, it does slashing instead of piercing damage, and it has no clause about x1.5 Str damage when gripping it with two hands. The finessable problem can be fixed with a dip into Dervish (Complete Warrior) or by adding the Feycraft property (+1500 GP, DMGII), although in the latter case this makes it almost functionally equivalent to a kukri. If you're looking to dual-wield a pair of scimitars, the Oversize TWF feat works well here, although EWP: Dragonsplits (MMIV) might be worth a look.

    Trident. There's not much a trident can do that can't be more easily done with a longsword or morningstar... except the trident can be thrown as a ranged weapon, and you can use it with the Net and Trident [Style] feat (Complete Warrior). However, TWFing with Net and Trident [Style] is somewhat complicated, as you need Quickdraw and Oversize TWF to do it properly, but there's a sample Swift Hunter build in Section V-3.f if you want to try it out.

    f. Martial Two-Handed Weapons

    Duom. This is a spear with two more backward-pointing spearheads for those moments when you're already stabbing someone in front of you but really want to stab someone else standing nearby at the same time. The duom was first published in Sword & Fist and the Arms & Equipment Guide as an exotic polearm, but then the Dragon Compendium published it as a two-handed martial weapon. So if we go by publishing date, the Dragon Compendium takes precedence and this is a martial weapon. The other important thing to know about the duom is it's the only martial reach weapon that you can also use to attack adjacent opponents. There is a -2 penalty for this, but due to the wording in the weapon description, this only applies to the second adjacent opponent you attack during the round. If you are attacking one single adjacent opponent, or even two opponents but only one is adjacent, then there is no -2 penalty. While this may make the duom an ideal martial substitute for the exotic spiked chain, the designer unfortunately forgot to include anything in the weapon description saying you can trip with it (although a reasonable DM might handwave this oversight).

    Falchion. This is everybody's favorite two-handed weapon for crit-fishing... but I find the average damage on 2d4 to be disappointing. However, the base damage on a two-handed weapon tends to be more of an afterthought once you factor in the Str bonus and Power Attack damage, so if you need an 18-20 crit range without going into exotics, then the falchion is a good place to start.

    Glaive. The PHB does a bad job describing what this weapon is, but it's essentially what you get when you mount a single-edged curved blade (similar to a scimitar) on a long pole. The x3 crit multiplier looks similar to a battleaxe, although you're just as likely to stab with it as slash with it. Of the four pole-arms in the PHB with reach, the glaive has a slightly better average damage (5.5) than the guisarme or ranseur (5). If you're looking to TWF with a reach weapon and can't or don't want to spend a feat on EWP: Spiked Chain, then pairing up the glaive with a spiked gauntlet, armor spikes, or unarmed strike is probably your best option. If you're doing anything with tripping, then use a guisarme instead.

    Greataxe. A perfectly serviceable two-handed weapon, but it gets outperformed by the greatsword. However, it's also a preferred weapon for the Tiger Claw discipline (Tome of Battle), and you *can* TWF with a greataxe as your primary weapon and an unarmed strike as your offhand weapon, which means you can take advantage of the Superior Two-Weapon Fighting (Ex) ability from Bloodclaw Master.

    Greatclub. This big ol' hunka wood doesn't offer much for TWF, although greatclub + unarmed strike/armor spikes might be a viable combo for the Three Mountains [Style] feat. I'd also like to mention cupkeyk's "Not called a GREAT Club for nothing" build, which doesn't involve TWF, but could be reworked to include it.

    Greatsword. From a performance standpoint, this is the best two-handed weapon in the game, mostly because the average damage on 2d6 (7) slightly edges out the average damage on 1d12 (6.5). When in doubt, grab a greatsword.

    Guisarme. If you want to combine a reach weapon with tripping, but can't spare the feat for (or put up with the silliness of) EWP: Spiked Chain, then the guisarme is your weapon of choice. If you want a reach weapon but don't care about tripping, then grab a glaive instead.

    Halberd. The original version of the "Swiss Army Knife", the halberd was designed to do everything you could possibly want to do with a pole-arm: slash, stab and trip. However, many players think the designers gave it a hosejob by not making it a reach weapon... although from a historical standpoint, the typical halberd was only 5' to 6' long, so the designers may have gotten this one right. For TWF purposes, the halberd is still edged out a bit by the greatsword if you're just looking at damage, but the halberd offers a lot more utility: two different damage types, you can trip with it, and you can set it against a charge. There are also two feats that allow you to get an additional attack with the haft end of the halberd: Spinning Halberd [Style] (Complete Warrior) and Haft Strike (Dragon Compendium). Although both of these feats require TWF, for some odd reason neither of these extra attacks is considered an offhand attack, so you can also add armor spikes or unarmed strikes to your full attack as an offhand weapon. If your halberd is enchanted, it's not clear if these extra haft strikes gain the same benefits as the sharp end (Haft Strike says no but it still counts as a magic weapon, Spinning Halberd says nothing at all about enchantments), so you'll want to talk that over with your DM to straighten that out.

    Lance. Normally, a two-handed reach weapon with only 1d8 damage is not something you'd consider for TWF, but the PHB description contains this wonderful little sentence: "While mounted, you can wield a lance with one hand." This means if we go by strict RAW, you can wield two lances while mounted. Add Oversize TWF, and your penalties are only -2/-2. Now just give those two lances to a centaur mounted on another huge centaur with lances, and... what? Why are you looking at me like that?

    Ripper. The description says this is supposed to be a short-hafted spear, but as far as properties go it's almost identical to a greatsword, except it does piercing damage.

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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.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    7. Equipment & Other Weapon Upgrades

    a. Equipment

    {WIP} For now, consult with Shax.

    8. Weapon Properties & Enhancements

    For a complete comprehensive list and ranking of all the possible weapon special abilities, see this thread. Rather than repeat all that, I'll list the properties that work well with TWF. Some general advice:

    • Focus on bonus damage first, and look for damage that gets applied to every hit, rather than a subset of creatures with a particular type/alignment/descriptor.
    • After bonus damage, look for trigger effects/conditions that don't have saves or that stack with multiple hits.
    • Avoid special abilities that only trigger on a critical (unless you have a dedicated Crit-Fisher build... but even then, get used to disappointment).
    • Avoid anything that has limited uses per day.
    • When in doubt, get Corrosive, Shock, Frost, and Flaming, preferably in that order. After that, consider adding Desiccating, Psychokinetic, Screaming, and/or Merciful.

    Aptitude (+1, Tome of Battle). This is a sore spot for some DMs, who sometimes ban it outright or restrict it to certain feats/weapons. Put this on a pair of keen kukris and combine it with the Lightning Mace [style] feat, and you get an extra attack whenever you threaten a critical. That may be the best (or worst) example, but some people also use it to open up the Shadow Blade feat to more weapons. So... be careful with this one, and make sure you clear it with the DM before focusing your build around it.

    Blessed (+1, Book of Exalted Deeds, Magic Item Compendium). Weapon damage counts as [good] for bypassing Damage Reduction, but that's not why we're here: critical threats against [evil] creatures are automatically confirmed. The downside is you can't combine this with any other effect that triggers on a critical. That and there's no guarantee that every creature you want to attack is going to be [evil].

    Collision (+2, MIC). This property is highly recommended for bonus damage, particularly if you're doing anything with charging or Power Attack. Although you could get +2d6 energy damage for the same +2 enhancement (7 average damage), the +5 untyped bonus from Collision is a static modifier and thus can be included with various multipliers (crits, Leap Attack, Valorous, etc.).

    Desiccating (+1, MIC). Once you've got the four top-tier energy damage types covered ([acid], [electricity], [cold], and [fire]), the next tier drops the damage down to 1d4 but you're much less likely to run into resistance or immunity. If you want to go by rarity, Desiccating should be next, followed by Psychokinetic and Screaming.

    Diseased (+1, Unapproachable East). The good: filth fever inflicts 1d3 Dex damage and 1d3 Con damage. The bad: DC 12 Fort save is very low, and multiple hits do not stack.

    Enfeebling (+1, Book of Exalted Deeds). Unlike Paralyzing, this property didn't get nerfed in the MIC, so that means it's still awesome. If you want an effect that triggers on a critical, always start with this one, because there's no save and the 1d6+2 Strength damage stacks with multiple hits.

    Flaming (+1, DMG). A popular classic and fantasy staple, but since the [fire] subtype and fire resistance is encountered more often than any other energy type, you're better off getting Corrosive, Shocking, and Frost properties first. Spells like blades of fire and burning sword (Spell Compendium) offer a similar effect.

    Frost (+1, DMG). Same with Flaming, a popular classic, and the [cold] subtype/cold resistance is not quite as common as [fire] subtype/fire resistance. If you have a choice, though, start with Corrosive and Shocking first. You can also get the Frost property via the frost weapon spell (Frostburn) or Gloves of the Uldra Savant (3100 GP, Magic Item Compendium).

    Ghost Touch (+1, DMG). The low odds of this property being useful are usually offset by how thoroughly screwed you tend to be when you don't have it, as anything incorporeal tends to have negative energy/level drain effects that necessitate a quick kill or a quick retreat. However, there are several cheaper methods to get this property on your weapon: Ghostblight (100 GP, Complete Adventurer), Ghostoil (50 GP, Libris Mortis), or Ghost Touch Oil (500 GP, Expedition to Castle Ravenloft). If you have at least 1 hour to prep, Ghostwall Shellac (150 GP, Dungeonscape) can be used to coat all your weapons and armor, and lasts 4d6 hours. There's also rules in the Ghostwalker campaign book for making weapons out of ectoplasm for an additional 5 GP per pound, but it also requires periodically applying ectoplasmic stabilizer to keep it from dissipating. It may be possible to extend the duration to a year by applying Unguent of Timelessness (DMG), but it's not clear if the ectoplasm created by ghosts counts as "once alive". There are also several magic items that add the Ghost Touch property: Lesser Truedeath Crystal (5000 GP, MIC), Ghost Shroud (5000 GP, MIC), and Gauntlets of Ghost Fighting (4000 GP, MIC). If you're doing anything with archery, an Elvencraft longbow (+300 GP, Races of the Wild) made out of serren (+4000 GP, Book of Exalted Deeds p. 38) used as a quarterstaff should arguably confer the Ghost Touch property to its melee attacks as well.

    Impact (+1, MIC). This is Keen for bludgeoning weapons, and as with Keen (see below), there's an argument that spending gold on this ability is better than spending a feat on Improved Critical. However, most bludgeoning weapons tend to be simple weapons with smaller crit ranges and higher crit multipliers. There's probably a Math argument that doubling the crit range on a higher multiplier works out the same as on a kukri or scimitar, but it feels like Impact on a weapon that only threatens on a 20 is a bit of a waste.

    Keen (+1, DMG). This is one of the more popular properties, particularly as conventional wisdom often advises against taking a feat (Improved Critical) that can be purchased instead via GP. On the other hand, Improved Critical still works if your weapon is disarmed, dispelled, lost, broken, disjuncted, or traded in for a more powerful non-Keen weapon. If your DM is stingy with gold/magic items, then it makes more sense to invest limited resources into bonus damage that works on every hit instead of something that only works on a smaller number of hits. Another perk of Improved Critical is you don't have to buy it twice if you're wielding two of the same weapon. You can also add Keen via the keen edge spell or the Scabbard of Keen Edges (4400 GP, MIC).

    Metalline (+2, MIC). This property pretty much solves the "Golf Bag Syndrome" problem and is useful for bypassing DR, but I think I'd rather power through the DR with +2d6 energy damage instead. As far as special materials go, there are magic items and spells that can replicate this property: Ring of Adamantine Touch (6000 GP, MIC), Silversheen (250 GP, DMG), etc. The exception here is cold iron, which can't be added to an existing weapon made out of a different material. The downside to Metalline is whenever you attack something without a material-specific DR, you're wasting the money you spent on the +2.

    Merciful (+1, DMG). This is a great enhancement for bonus damage even though it's non-lethal. Why? Because in D&D, "unconscious" is functionally equivalent to "dead". This makes Merciful even better than, say, Caustic or Shock weapons, because very few things in D&D are immune to nonlethal damage than, say, various energy resistances. Also, I find it a little humorous that you can enchant the same weapon with [acid], [cold], [fire], [electricity], and [sonic] damage, and then when you add Merciful, *all* of that bonus damage becomes non-lethal. Adding Merciful to a Vicious weapon is also good for a chuckle (and makes the damage it does to you easier to heal, too). The only drawback is having a "Merciful" weapon may make you look like some kind of pacifist wuss, but that perception can be easily remedied with a coup de grace.

    Psychokinetic (+1, MIC). After you've got the four top-tier energy damage types covered ([acid], [electricity], [cold], and [fire]), adding 1d4 [force] damage adds a nice chaser. Immunity/resistance to Desiccating is a little more rare, but not so much that you'd ever really notice.

    Quick Loading (+1, MIC). This property makes TWFing with hand or light crossbows possible, but for some reason heavy crossbows still get screwed.

    Rusting (+1, Shining South). In combat, this is a so-so trigger property that's only effective against opponents that wear metal armor or shields, and only works when they fail a Fort save DC 16. As with sundering, it has a tendency to destroy valuable loot. Outside of combat, you can use it to disintegrate an unlimited number of metal objects, which could mean endless fun with dungeon redecorating.

    Screaming (+1, MIC). After you've got the four top-tier energy damage types covered ([acid], [electricity], [cold], and [fire]), adding 1d4 [sonic] damage helps you round out the five basic energy types. It also can be negated with a silence spell, which is not something you commonly see with Desiccating or Psychokinetic, so you may want to consider picking up either of those first.

    Shock (+1, DMG). Of the three types of bonus energy damage available in Core, you're least likely to encounter [electricity] resistance, so you'll want to take this before you pick up Flaming and Frost. If Corrosive is available (MIC), pick that first, as [acid] resistance is much less common than [electricity] resistance. If you'd prefer to add electricity damage via another magic item, consider the Bracers of Lightning (11000 GP, MIC), which can add the Shock property to all of your attacks for the round with a swift action.

    Smoking (+1, Lords of Darkness). I'm including this here not necessarily because it's good for TWF, but because you can get an always-on 20% miss chance that's much cheaper than buying a Minor Cloak of Displacement (24000 GP, DMG). The save vs. nausea might be useful in a grapple, but that's usually not a place where a TWFer wants to be.

    Speed (+3, DMG). This enhancement is a bit of a toss-up... on one hand, getting extra attacks is just pretty darned awesome. On the other hand, that's a +3 enhancement bonus that could be better spent getting +3d6 bonus damage on all your attacks, along with making all your subsequent enhancements to that weapon much more expensive. The extra attack also doesn't stack with haste effects, so that should be a hint you're better off spending your money on something like Bracers of Blinding Strike (5000 GP, MIC) or Boots of Speed (12000 GP, DMG) instead.

    Spell Storing (+1, DMG). An excellent enhancement with a variety of uses, and a great pick if you've already got the bonus damage you need and you have enough GP for another +1 property, but you aren't sure what to pick. You can also add spells to your weapons with Wand Chambers (100 GP, Dungeonscape) and Glyph Seals (1000 GP/4000 GP, MIC).

    Sure Striking (+1, Player's Guide to Faerun). This is something of a quicker version of Transmuting (see below) that switches to the appropriate alignment immediately whenever you hit, but it doesn't cover special material requirements.

    Torturous (+1 or +2, Ghostwalk). This is my favorite "trigger" property. Most of the enhancements that inflict status conditions on a failed save were nerfed in the MIC so they only work a few times a day or can't be used on an opponent more than once, but this enhancement avoided the nerfbat. On every hit, your opponent must make a DC 12 Fortitude save or be stunned for 1 round. While the DC is low enough to be firmly in "Why bother?" territory, you get to force that save every time you hit. If DC 12 really is too low for you to bother, you can upgrade to a +2 enhancement and the Fort save goes up to DC 17.

    Transmuting (+2, Magic Item Compendium). It takes a round to get this working, but this is one way you can fix the "Damage Reduction" problem for TWFers.

    Valorous (+1, Unapproachable East). Did you get Pounce? Yes? Then you want valorous weapons. You might want to add Gloryborn (+600 GP, DMGII) while you're at it.

    Vampiric (+2, MIC). Lots of fun, particularly for more squishy TWFers like rogues and bards that don't quite have the Tank chops to stand on the front line and soak up damage like a sponge. My only caveat is you might want to save up for Wrathful Healing (+3 enhancement, Enemies & Allies p. 20): instead of healing 1d6, you get healed for half of the total damage you inflict.

    Wrathful Healing (+3, Enemies & Allies p. 20). Bookdiving into old 3.0 material will occasionally dig up something fantastic, such as this little gem. This property works best on a build that gets lots of bonus damage via feats and class abilities, such as Sneak Attack or Dragonfire Inspiration. When this weapon damages a creature, you heal a number of HP equal to half the total damage dealt.

    Wounding (+2, DMG). This is the gold standard for what I mean by "trigger effects": every time you hit, your target takes 1 Constitution damage, and while it doesn't work on every type of creature, there's no save to worry about. Hit your opponent often enough and you don't care about bonus damage because they're already dead from Constitution damage.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Titan in the Playground
    Darrin's Avatar

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    Oct 2006
    Cleveland, OH

    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    9. Magic Items

    I'm listing these by slot, and then by price (lowest to highest). This is not a comprehensive list of the best items for every slot, but a list of items that TWF builds might find most useful.


    Helm of Tactics (2000 GP, MIC). This helm offers a cheap untyped +2 damage bonus for any melee build that relies on a lot of flanking. It has another ability that improves a Marshal’s minor aura (Miniatures Handbook), but you can pretty much ignore this as nearly worthless (which sums up most of the Marshal class pretty well). There are two other magic items in the “Regalia of the Hero” set, but only the Badge of Valor is all that useful, as it increases a Bard's Inspire Courage (and thus Dragonfire Inspiration) by +1.

    Horned Helm (8000 GP, MIC). If you’re looking to add a natural weapon to your full attack routine, this is a little cheaper than the Fanged Mask, but it doesn’t have the activation issues of the mask. Also, gore attacks are a bit less common than bite attacks, making it easier to add this natural weapon into your attack routine.

    Phylactery of Change (11200 GP, A&EG). This headgear offers all-day polymorph up to 7HD, so say hello to Mr. Remorhaz. If you're looking for something with more than two arms, then make sure you check out the Thri-Kreen (XPH/Shining South), Diopsid (Dragon Compendium), Dolgrim (Eberron Campaign Setting), Tako (Oriental Adventures), and Ormyrr (MM2).


    Pearl of Speech (600 GP, MIC). This isn’t really an item for you (unless you’re trying to qualify for Fochlucan Lyrist), but if you have an animal companion, improved familiar, wild cohort, special mount, or some other “supporting” creature that doesn’t speak Common, you can give them the ability to speak with this pearl (although if your animal companion still has an Int of 2, don't be surprised if your DM ixnays this). This allows them to activate command-word items... such as Talisman of the Disk (500 GP, MIC). This creates a “sidecar” where your TWF character can stand on the disk (don’t forget the +1 attack bonus for higher ground!), direct your companion/cohort/etc. as a free action, and you can move along with your companion as they charge around the battlefield without wasting any move actions, allowing you to full attack every round.

    Third Eye Surge (2100 GP, MIC). Charged item that provides a +2/+3/+4 insight bonus on Str/Dex-based checks and on weapon damage for 1 round. Note that the text doesn’t specify “melee weapon damage”, so this will also work on ranged attacks.

    Raptor’s Mask (3500 GP, MIC). Very useful for Ranger-ish types who rely a lot on Spot checks, as this mask offers a +5 untyped bonus rather than a competence or circumstance bonus. The immunity to blinded and dazzled effects can also be quite handy, particularly if you’re a sneak-attacker that uses a lot of blinding effects that targets all creatures within an area of effect (such as the Flash Tube from Savage Species).

    Fanged Mask (8300 GP, MIC). This mask may be an easy way to add a natural bite attack to a full attack routine without mucking around with templates or soulmelds, but it has some “activation” issues. It takes a standard action to activate, but it’s not clear if that means you can only bite as a standard action. There’s also an additional effect, you can force a Fort save vs. stunned for 1 round up to 3/day, but again, it’s not clear if this is also activated with a standard action. In either case, this mask is either nearly useless (as most PCs don’t get two standard actions a turn), or just useless for TWF (no full attacks when you bite). However, the item description doesn’t list a duration for the bite attack... so if your DM rules that you can activate the mask as a standard action, and then just leave it on so you can bite whenever you want up until you take it off, then it’s probably worth it. If not, then buy a Horned Helm instead.


    Chronocharm of the Horizon Walker (500 GP, MIC). Once per day as a swift action, move up to half of your land speed. Even better, this movement does not provoke AoOs. Even if you already have a reliable method to move + full attack, having multiple methods is always a good idea. Unlike the Anklets of Translocation, there’s a 24-hour attunement period for chronocharms, so you can’t swap in a fresh one after every use. Fortunately, you can attach different types of chronocharms, but unfortunately the other chronocharms don’t really help TWF all that much.

    Amber Amulet of Vermin: Large Monstrous Scorpion (700 GP, MIC). Usually I recommend the Giant Wasp version, as you can ride it around as a flying mount for 10 rounds, but the Large Monstrous Scorpion is one of the better combat options. For TWFers, it can provide flanking, and while there are other vermin options that may be better grapplers (such as the Huge Giant Centipede or Giant Stag Beetle), the Giant Scorpion has Improved Grab, so it can attack + grapple + constrict, rendering its target vulnerable to sneak attack.

    Badge of Valor (1400 GP, MIC). This badge offers a very nifty untyped +2 bonus on a charm or fear effect as an immediate action 3/day, but that’s not why it’s here. It can also give a +1 bonus on Inspire Courage, which makes it a must-have for any Dragonfire Inspiration build.

    Githborn Talisman (1800 GP, MIC). Similar to the Enemy Spirit Pouch, this talisman grants a +2 insight bonus on attacks and damage against aberrations. This might be worth it if your campaign is overflowing with aberrations or if you’re a githyanki/githzerai (in which case the bonus goes up to +4), but if not then you may want to look for some other kind of throatcandy.

    Amulet of Teamwork (2000 GP, MIC). Even if you don’t flank that much, this amulet not only gives you an untyped +2 damage bonus when flanking, it gives it to all of your allies that are also flanking the same damage bonus. If you’re a Swordsage or have access to the Island of Blades stance, then this item is a must-get. Once per day, you can use a swift action to grant yourself and an adjacent ally a +5 competence bonus to AC, which is somewhat unusual... I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a competence bonus to AC anywhere else.

    Enemy Spirit Pouch (2100 GP, MIC). This pouch gives the owner a +1 attack bonus and a +2 damage bonus against one particular creature type. While this may look like a Ranger-only item, it can be used by any character to gain the equivalent of Favored Enemy. Unfortunately, the way Favored Enemy works is something like this: you fight this creature type once, like maybe orcs/goblinoids when you’re low-level and they may present a significant threat, but once you level up you never see that creature type ever again, either because they’re no longer a threat or the DM just “forgets” that you’ve got a lifelong grudge. The best pouches will be keyed to a popular creature type that’s commonly encountered at a wide range of challenge ratings, such as undead. Even better would be pouches keyed to Favored Enemy: Arcanist (Complete Mage) or Favored Enemy: Evil (Book of Exalted Deeds), but since these aren’t your typical favored enemies, you’re not likely to find such pouches unless you make them yourself. Also, for those of you worried about favored enemies that are immune to critical hits, you’ll want to note that the damage bonus from Favored Enemy is not identified as precision damage, so it still works against undead, constructs, elementals, oozes, and plants. If you’re a Swift Hunter or have multiple favored enemies, you may want to ask your DM if you can pay extra to stack multiple creature types onto the same Enemy Spirit Pouch.


    Piercer Cloak (900 GP, MIC). If you're using a Talisman of the Disk sidecar, or your DM was insane enough to let you use Battle Jump (Unapproachable East) in your build, then consider picking up this cloak for +1d6 damage when attacking from higher ground, or +2d6 when dropping from at least 10' above. Swift action to activate, 3/day.

    Cloak of Predatory Vigor (1400 GP, MIC). If you dipped into Barbarian to pick up Pounce or Whirling Frenzy, then this cloak may be worth picking up for some swift-action healing equal to your character level 2/day. If you didn't dip into Barbarian, then this cloak is probably useless.

    Shadow Cloak (5500 GP, Drow of the Underdark). This cloak provides a +1 deflection bonus, but 3/day it can also be used to respond to an attack as an immediate action to gain concealment or teleport up to 10', much like that Abrupt Jaunt ACF (Complete Mage) that those specialist conjurers are always raving about. This makes it a much better upgrade to the Anklets of Translocation, but then you have to decide between this and the Transposer Cloak (see below). Wauugh... tough call!

    Mantle of the Predator (8000 GP, MIC). Essentially combines Boots/Cloak of the Elvenkind with something like +1d6 Sudden Strike damage, although the text doesn't call it Sudden Strike, just +1d6 damage whenever your target is denied it's Dex bonus. While this might be more suited to a Sneak Attack build, any TWF build might find this bonus damage useful.

    Transposer Cloak (6000 GP, MIC). Swift-action teleport lets you swap positions with an ally up to 30' away 3/day. Very nifty way to get into (or out of) melee quickly.


    Bracers of Striking (1310 GP, Magic of Faerun). Wearing these bracers not only gives you the equivalent of the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, you can enchant the bracers with weapon enhancements, giving you a work-around to the "can't enchant your fists" problem.

    Bracers of Quick Strike (1400 GP, MIC). It's not clear if these bracers work with TWF, since the text explicitly states it doesn't stack with any other effect that grants an additional attack, and calls out Rapid Shot... but not TWF. However, even though the TWF feat is very similar to Rapid Shot, the TWF rules are part of the combat rules, and you can use them even if you don't have the TWF feat. If you're going to use this, you'll want to ask your DM if he considers TWF to be a "rule" or "effect". Even if he agrees that you can use this item with TWF, it doesn't stack with any other way to get extra attacks, and thus I don't really recommend them.

    Bracers of Opportunity (2300 GP, MIC). Not every TWF build uses Combat Reflexes, but I do recommend it mostly for picking up Double Hit (Miniatures Handbook). If you do take Combat Reflexes, then these bracers are a must-get: +2 competence bonus on any AoO attack, and 2/day you can take an AoO even if you've reached your maximum for the round.

    Armbands of Might (4100 GP, MIC). If you're able to use Power Attack with TWF, then these armbands give you an untyped +2 damage bonus whenever you Power Attack for at least two points.

    Deathstrike Bracers (5000 GP, MIC). These bracers allow you to deal critical hits and sneak attacks to creatures that are normally immune to crits (constructs, elementals, oozes, plants, and undead). For sneak attack builds, these bracers are must-haves, but for crit-hunters you might want to ask your DM if you can activate them similar to Devastation Gauntlets (after confirming a crit).

    Strongarm Bracers (6000 GP, MIC). OH HECK YES!

    Bracers of Murder (8000 GP, Drow of the Underdark). Ideally, these are a must-get item for Assassins and any other class with a Death Attack ability, since they increase the Fort save DC by 2. However, the other two abilities are must-gets for anything with sneak attack or sudden strike: you get a +2 profane bonus on attacks/damage against flat-footed targets, and you can reroll any result of 1 on your sneak attack/sudden strike dice. Note that this isn't a "reroll once" effect, you can keep rolling until all of your sneak attack dice are showing 2 through 6.

    Bracers of Lightning (11000 GP, MIC). This may be a somewhat expensive way to add +1d6 electricity damage to all your attacks, but if your attack routine involves a lot of different weapons or a mix of manufactured/natural weapons, it may be cheaper in the long run to use the bracers rather than enchant each weapon individually. It should also be noted that these bracers work on ranged attacks as well. The biggest drawback is probably the swift-action activation, which eats up your swift action for the round, and may cause complications if you need that swift action for something else.


    Brute Gauntlets (500 GP, MIC). These gauntlets get 3 charges per day and offer a +2/+3/+4 morale bonus on Str checks and melee weapon damage for one round. At lower levels, this is a great bargain that can turn the tide of battle, but you may want to trade them in if you've got a bard in the party or can get some other similar morale bonus on damage. While I'm normally not a big fan of items that only work for a few rounds per day, these are cheap enough that you can buy multiple copies and swap in a new pair after every encounter.

    Brawler's Gauntlets (1000 GP, MIC). If you're mixing TWF with unarmed strikes, the +2 untyped damage boost might be worth picking up at lower levels, but the 3/day severely limits its usefulness. The Brute Gauntlets (500 GP, MIC) are cheaper and offer a similar bonus, but it applies to all your melee attacks.

    Gauntlets of Energy Transformation (1000 GP, MIC). Most TWF builds will load up their weapons with different energy types, but you still run into the problem of frequently running into enemies that are immune to your favorite particular type of energy damage. 3/day these gauntlets can switch your energy damage to a different type. Extremely handy if you're relying on Dragonfire Inspiration and are stuck with fire damage.

    Devastation Gauntlets (2000 GP, MIC). 3 charges, activate after confirming a crit, +2d6/+3d6/+4d6 extra damage on a crit. I'm usually not a big fan of anything that requires confirming a crit to work, but if you've got a crit-hunter build that can reliably manage at least three crits a day, these might be worth considering.

    Gauntlets of Giantfelling (2000 GP, MIC). These might be a useful damage buff for small-sized builds, but 3/day means they spend almost the entire day being useless.

    Gloves of Agile Striking (2200 GP, MIC). If you TWF with light/finessable weapons, then these can add +1d6 damage for 1 round, but only 2/day, which means they spend the rest of the day being useless. If you have Scout levels, then the damage goes up to +2d6, which might be worth considering, but otherwise you're better off looking for something that provides a more permanent benefit.

    Gloves of the Uldra Savant (3100 GP, MIC). TWFers may want to pick these up for the ability to imbue a melee weapon with the frost property 3/day, but sneak-attackers may be pleased to discover they can use ray of frost at will to deliver cold energy sneak attacks as a ranged touch attack.

    Glove of the Master Strategist (3600 GP, Ghostwalk). This gloves works exactly like a Glove of Storing, except it has a much more reasonable price. And yes, Ghostwalk did get a 3.5 update, so 3600 GP is the official 3.5 price. If you're doing anything that requires you to repeatedly put away or switch a weapon out of your hand, then this glove may be your only option that doesn't waste any of your actions. As an added bonus, this glove also gives you a true strike effect 1/day, presumably as a standard action. However, it doesn't specify an activation method, and it does mention "use", so if you can convince your DM that it's use-activated, so much the better.

    Rending Gauntlets (3610 GP, MIC). 2d6 rending damage 3/day means on average you get +21 bonus damage, but... meh, I'm not impressed. As will the other 3/day items, they spend almost the entire day being utterly useless.

    Gauntlets of Ghostfighting (4000 GP, MIC). These are situationally useful, but generally much cheaper than paying for the Ghost Touch property on all your melee weapons. If you find yourself frequently running into incorporeal enemies, then you definitely want to pick up a pair of these.

    Gauntlets of War (4000 GP, Complete Champion). Just for wearing these gauntlets, you get a +1 untyped bonus to melee weapon damage. If you worship a deity that has the War domain in its portfolio and you're wielding the deity's favored weapon, this untyped bonus goes up to +3.

    Toxic Gloves (6000 GP, MIC). If you want to mix TWF with poison, you're probably better off just buying some non-magical poison and applying it the usual way, or get some weapons made out of Gehennan Morghuth-Iron (A&EG p. 14).

    Gloves of the Balanced Hand (8000 GP, MIC). If you don't have TWF, these gloves give you the benefits of the TWF feat. If you already have TWF, then you get Improved TWF. For some players, this allows them to enjoy all the benefits of TWF by only spending one feat (they just write off Greater TWF's -10 attack as highly unlikely to hit anyway). Even if you really do want to spend the feats on Improved/Greater TWF, these gloves can help you put off taking Improved TWF until later, so you can pick up something like Staggering Strike or Snap Kick when you hit that sweet spot at BAB +6.

    Dragonfang Gauntlets (8610 GP, MIC). These gauntlets have three different abilities: 1) they can be used as masterwork spiked gauntlets while providing a +2 enhancement bonus to Str, 2) they can prevent you from the embarrassment of having to take the Improved Sunder feat by letting you use Improved Sunder 3/day, and 3) they use your unarmed strike damage if you have the Improved Unarmed Strike feat. Since these spiked gauntlets can be enchanted as if they were magic weapons, they are one of the easier methods you can use to add weapon enhancements to your unarmed strike damage (the other two common methods being the Scorpion Kama and the Necklace of Natural Attacks/Weapons). Unfortunately, you can't use them with Flurry of Blows, but Unorthodox Flurry (Dragon Compendium) or Shou Disciple (Unapproachable East) can fix that.

    Glove of Storing (10000 GP, DMG). While undeniably useful, this glove is overpriced. Get your hands on a Glove of the Master Strategist (3600 GP, Ghostwalk) instead.

    Gloves of Man (42000 GP, Savage Species). I don't really recommend these mostly because there are cheaper ways to add extra hands (see Section IV), but if you've already got some appendages that don't have hands (such as the Deepspawn feat or the Displacer Mantle soulmeld) or if you spend a lot of time polymorphed/wildshaped into a non-humanoid form, then these gloves will let you wield two weapons without penalty. However, there's also an Opposable weapon property (+1 enhancement, Masters of the Wild) that would do the same thing for probably a lot less GP.


    Ring of Might (4000 GP, Magic of Faerun). This ring gives you the equivalent of the Improved Unarmed Strike feat and 1d8 unarmed strike damage. It also leaves little hammer marks on your target until the damage is healed.

    Ring of Arming (5000 GP, MIC). Using this ring probably doesn't make sense if you already have a good way to equip all your weapons/armor quickly, such as the Quickdraw feat, Least Crystals of Return (300 GP, MIC), or the Called property (MIC). However, if you have multiple sets of weapons or armor that you need to swap into and out of quickly, this ring may be more efficient than buying the Called property twice (two standard actions, one for your armor, one for your shield). Another perk is the weapons/armor not in use are stored inside the ring, and can't be stolen, damaged, or messed with.

    Ring of Adamantine Touch (6000 GP, MIC). This ring is a great way to bypass DR X/Adamantine without mucking around with golf bags full of various special material weapons. While it costs the same as buying two adamantine weapons (3000 GP each), this ring allows you to stack the effect of having a special material on another special material, such as a weapon made out of cold iron.

    Ring of Entropic Deflection (8000 GP, MIC). This ring should be standard equipment for any Scout, Swift Hunter, or Travel Devotion build. Anytime you end your turn at least 10' away from the point you started the turn, you get a 20% miss chance against all ranged attacks. If you have a magic item that increases your speed, then the miss chance goes up to 50%.

    Ring of the Viper (8000 GP, Serpent Kingdoms). This ring adds +1 damage to your unarmed strikes and also injects poison into the target: Fort save DC 11, 1d6 Con primary/secondary.

    Fanged Ring (10000 GP, Dragon Magic). Wearing this ring grants you the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, Improved Natural Attack (Unarmed Strike) feat, and the ability to do 1 point of Constitution damage when you confirm a crit with an unarmed strike (no save!). Although this is probably the preferred method to add Improved Unarmed Strike to a build without dipping into Monk or spending a feat, there are two cheaper items that offer the same feat: Bracers of Striking (1310 GP, Magic of Faerun) and Ring of Might (4000 GP, Magic of Faerun).

    Ring of Instant Escape (18000 GP, Complete Mage). Immediate action to teleport up to 40' away, but it only works 1/day and only for attacks/effects that allow a Ref save. The Shadow Cloak (5500 GP, Drow of the Underdark) has a similar immediate action ability that's much cheaper, and while it only teleports up to 10', it can be used 3/day against any attack and also grants a +1 deflection bonus to AC.

    Ring of Blinking (27000 GP, DMG). When combined with the Pierce Magical Concealment feat (Complete Adventurer), this ring gives you 7 rounds of always-on Sneak Attack or Sudden Strike as a standard action. The only downside (other than the cost) is it takes three feats to get the combo working.


    Tunic of Steady Spellcasting (2500 GP, MIC). Despite its name, this tunic provides a +5 competence bonus to any Concentration check, not just for spellcasting. If you've got a Swordsage or Warblade that uses a lot of Diamond Mind maneuvers, pick this tunic up ASAP.

    Rogue's Vest (18000 GP, MIC). A little on the expensive side, but this is a must-get for any build relying on skirmish, sneak attack, or sudden strike damage. If you're just looking for something to increase your sneak attack/sudden strike damage, consider the more limited but cheaper Mantle of the Predator (8000 GP, MIC).


    Kimono of Storing (4400 GP or 20000 GP, Oriental Adventures). This item doesn't identify if it's a body or torso item, but a kimono is similar to a full-length robe, so I'm putting it under the body slot. You may be able to convince your DM to treat it as a torso slot. This kimono has two sleeves that work like two Gloves of Storing, so you can swap out two different items as a free action. The sticking point is the price... if you go exactly by what's in the book, then it's based on the 3.0 price for the Glove of Storing, 2200 GP x 2, and if you can get the kimono for that, then this is a fantastic bargain. And although OA Web Errata mentions the kimono, it didn't change the price. However, the Oriental Adventures 3.5 update published in Dragon Magazine #318 did change the price to 20000 GP, double the cost of a 3.5 Glove of Storing. This OA 3.5 Update was never printed anywhere else... but if your DM has already banned Dragon Magazine material, then he's also banned the price change. If you can get your hands on this kimono for 4400 GP, you might as well try and pick up a Courtier's Obi (2000 GP, +10 competence bonus on Diplomacy checks) and a Wondrous Writing Set (2060 GP, +10 untyped bonus on Forgery checks).

    Ghost Shroud (5000 GP, MIC). As with the Gauntlets of Ghostfighting (4000 GP, MIC), this item is probably cheaper than paying for the Ghost Touch property on all your weapons. However, since your body slot is usually taken up by your armor, you're probably better off with the Gauntlets, unless you really, really need that glove slot for something else. But you also get a +1 deflection bonus to AC, so that helps somewhat with the armor thing.

    Arms of the Naga (56000 GP, Savage Species). I'm mentioning this item here not because I recommend it (I don't) but because I'm just trying to be thorough. Not only is this item too expensive for what it does, it has significant drawbacks that make it annoying to use. If you attempt to use these extra arms in combat, you have to make a Will save DC 19 or take a -2 penalty to all attacks/saves/skills/ability checks. See Section IV for cheaper and more effective methods to add extra arms.


    Belt of Ultimate Athleticism (3600 GP, MIC). Many TWFers need to use Jump or Tumble checks to get into position for flanking, attacking multiple opponents, or to get out of trouble. This belt makes that easier by letting you "Take 10" on Balance, Climb, Jump, Swim, and Tumble checks. It also has a "Take 20" effect you can use 1/day for that one time you really need to move through an opponent's square.

    Sacred Scabbard (4400 GP, MIC). This scabbard can resize itself to fit any weapon, *including* double weapons. 3/day as a swift action it can produce a bless weapon weapon effect, which is double-nifty for Crit-Fisher builds: not only do you bypass DR X/good, but any critical threat you roll against an evil target is automatically confirmed.

    Belt of Battle (12000 GP, MIC). Don't even pretend you don't want this.

    Spare Hand (12000 GP, MIC). If you can't power this item with an infusion, then this spare hand is only marginally useful. If you can power it with a 2nd level infusion, then it can wield a buckler or light shield for you, freeing up your non-spare hands for wielding weapons. If you can power it with a 3rd level infusion, it can make offhand attacks with a light weapon, allowing you to wield a two-handed weapon as your primary attack. Unfortunately, only two classes can cast infusions: Artificers (Eberron Campiagn Setting), who are not exactly well-known for their melee prowess, and Cyre Scout (Dragonmarked), which might ding up your BAB a bit.

    Scabbard of Keen Edges (16000 GP, DMG). Many people recommend this scabbard as the preferred method of expanding your critical threat range, as it's generally cheaper than adding the Keen property to multiple weapons, but in a dedicated Crit-Fisher build, 3/day is just not going to cut the mustard. The common wisdom is to never spend a feat on something you can buy with gold, but for dedicated Crit-Fishing, I think you're better off with Improved Critical if you can find room for it in your build. It frees up your WBL to spend on weapon enhancements with better damage output, and it continues to work if your weapons get sundered/lost/stolen/disjuncted/etc.


    Boots of Landing (500 GP, MIC). If you're trying to abuse Battle Jump (Unapproachable East) or doing something with a "4500 lbs of Stupid" build, then these boots will negate any damage from up to a 20' fall and make sure you land on your feet. However, odds are good you have some other footwear that's important to your build (probably the Anklets of Translocation), so save up to put the Landing property (+4000 GP, XPH/SRD/MIC) on your armor instead.

    Anklet of Translocation (1400 GP, MIC). This is the cheapest and most common swift-action teleport item in the game, two 10' hops per day. The biggest problem with these is there are too many other great items for your feet slot! So ask your DM if you can stack multiple enhancements (Dex bonus, Speed bonus, etc.) to get more mileage out of your footwear. Another concern is 2/day means you run out of uses quickly, but these are cheap enough that you can buy multiples and swap in a fresh anklet after every encounter.

    Boots of the Battle Charger (2000 GP, MIC). These boots are another cheap footwear item, but with the somewhat unique ability to charge as a standard action 2/day. If you have a charge-based build, then this lets you use a move action to back up or get into position before your next charge. There's an additional feature that if you wear another item with an enhancement bonus to Dex, you can charge through difficult terrain and squares occupied by allies. If you're doing anything with Pounce, then take these boots over the Anklet of Translocation, and grab multiple copies if you're able.

    Boots of the Winterland (2500 GP, DMG). If you're relying on slippery ice to deliver sneak attacks (via ice slick, path of frost, sleet storm, etc.), then these boots will let you ignore any Balance checks/Ref saves and treat the ice as if it were clear terrain.

    Skirmisher Boots (3200 GP, MIC). These boots pose a conundrum for the poor Scout: do you want the +2 skirmish damage and extra attack 2/day, or the swift-action movement from Anklets of Translocation/Quicksilver Boots? On a round-per-round basis, you're probably better off with the +2 damage, since that's a continuous effect, while the swift-action move items stop being useful after only 2 rounds of use. On the other hand, you don't get to enjoy that +2 damage unless you have some way to reliably move + full attack. Hopefully you can convince the DM to let you combine the abilities of the Skirmisher Boots with the Anklets/Quicksilver Boots into the same item.

    Quicksilver Boots (3500 GP, MIC). This is another footwear item that offers swift-action movement 2/day, but there are a few differences from the Anklets of Translocation. You get to move up to your land speed, but this is not a teleport effect so you're still subject to terrain features (unless it's water, which you can walk across). You still trigger AoOs for movement, but you get concealment (20% miss chance) during your move. If you're trying to trigger Skirmish/Improved Skirmish but your DM won't allow teleport to count towards that, or if 10' hops just aren't far enough for what you need to do, then you're probably better off with these boots rather than the Anklets of Translocation.

    Boots of the Unending Journey (4000 GP, MIC). If you're just looking for the +10' speed increase, these boots are a bit cheaper than the Boots of Striding and Springing (5500 GP, DMG), but the enhancement bonus might not stack with certain class features (I'm looking at you, Monk). If you're a Barbarian looking for immunity to fatigue (BTW thumb your nose at the Monk, your Fast Movement stacks with an enhancement bonus), then these boots might be worth blowing a feat on True Believer, but there are other ways to get rid of fatigue that don't involve wasting one of your precious feat slots.

    Slippers of Spiderclimbing (4800 GP, DMG). There is one really unique difference between these slippers and other items that grant a spider climb effect: the slippers leave both of the wearer's hands free to attack, whereas anything that duplicates the effects of spider climb also require the user to use his hands for climbing.

    Greaves of Aundair (5000 GP, Forge of War). These shinguards provide a +10' enhancement bonus to your speed, and 3/day you can activate them as an immediate action to take a move action, but you're dazed until the end of your next turn. Make sure you're wearing a Third Eye Clarity (3000 GP, MIC) and 1/day you can negate being confused, dazed, fascinated, or stunned. Unlike Chronocharms, Third Eyes don't need to be attuned for 24 hours, so if you get three of them you can swap in a fresh one after you use the greaves.

    Boots of Striding and Springing (5500 GP, DMG). These boots are probably worth it just for the +10' speed boost (which is untyped and stacks with enhancement bonuses), but the +5 competence bonus on Jump checks make this a great choice for anybody with the Leap Attack feat or Tiger Claw maneuvers.

    Boots of Sidestepping (6000 GP, MIC). These may be useful to a skirmish build, but 2000 GP per 5' step is a bit expensive, particularly when the Anklets of Translocation give you two 10' hops for 1400 GP.

    Boots of Tracklessness (11000 GP, MIC). Or, as I like to call them, "7 Rounds of Murder Boots". If you're a sneak attacker and have no other better way to get access to greater invisibility, then these might be worth a look, but once they're used, they're dead weight for the rest of the day.

    Boots of Speed (12000 GP, DMG). Some might say you're paying too much for only 10 rounds of haste, but you can activate them as a free action, which means you can make sure those 10 rounds really count.


    Quaal's Feather Token: Whip (500 GP, DMG). This token is a great little fire-and-forget one-shot item that automatically attempts a grapple when it hits, perfect for sneak-attackers who can't find a flanking buddy.

    Talisman of the Disk (500 GP, MIC). This item isn't really for you, but more for a cohort, friendly creature, or another PC that can activate it, charge into combat, and then let you "ride alongside" on the disk, similar to a sidecar (although watch your weight... 300 pounds max, unless the owner is wearing a Str-boosting item). So long as your cohort doesn't move faster than their usual speed, you arrive on the front lines without spending your move action, ready to unload a full attack. Not only that, but since you're also standing 3' above the ground, you probably get a +1 attack bonus for being "on higher ground". If your cohort/companion/familiar/mount can speak and manipulate objects (it's a "held" item, although you should be able to loop a leather cord through it and wear it around the neck), it can activate the disk for you and move you around the battlefield. If your cohort/companion/familiar/mount can't speak, try giving them a Pearl of Speech (600 GP, MIC), although your DM might not allow this on some creatures. If you have a Dwarven Defender in the party, you can also use this to get around the stupidity of Defensive Stance.


    Wand Chamber (100 GP, Dungeonscape). By hollowing out a space in your weapon or shield, you can insert a wand and then activate it without having to free up your hand or draw the wand out of your pack. If you wield a double weapon, you can add two wand chambers, one for each end. In fact, I've seen it argued that if you have an Elvencraft longbow (Races of the Wild), which also counts as a quarterstaff, you can add three wand chambers. To activate the wands, you still need some sort of spellcasting ability or invest some skill points into UMD, but the ability to activate swift-action wands without dropping or changing your weapons is immensely useful to TWFers.

    Tempo Bloodspike (150 GP, Magic of Eberron). Stab this syringe-like vial into your body to inject an alchemical substance into your blood (1 point of piercing damage), and sometime during the next hour, you can activate it as a free action to take an additional move action on your turn.

    Silversheen (250 GP, DMG). Make sure you keep a bottle or two of this on hand in case you run into anything with DR X/Silver.

    Panic Button: Escaping (750 GP, Complete Mage). Pulling a panic button off your clothing and dropping it into your square is a swift action... unless you're wearing armor, in which case it's a standard action. Still, if you're a monk, warforged, or doing something with the Vow of Nudity, then a bunch of panic buttons could be very useful. The Escaping version allows you to dimension door up to 30'. However, if you are trying to use it to escape, there's an odd quirk to it... the rules say the effect lasts for 1 round, so any creature entering the square you just vacated also gets to dimension door up to 30'.

    Golembane Scarab (2500 GP, DMG). If golems are giving you trouble, then this pin is more of a stopgap measure until you can afford a Ring of Adamantine Touch (6000 GP, MIC). If you're doing anything with sneak attack, make sure you also have a wand chamber (100 GP, Dungeonscape) and a wand of golem strike handy (Spell Compendium, Sor/Wiz 1).

    Sparring Dummy of the Master (30000 GP, A&EG). This item is a bit of an oddball because you don't really carry it anywhere and it doesn't really do anything unless you're a monk and can train with it at least 8 hours every day for four weeks. If you complete the training, you can now take 10' steps instead of 5' steps for the rest of your career, and can sell off the Sparring Dummy to some other poor bastard dumb enough to take levels in Monk. Obviously, this would make a Scout or Swift Hunter's life considerably easier, but at the expense of having to dip into Monk for at least one level. However, if you can autosucceed on a Use Magic Device check DC 21, then you can fool the Sparring Dummy into thinking you’re a monk. If you can't find a Sparring Dummy or can't fit in the Monk dip, then consider maxing out your Tumble check so you can hit a DC 40, which also allows you to take a 10' step instead of a 5' step (see Oriental Adventures p. 58).

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    IV. Helping Hands: When Two Just Isn't Enough

    Yes, of course, you say, TWF looks so awesome, but how can we make it look even more awesome? By adding more hands, of course. Here's a list of methods to add additional hands to your build:

    1. Prehensile Dragon Tail

    Dragon Tail (Races of the Dragon) + Prehensile Tail (Savage Species/Serpent Kingdoms) gives you a third hand that can wield weapons. Dragon Tail is a 1st-level only feat that requires the dragonblood subtype, but you can actually add this after your 1st level by becoming a Dragonborn of Bahumat and swapping one of your existing feats for Dragon Wings or Dragon Tail. Since you lose your racial bonus feats when you become a Dragonborn, this is best accomplished with feats granted as class abilities. Fortunately, there are many classes that grant feats that are nearly useless or later become irrelevant. Ranger actually has two: Track and Endurance. Some other candidates: Monk (Stunning Fail, Defunct Arrows, etc.), Wizard (Scribe Scroll), Dragonfire Adept (Dragontouched), Duskblade (Combat Casting), or Knight (Mounted Combat). Add the variant class features from Unearthed Arcana, and you can add Barbarian (Toughness from Bear Totem, Blind-Fight from Dragon Totem, Run from Lion or Horse Totem) and a couple others, such as Simple Druid (Track), to the list. There may be other PrCs that offer feats that are better repurposed as Dragon Tail.

    2. Arms Race

    Start with a race that already has four hands. Thri-Kreen are the most well-known, but they have 2 racial HD and either LA +2 (Expanded Psionics Handbook) or LA +1 (Shining South, non-psionic). Diopsid (Dragon Compendium) is sort of a "Thri-Kreen Lite", another insectile race with four arms but only LA +1 and no racial HD. The Eberron Campaign Setting offers another option: Dolgrim, mutant goblins with four arms and two brains. See the section on Races above for more details on these races.

    3. Totemist With the Most-Est

    Totemist 2 (Magic of Incarnum) binding the Girallon Arms soulmeld to the Totem chakra. This gives you four glowing blue furry arms along with four claw attacks. Based on the fluff, it's not entirely clear if these arms are functional enough to wield weapons, but assuming your DM says they can, you now have the problem of deciding whether you want four weapon attacks or four claw attacks. Of course, if you want to keep your four claw attacks and still get iterative/offhand attacks, you can use Improved Unarmed Strike + armor spikes.

    4. Permanent Girallon's Blessging

    Girallon's blessing + permanency spells (see Savage Species p. 60). Assuming a 13th level caster, both spells would cost about 11140 GP. While the Savage Species version of girallon's blessing has a drawback where you have to make a Will save to do anything complex with your extra arms, the updated version in the Spell Compendium removes this drawback and makes them fully-functional arms. By RAW, the permanency rules on page 60 of Savage Species still applies to the Spell Compendium version. Your biggest concern here is your extra arms are dispellable via dispel magic, so consider protecting yourself against that: Ring of Counterspells (4000 GP, DMG), Spellblade (+6000 GP, Player's Guide to Faerun), Ring of Spell-Battle (12000 GP, MIC).

    5. Polymorph Shenanigans

    Use various alter self/metamorphosis/polymorph effects to turn yourself into a creature with four or more arms. The easiest method is probably just to cast polymorph any object (PaO) on yourself twice, which means the duration of the spell is "permanent". However, this still allows it to be dispelled, so take the same precautions as you would with a permanent girallon's blessing. If you can find a 15th level spellcaster, you can buy two PaO's for only 2400 GP. Some interesting forms to consider: Thri-kreen (XPH/Shining South), Diopsid (Dragon Compendium), Dolgrim (Eberron Campaign Setting), Tako (Oriental Adventures), and Ormyrr (MMII).

    6. Magic Items

    If you'd prefer just a magic item to change forms, then there are a couple options: Phylactery of Change (11200 GP, A&EG p. 135) offers all-day polymorph up to 7HD (check out the Ormyrr in MMII), and Fleshshifter Armor (13160 GP, Book of Vile Darkness p. 111) gives you alter self at will.

    7. Spare hand

    If you'd prefer to keep your existing form, then picking up a Spare Hand (12000 GP, MIC) is probably the easiest option, but to get it to wield a light offhand weapon, you have to power it with at least a 3rd level infusion, so it may only be useful to an artificer. Arms of the Naga (56000 GP, Savage Species) can add two arms, but I consider them too horrendously expensive, and they have a big drawback: if you try to use them in combat, you have to make a Will save DC 19 every round or take a -2 penalty on all attacks, saves, skill checks, and ability checks. If you already have extra appendages but don't have hands, such as from a soulmeld or the two tentacles from the Deepspawn feat (Lords of Madness), then you can add Gloves of Man (42000 GP, Savage Species) to get functional hands. These are nearly as expensive as the Arms of the Naga, but fortunately do not have any of that Will save nonsense to use them properly.

    8. Grafts

    There are several different kinds of grafts, but they can be divided into two broad categories based on which rules they follow. The "old" style grafts were introduced in the Fiend Folio, and the "new" style grafts were introduced in Magic of Eberron. The differences between "old" and "new" grafts has mostly to do with who can create them and how many you can add to a creature. The "old" style grafts can only be created by a creature of the proper creature type that has taken the Graft Flesh feat, but the recipient of the graft can acquire as many of these grafts as his resources will allow. The "new" style grafts can be created by anyone with the proper crafting feat, but the recipient can only have a maximum of five grafts, and they must all be of the same kind. Since the "new" graft rules didn't explicitly replace the "old" graft rules, some DMs may allow you to mix/match some of the old style grafts along with up to five of the new style grafts. It's not always clear from the graft descriptions if a graft is replacing an arm that must be removed first, or is being added to your torso along with your existing arms. You'll need to consult your DM to nail down the specifics of what you're allowed to do with grafts. For a more in-depth look at grafts, consult Veyr's Fleshwarping handbook.

    Here's a list of sourcebooks with grafts:

    Fiend Folio (old): Aboleth, Beholder, Fiendish, Illithid, Maug, Undead, Yuan-Ti
    Libris Mortis (old): Undead
    Serpent Kingdoms (old): Yuan-Ti
    Lords of Madness (old): Aboleth, Illithid, Silthilar
    Magic of Eberron (new): Deathless, Elemental, Plant
    Faiths of Eberron (new): Construct
    Races of the Dragon (new): Draconic

    Here's a list of arm-related grafts:

    a. Zombie Arm (25000 GP, Libris Mortis). This is probably one of the cheaper graft options, but while it gives you a +2 inherent Str bonus, it also reduces your Dex by 2 points, which makes it difficult to include two of them in a TWF build. It also gives you a slam attack, but this is an exception to my "one slam good, two slams bad" policy: the text states that the slam is made with the arm, so presumably if you're wielding a weapon in that arm, you'd lose the slam as well.

    b. Enervating Arm (40000 GP, Fiend Folio/Libris Mortis). Instead of reducing your Dex, this graft gives you a +4 inherent bonus to Str, and an enervating touch attack that can confer a negative level 2/day (Fort save DC 14 negates).

    c. Paralyzing Arm (40000 GP, Fiend Folio/Libris Mortis). Essentially the same as an Enervating Arm, but it has a paralyzing touch instead (Fort save DC 14 negates).

    d. Weakening Arm (40000 GP, Fiend Folio/Libris Mortis). Similar to the Enervating or Paralyzing Arm, this one deals 1d6 Str damage as a touch attack 2/day. However, unlike the other arms, there's no save to avoid this damage, and thus probably the best of the undead grafts.

    e. Taloned Arm (34000 GP, Races of the Dragon). This draconic graft doesn't include any inherent Str or Dex bonus/penalty, but offers a secondary claw attack. It's a bit more expensive than the Zombie Arm, but other than losing -2 HP, doesn't have any significant drawbacks.

    f. Clawed Arm (50000 GP, Fiend Folio). This fiendish graft is more expensive, but will also slowly drive you insane if you have a good alignment. It includes a +4 untyped Str bonus for anything you do with that arm and a natural claw attack, but most of the other arms are cheaper and have fewer drawbacks.

    g. Serpent Arm (12000 GP, Serpent Kingdoms). This graft ends in a serpent head rather than a hand, so you can't wield weapons with it, but you do get a bite attack with poison (primary/secondary 1d6 Con), so... say hello to the venomfire spell (same book, +1d6/CL acid damage, no maximum damage cap). It's also much cheaper than the other arm grafts, so you could conceivably buy a several of these for a whole bunch of secondary bite attacks.

    h. Mighty Arms (1000 GP, Faiths of Eberron). This is the cheapest arm-related graft, but it's implied from the description that these arms replace your existing arms, rather than add an extra set of arms. Then again, it never says in the rules that you have to remove body parts to add construct grafts, so... check with your DM. This construct graft gives you a slam similar to a warforged, although this is another exception to my "one slam good, two slams bad" policy: the text states you can make a secondary slam attack if your "other hand" is wielding a weapon, which most likely means you need at least one hand free to make a slam. This graft also allows you to add warforged components that can be mounted on the hands or arms, such as a battlefist, although how exactly a battlefist affects your attack routine can be a bit of a head-scratcher.

    i. Arm of the Ancestor (8500 GP, Magic of Eberron). Unfortunately, the text makes it pretty clear that this deathless graft is applied over an existing arm, so it doesn't add any more hands than you already have. The ability to give any creature you touch Fast Healing 3 once per hour is pretty nifty, but this graft has nothing else to offer from a TWF standpoint.

    9. Templates

    The easiest is probably Insectile (Savage Species), which adds four arms for only LA +2. Although the text says you don't gain any additional attacks with these arms, all you have to do is add Multiweapon Fighting and a half-dozen melee weapons, and you should be good to go. There's also a template in Dungeon #136 called Obah-Blessed, which can either give you two extra arms for LA +2, or four extra arms for LA +3.

    10. Aberrant Limbs

    In the DMGII, there's a "Unique Ability" called Aberrant Limbs. This is listed as an "NPC Only" option, but what's good for the goose should be good for the gander, yes? Assuming your DM allows this, for only LA +2 you can pick up an extra pair of arms and Multiweapon Fighting as a bonus feat.

    11. True Mind Switch

    This is power that Tleilaxu Ghola used for his infamous "Psionic Sandwich" trick, but you could also use it to acquire any non-sandwich body with the appropriate number of arms. Unlike polymorph any object, the duration is instantaneous, so there's no need to worry about dispel magic. This trick requires some very high-level psionics, but then Doc Roc trumped it with what he refers to as his "Commodore Guff" build, but everyone else calls "Doc Roc's Magic Jar trick". This version can be done with only two castings of magic jar, a 5th level core arcane spell.

  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    V. A Show of Hands: Sample Builds

    1. Hard-Core

    a. Fighter 20

    Race: Human
    Ability Scores: Dex > Str > Con > Int > Wis > Cha
    Weapons: Greatsword/Unarmed Strike
    1) Fighter 1. Feat: TWF, Bonus: WF Greatsword, Human: Improved Unarmed Strike.
    2) Fighter 2. Bonus: Power Attack.
    3) Fighter 3. Feat: WF Unarmed Strike.
    4) Fighter 4. Bonus: WS Greatsword
    5) Fighter 5.
    6) Fighter 6. Feat: Improved TWF, Bonus: WS Unarmed Strike
    7) Fighter 7.
    8) Fighter 8. Bonus: Greater WF Greatsword
    9) Fighter 9. Feat: Greater WF Unarmed Strike.
    10) Fighter 10. Bonus: Improved Critical: Greatsword
    11) Fighter 11.
    12) Fighter 12. Feat: Greater WS Greatsword, Bonus: Greater WS Unarmed Strike
    13) Fighter 13.
    14) Fighter 14. Bonus: Greater TWF.
    15) Fighter 15. Feat: Cleave.
    16) Fighter 16. Bonus: Combat Reflexes.
    17) Fighter 17.
    18) Fighter 18. Feat: Improved Initiative, Bonus: Improved Critical: Unarmed Strike.
    19) Fighter 19.
    20) Fighter 20. Bonus: Blind-Fight.

    b. Ranger 20

    Race: Orc
    Ability Scores: Str > Con > Dex > Int > Wis > Cha
    Weapons: Greatsword/Unarmed Strike
    1) Ranger 1. Feat: Improved Unarmed Strike, Bonus: Track
    2) Ranger 2. Bonus: TWF.
    3) Ranger 3. Feat: Power Attack, Bonus: Endurance.
    4) Ranger 4.
    5) Ranger 5.
    6) Ranger 6. Feat: Cleave, Bonus: Improved TWF
    7) Ranger 7.
    8) Ranger 8.
    9) Ranger 9. Feat: Improved Critical: Greatsword.
    10) Ranger 10.
    11) Ranger 11. Bonus: Greater TWF.
    12) Ranger 12. Feat: Improved Natural Attack: Unarmed Strike.
    13) Ranger 13.
    14) Ranger 14.
    15) Ranger 15. Feat: WF Greatsword.
    16) Ranger 16.
    17) Ranger 17.
    18) Ranger 18. Feat: WF Unarmed Strike.
    19) Ranger 19.
    20) Ranger 20.

    c. Rogue 20

    Race: Human
    Ability Scores: Dex > Con > Str > Int > Wis > Cha
    Weapons: Shortsword/Shortsword
    1) Rogue 1. Feat: TWF, Human: Improved Initiative.
    2) Rogue 2.
    3) Rogue 3. Feat: Weapon Finesse.
    4) Rogue 4.
    5) Rogue 5.
    6) Rogue 6. Feat: Combat Reflexes.
    7) Rogue 7.
    8) Rogue 8.
    9) Rogue 9. Feat: Improved TWF.
    10) Rogue 10. Special Ability: Crippling Strike.
    11) Rogue 11.
    12) Rogue 12. Feat: Improved Critical: Shortsword.
    13) Rogue 13. Special Ability: Improved Evasion.
    14) Rogue 14.
    15) Rogue 15. Feat: Greater TWF.
    16) Rogue 16. Special Ability: Opportunist
    17) Rogue 17.
    18) Rogue 18. Feat: WF Shortsword.
    19) Rogue 19. Special Ability: Defensive Roll.
    20) Rogue 20*.

    * Note: This is one of the more notorious "Dead Levels", where you get no class features except BAB +1, Ref +1, and some skill points. If you're not concerned about being a "pure" Rogue 20, consider taking a Fighter 1 dip here and at least pick up a bonus feat, such as Blind-Fight.

    2. Not-So-Hard-Core.

    a. Jack B. Quick (by Caelic). This build is sort of the textbook on how you can make an effective Fighter 20 in a higher-level game.


    Original post by Caelic:

    "That's him? That's the notorious Jack B. Quick?"
    "Indeed, sir. Have a may be a fine swordsman, but he's the fastest sword in the duchy!"

    "Bah." Kothos sauntered forward, his greatsword slung casually over one massively-muscled shoulder. He eyed his opponent scornfully. The man didn't look like much. Average height, not particularly muscular, armed with a plain longsword and handaxe. "You, there! They say you're the fastest sword in the duchy."

    The unassuming-looking swordsman smiled thinly. "In the world," he replied, quietly.

    Kothos sneered. "Let's find out. Come at me!"

    As Kothos assumed a fighting stance, Quick stepped in and struck, once...a stinging, insulting blow. Kothos growled. "That's it? So much for the fastest sword in the world. Goodbye!" So saying, he raised his greatsword for a lethal downswing.

    A split-second later, Kothos lay sprawled on the ground, bleeding from half a dozen wounds. His opponent nonchalantly considered a small gash on his shoulder--barely a scratch. "Like I said," he addressed the air. "In the world."

    In the spirit of Snow Savant's Chain Gatling Tripper, I offer Jack B. Quick.

    Human Fighter 20

    1. TWF, Dodge, WF (Longsword)
    2. Combat Expertise
    3. Improved Trip
    4. WF (Handaxe)
    6. Improved TWF, High Sword Low Axe
    8. Combat Reflexes
    9. Karmic Strike
    10. Double Hit
    12. Robilar's Gambit, Mobility
    14. Elusive Target
    15. Power Attack
    16. Overpowering Attack
    18. Improved Unarmed Strike, Defensive Throw
    20. Sidestep

    The basic notion of the character is simple: for every strike of the opponent's, he will get repeated strikes in return. Early in his life, he's a fairly straightforward two-weapon fighter. Once he hits level 9, though, he begins to shift to his trademark fighting style--his opponent hits him, he strikes back with sword and dagger, trips, and hits again with the sword.

    By level 12, he's a full-fledged menace. For every hit by the opponent, Jack will get the following attack sequence: sword-axe-trip-sword, sword-axe-trip-sword. Theoretically, this is eight attacks; however, since most DMs won't allow a player to trip an already-tripped opponent, realistically Jack is going to get six hits to his opponent's one.

    At level 16, Jack gets the icing on the cake. He takes a single attack per round (at double damage.) Any attack against him provokes the retaliation above, ALSO at double damage.

    While I'm quite happy with the rough build, I'm not as happy with the sequence of feats. Some important feats get left until late in the build. I'd especially like to get Elusive Target earlier, to prevent opponents from out-damaging Jack with one massive shot. I'd also like to find a way to squeeze in Deft Opportunist.


    b. Song of Death: Bardic Badass (by JanusJones). The original Song of the White Raven/Dragonfire Inspiration build.


    Original post by JanusJones:

    This is a bardic martial adept build capable of, at 20th level, dealing an extra 12d6 energy damage on all of his attacks - before he adds on martial maneuvers or stances. Better yet, he's a BARD.

    I was recently prowling through my ToB when I came across a feat I'd seen, but never really paid any attention to. The feat? Song of the White Raven.

    This feat's primary ability is pathetic: it grants you the ability to start bardic music as swift action when in a white raven stance. So what? But that's there primarily to fool you into missing the second part of the feat, where the real juice is: that it lets your Crusader AND Warblade levels stack with bard levels for the purposes of the bonus from Inspire Courage!

    So what, I hear you ask. After all, the bonus from Inspire Courage is only +4 by level 20. Bah humbug!

    But wait! Due to a lovely little set of feats you can get that bonus up to +12 by 20th. Behold!

    Bard 3, Crusader OR Warblade 17. Either Crusader or Warblade will do just fine, but each will have its own advantages and disadvatages. Crusaders will have healing abilities, but Warblades can take advantage of the high Int necessary for Words of Creation and get bonus feats to boot. More on the pros and cons of each later.

    Int and Cha at least 15. After that, combat stats should have prevalence: Str, Con, and Dex are all important.

    Dragontouched (1st), Dragonfire Inspiration (human), Song of the Heart (3rd), Song of the White Raven (6th), Words of Creation (9th), Two-Weapon Fighting (12th), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (15th), Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (18th).

    You have two good options here. The first is obvious - human. The second, of course, is Dragonborn, which removes the need for Dragontouched and gives you a number of supplemental abilities. Now the problem with this is that Dragontouched gives you access to sorcerer-based draconic feats, including Draconic Heritage. Draconic Heritage - Battle or Emerald Dragon can convert your Dragonfire Inspiration damage to sonic, which will go a long way towards making it more effective against higher-level enemies. The basic question is whether you'd rather have fire damage on a Dragonborn with Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (with martial maneuvers to cover fire immune and fire resistant enemies) or sonic damage (effecting a whole lot more enemies) on a human with Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (in effect, sacrificing an attack for a better energy type).

    This build is predicated on a couple of feats. The first, of course, is Song of the White Raven, which allows you to, as a Bard 3/Crusader or Warblade 17, count as a Bard 20 for the purposes of Inspire Courage. The bast bonus of +4 to attack and damage from Inspire Courage is then synergized and amplified with a series of feats. First there's Song of the Heart, which adds +1 to the bonus from Inspire Courage. Next there's the swift action 1st level spell Inspirational Boost, which adds yet another +1 (bringing the 20th level total to +6). Finally, there's the very sexy Words of Creation from the Book of Exalted Deeds, which allows you to, for the low, low price of only 3d4 non-lethal damage, DOUBLE the bonus from Inspire Courage. This brings our total to a whopping +12. True, adding a horn from Complete Adventurer could add another +2, but that would require an extra hand - and this is a two-weapon fighting build.

    Dragonfire Inspiration is the reason that the build aims for dual-wielding. With Dragonfire Inspiration you can transform the bonus from Inspire Courage from a morale bonus to attack and damage into an equal number of fire damage dice added to attacks. In other words, +12d6 at 20th level. If you have the ability, the Draconic Heritage feat can allow you to transform this damage into a different energy type (acid and sonic being notably nice choices). This can be kind of dicey to get, however, and may cost you Greater Two-Weapon Fighting.

    Ultimately, you end up with 9th level maneuvers, a +19 BaB, and the ability to gain either +12d6 energy damage to you and your allies' attacks or +12 to hit and damage three times per day. You also gain a +12 to saves vs. charms and fear when using bardic music.

    Both of these classes can be quite impressive at 17th level. Crusader packs some early punch, allowing you access to healing maneuvers and stances that will not only make you the party buffer but the party healer as well. Moreover, your 15 Cha will go to work shoring up your Will save, and furious counterstrike and steely resolve will make you an impressive tank. At higher levels, Aura of Triumph will make a two-weapon fighter capable of huge amounts of healing each round - up to 4x7 = 28 HP while damaging the enemy! For straight-up damage, Aura of Chaos allows each of your damage dice to "explode," re-rolling on a max result. With 12d6 added to each attack, a run of 6's can add up to an impressive amount of whomp.

    Warblade, however, wins the straight damage competition. With gems like Raging Mongoose and Pouncing Charge from the Tiger Claw discipline, a two-weapon fighter can attain even more attacks per round and even make full attacks on a charge. Diamond Mind's Time Stands Still even allows two full attacks in a single round, making your damage output truly unbelievable. Moreover, Iron Heart and Diamond Mind maneuvers like Moment of Perfect Mind, Iron Heart Surge, and Iron Heart Endurance can allow you to withstand almost any assault, making you not only strong but tough. 4 extra bonus feats allow you to shore up your weak points (Blind Fight, Iron Will, Improved Initiative, and Quick Draw can all be very handy additions to yoru repetoire), and the Warblade's ability to add Int mod to various checks can be very handy (after all, Words of Creation requires at least a 15 Int!).

    Both are excellent choices. Both have pros and cons. The Crusader will be a better party player and tougher (healing counts for a lot!). The Warblade will be a more versatile fighter and a more effective damage dealer. The choice is yours, and should be based on personal preferences and character style. Go for what your gut tells you would be more fun!

    This is dependent on your build, so I'll address each separately. Both builds assume the following starting stats (based on a 28-point buy):

    Str 14
    Con 10
    Dex 15
    Int 14
    Wis 8
    Cha 14

    One level-up point into Int, one into Cha, two into Dex, and one into Str. With a +6 enhancement item and +5 from a Tome, the character's final Strength score should be 26. An enhancement item for Dex will get you to where you need to be for the various TWF feats.


    7 attacks wielding two whips while in the Aura of Chaos stance.

    To Hit: +17/+17/+12/+12/+7/+7/+2 from BaB and TWF, +8 from Strength, +5 enhancement. Total is +30/+30/+25/+25/+20/+20/+15, with the potential for another +5 from furious counterstrike.

    Damage: 1d3+13+12d6 four times, 1d3+9+12d6 three times. Total will be 7d3+79+84d6 on a full attack, or 7d3+114+84d6 with a fully charged furious counterstrike.

    Assuming Aura of Chaos, the d3s will blow up 33% of the time and the d6s around 16% of the time. This raises the total to 9d3+79+99d6, or . . .

    (9-27) + (99-510) + 79 = 187 - 616 damage

    This rises to 222 - 651 if furious counterstrike has been fully charged.


    7 attacks wielding a longsword and shortsword while in Punishing Stance.

    To Hit: +17/+17/+12/+12/+7/+7/+2 from BaB and TWF, +8 from Strength, +5 enhancement. Total is +30/+30/+25/+25/+20/+20/+15. Double this when using Time Stands Still, add 4 attacks when attacking with Raging Mongoose, or use all these attacks at the end of a charge when employing Pouncing Charge.

    Time Stands Still Damage: 1d8+13+12d6 eight times, 1d6+9+12d6 six times. Total will be 8d8+158+168d6 on a full attack.

    (8-64) + (168-1008) + 158 = 334 - 1230 damage

    The clear winner for damage is the Warblade, but the Crusader's style, steely resolve (able to delay 25 points of damage per round!), and healing abilities should not be discounted. Either build is viable and fun!

    You only have three uses of your bardic music per day, so save them for big fights. The rest of the time your martial maneuvers should be more than enough to take care of any and all enemies. Decide on whether to apply your energy dice to damage or the morale bonus to hit and damage based on your opponent's strengths and weaknesses. If you have fire dice and are fighting a red dragon, use your music to gain a morale bonus to hit and damage - you'll need it just to land your martial strikes! If fighting something with a lower AC that's vulnerable to your fire (but is dangerous), pull out your Dragonfire Inspiration and go to town.

    Choose maneuvers that help your teammates. Your Dragonfire Inspiration will make other melee characters, summoners, clerics with undead minions, and even mounts and cohorts FAR more dangerous, so try to work tactically and keep them within the range of your music's effect. White Raven strikes and boosts can further aid teammates in closing with enemies, taking multiple actions, and even gaining extra hits, so don't hesitate to coordinate your crew's tactics. The other PCs will come to love you for this, and the synergistic effect of party-boosting maneuvers paired with your bardic music abilities will prove a daunting and effective combo.

    If you're a Crusader, make sure to buy a composite longbow (which you'll be able to wield). Use it to land hits against targets you can't approach in melee. Sure, you'll only get 4 attacks per round, but your bardic music will make those hits hurt far more than any other melee-oriented martial adept could. If you're a Warblade you'll have to settle for the shortbow that your Bard levels give you proficiency with, but the loss of range and damage will be, at worst, marginal.

    As a Crusader, use your healing aura to keep your teammates healthy and White Raven to keep them tactically efficient. Your strength in battle is based on your ability to take huge hits and keep ticking, bolstering your foes and decimating your enemies.

    As a Warblade, look to close the combat quickly. With Tiger Claw maneuvers you'll be able to charge in and make a full attack against the most powerful foes within the first round of combat, leaving your allies to mop up the support forces. Consider Moment of Alacrity to ensure gaining initiative, and use the edge provided to annihilate any truly dangerous enemies right off the bat.

    This character does surprisingly well at low levels, managing a quite decent damage output even before accquiring Two-Weapon Fighting and Words of Creation. At level 1 you can add 2d6 with Inspirational Boost and Dragonfire Inspiration. By 3rd this becomes an extra 3d6 damage. At 4th level Warblades pick up Punishing Stance, for an impressive +4d6 damage when using bardic music. Wield a greatsword and you're swinging a 6d6 pound hammer at 4th level! With Crusaders, the benefit comes from Martial Spirit, which lets you heal 2 HP with every swing. By 8th level your extra fire damage is up to 4d6, which is doubled at 9th by Words of Creation. Meanwhile, you're constantly gaining maneuvers and stances and just generally getting buffer.
    Well, I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I've dug writing it! Stay cool, and remember - just 'cause you like singing don't mean you're a pansy!

    c. Daring Outlaw

    Here's my take on a basic Daring Outlaw build. There aren't enough feat slots to do anything really fancy, so I put in Craven, Staggering Strike, and a couple Travel Devotions. You can swap in a Fighter 1 dip and still get 10d6 sneak attack and maybe do something with Combat Reflexes/Double Hit if you like. You could also swap the Rogue 3 with Simple Fighter 3, but this completely bones you on skill points and may prevent you from taking the Penetrating Strike ACF.


    Race: Human, Azurin, Strongheart Halfling
    1) Rogue 1. Feat: Craven. Bonus: Travel Devotion.
    2) Swashbuckler 1. Bonus: Weapon Finesse.
    3) Rogue 2. Feat: TWF.
    4) Rogue 3. Trade Trap Sense -> Penetrating Strike ACF (Ravenloft or Dungeonscape)
    5) Swashbuckler 2.
    6) Swashbuckler 3. Feat: Daring Outlaw.
    7) Rogue 4.
    8) Swashbuckler 4.
    9) Swashbuckler 5. Feat: Staggering Strike.
    10) Swashbuckler 6.
    11) Swashbuckler 7.
    12) Swashbuckler 8. Feat: Improved TWF.
    13) Swashbuckler 9.
    14) Swashbuckler 10.
    15) Swashbuckler 11. Feat: Travel Devotion (x2).
    16) Swashbuckler 12.
    17) Swashbuckler 13.
    18) Swashbuckler 14. Feat: Greater TWF.
    19) Swashbuckler 15.
    20) Swashbuckler 16.

    d. Whirling Dervish

    3. Swift Hunter

    a. Typical TWF Swift Hunter

    The "typical" Swift Hunter build is usually Scout 4/Ranger 16 or Scout 5/Ranger 15, depending mostly on whether you want Evasion early-ish (Scout 5) or late-ish (Ranger 9). I prefer Scout 4/Ranger 16:


    Race: Human, Azurin, or Strongheart Halfing, or Frostblood Orc/Half-Orc
    1) Ranger 1. Feat: Travel Devotion, Bonus: Combat Reflexes, Bonus: Track.
    2) Ranger 2. Bonus: TWF.
    3) Scout 1. Feat: Travel Devotion (x2). Skirmish 1d6.
    4) Scout 2.
    5) Scout 3. Skirmish 1d6AC+1.
    6) Ranger 3. Feat: Swift Hunter. Bonus: Endurance. Skirmish 2d6AC+1.
    7) Ranger 4. Distracting Attack ACF (PHBII). Skirmish 2d6AC+2.
    8) Ranger 5.
    9) Ranger 6. Bonus: Improved TWF. Feat: Double Hit (Miniatures Handbook). Skirmish 3d6AC+2.
    10) Scout 4. Bonus: Improved Skirmish. Skirmish 3d6AC+2/5d6+4.
    11) Highland Stalker 1.
    12) Highland Stalker 2. Feat: Two-Weapon Rend. Skirmish 4d6AC+2/6d6AC+4.
    13) Ranger 7. Skirmish 4d6AC+3/6d6AC+5.
    14) Ranger 8.
    15) Ranger 9. Feat: Robilar's Gambit. Skirmish 5d6AC+3/7d6AC+5.
    16) Ranger 10.
    17) Ranger 11. Bonus: Greater TWF. Skirmish 5d6AC+4/7d6AC+6.
    18) Ranger 12. Feat: Travel Devotion (x3)
    19) Ranger 13. Camouflage. Skirmish 6d6AC+4/8d6AC+6.
    20) Ranger 14. 4th level spells.

    b. TWF Pounce Swift Hunter

    This is pretty much the same build as above, except we want to add a dip into Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian for Pounce and Whirling Frenzy. Combat Reflexes/Double Hit comes in later, or you can put in Improved Bull Rush/Shock Trooper if you prefer. However, you'll want to keep in mind that Power Attack doesn't normally work with light weapons, so you'll want to consider picking up an item that can give you Improved Unarmed Strike for your offhand attacks. If you can get it approved by your DM, the City Brawler Barbarian ACF in Dragon #349 is ideal, and can be stacked with Spirit Lion Totem: Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat, TWF (unarmed strike only), and reduces the improvised weapon penalty to -2.


    Race: Human, Azurin, Strongheart Halfing, or Frostblood Orc/Half-Orc
    1) Ranger 1. Feat: Travel Devotion, Bonus: Power Attack, Bonus: Track
    2) Ranger 2. Bonus: TWF
    3) Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian 1. Feat: Travel Devotion (x2).
    4) Scout 1. Skirmish 1d6.
    5) Scout 2.
    6) Scout 3. Feat: Swift Hunter. Skirmish 1d6AC+1.
    7) Scout 4. Bonus: Improved Skirmish. Skirmish 2d6AC+1/4d6AC+3.
    8) Ranger 3. Bonus: Endurance. Skirmish 2d6AC+2/4d6AC+4.
    9) Ranger 4. Feat: Leap Attack (Complete Adventurer).
    10) Ranger 5. Skirmish 3d6AC+2/5d6AC+4.
    11) Ranger 6. Bonus: Improved TWF
    12) Highland Stalker 1. Feat: Combat Reflexes.
    13) Highland Stalker 2. Skirmish 4d6AC+2/6d6AC+4.
    14) Ranger 7. Skirmish 4d6AC+3/6d6AC+5.
    15) Ranger 8. Feat: Double Hit (Miniatures Handbook).
    16) Ranger 9. Skirmish 5d6AC+3/7d6AC+5.
    17) Ranger 10.
    18) Ranger 11. Feat: Travel Devotion (x3). Bonus: Greater TWF. Skirmish 5d6AC+4/7d6AC+6.
    19) Ranger 12.
    20) Ranger 13. Camouflage. Skirmish 6d6AC+4/8d6AC+6.

    Note: Replace Combat Reflexes/Double Hit with Bull Rush/Shock Trooper if you prefer.

    c. 10d6 Skirmish TWF Swift Hunter

    This build uses Dragon Devotee and Unseen Seer to advance skirmish damage more quickly, up to 10d6 with Improved Skirmish, which is about on par with Rogue 20. It's a bit complicated and doesn't give much room for anything else, but there's enough wiggle-room you can fit in a single level of something else, such as Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian (Pounce, Whirling Frenzy) or Soldier of Light (Deities & Demigods, provides Turn Undead for powering Travel Devotion). In this build I finished off with a level of Spellsword, as it grants +1 BAB and +1 Caster Level.


    Race: Human, Azurin, Strongheart Halfing, Frostblood Orc/Half-Orc
    1) Ranger 1. Feat: Travel Devotion, Bonus: Combat Reflexes, Bonus: Track. Favored Enemy: Undead.
    2) Ranger 2. Bonus: TWF
    3) Scout 1. Feat: Travel Devotion (x2). Skirmish 1d6
    4) Scout 2. Skirmish 1d6.
    5) Scout 3. Skirmish 1d6AC+1
    6) Scout 4. Feat: Swift Hunter. Bonus: Improved Skirmish. Skirmish 2d6AC+1/4d6AC+3.
    7) Ranger 3. Bonus: Endurance. Skirmish 2d6AC+2/4d6AC+4.
    8) Ranger 4. Bonus: Improved TWF (Champion of the Wild ACF)
    9) Ranger 5. Feat: Double Hit. Favored Enemy: Constructs. Skirmish 3d6AC+2/5d6AC+4.
    10) Dragon Devotee 1.
    11) Dragon Devotee 2. Skirmish 4d6AC+2/5d6AC+4
    12) Dragon Devotee 3. Feat: Travel Devotion (x3). 1st level Sorcerer casting (get at least 2 divination spells)
    13) Dragon Devotee 4. Skirmish 5d6AC+2/7d6AC+4
    14) Unseen Seer 1. Skirmish 6d6AC+2/8d6AC+4
    15) Spellsword 1. Feat: Robilar's Gambit.
    16) Unseen Seer 2. Advanced Learning: hunter's eye (PHBII).
    17) Unseen Seer 3.
    18) Unseen Seer 4. Feat: Greater TWF. Skirmish 7d6AC+2/9d6AC+4
    19) Highland Stalker 1.
    20) Highland Stalker 2. Skirmish 8d6AC+2/10d6AC+4

    d. Full BAB TWF Swift Hunter

    There is a way to get Swift Hunter and "Full BAB" into the same build. Highland Stalker 4 gives you Skirmish 1d6AC+1, and you can get into it with just 1d6 sneak attack, which we can get from Simple Fighter (Unearthed Arcana) or Ronin (Complete Warrior).


    Race: Human, Azurin, Strongheart Halfing, Frostblood Orc/Half-Orc
    1) Ranger 1. Feat: Travel Devotion, Bonus: Combat Reflexes, Bonus: Track
    2) Ranger 2. Bonus: TWF
    3) Ranger 3. Feat: Travel Devotion (x2). Bonus: Endurance
    4) Ranger 4. Distracting Attack ACF.
    5) Simple Fighter. Sneak Attack 1d6
    6) H.Stalker 1. Feat: Staggering Strike
    7) H.Stalker 2. Skirmish 1d6
    8) H.Stalker 3.
    9) H.Stalker 4. Feat: Swift Hunter. Skirmish 2d6AC+2.
    10) Ranger 5. Skirmish 3d6AC+2.
    11) Ranger 6. Bonus: Improved TWF
    12) Ranger 7. Feat: Double Hit. Skirmish 3d6AC+3.
    13) H.Stalker 5.
    14) H.Stalker 6. Skirmish 4d6AC+3
    15) Ranger 8. Feat: Imp. Skirmish. Skirmish 4d6AC+3/6d6AC+5
    16) Ranger 9. Skirmish 5d6AC+3/7d6AC+5
    17) Ranger 10.
    18) Ranger 11. Feat: Travel Devotion (x3) or Robilar's Gambit or Craven, Bonus: Greater TWF. Skirmish 5d6AC+4/7d6AC+6
    19) Ranger 12.
    20) Ranger 13. Skirmish 6d6AC+4/8d6AC+6

    e. Dragonsplits TWF Swift Hunter

    Dragonsplits are exotic weapons detailed on page 151 of MMIV. They're one-handed weapons, similar to shortswords, but they count as light weapons for the purposes of TWF and Weapon Finesse. For all other purposes, including Power Attack, they are treated as one-handed weapons, so we can use Exotic Weapon Master's Uncanny Blow to get a two-handed 2x damage multiplier. Now if we only knew how much they cost...


    Race: Human, Azurin, Strongheart Halfing, Frostblood Orc/Half-Orc
    1) Ranger 1. Feat: Travel Devotion, Bonus: EWP Dragonsplits, Bonus: Track
    2) Ranger 2. Bonus: TWF
    3) Scout 1. Feat: Weapon Focus. Skirmish 1d6
    4) Scout 2. Skirmish 1d6.
    5) Scout 3. Skirmish 1d6AC+1
    6) Scout 4. Feat: Swift Hunter. Bonus: Improved Skirmish. Skirmish 2d6AC+1/4d6AC+3.
    7) Ranger 3. Bonus: Endurance. Skirmish 2d6AC+2/4d6AC+4
    8) Exotic Weapon Master 1. Uncanny Blow.
    9) Ranger 4. Feat: Power Attack
    10) Ranger 5. Skirmish 3d6AC+2/5d6AC+4
    11) Ranger 6. Bonus: Improved TWF
    12) Highland Stalker 1. Feat: Combat Reflexes
    13) Highland Stalker 2. Skirmish 4d6AC+2/6d6AC+4
    14) Ranger 7. Skirmish 4d6AC+3/6d6AC+5
    15) Ranger 8. Feat: Double Hit
    16) Ranger 9. Skirmish 5d6AC+3/7d6AC+5
    17) Ranger 10.
    18) Ranger 11. Feat: Travel Devotion (x2). Bonus: Greater TWF. Skirmish 6d6AC+4/8d6AC+6
    19) Ranger 12.
    20) Ranger 13. Skirmish 7d6AC+4/9d6AC+6

    f. Net-and-Trident Style TWF Swift Hunter

    This build uses a weapon style feat to get a second 5' step after throwing a net, triggering Skirmish damage. It's a bit too tight on feats, though, so you have to use the Planar Ranger variant (Planar Handbook) to get Knowledge: the Planes 8, which allows you to take the Planar Touchstone feat and grab EWP:Net + WF:Net from the War domain power. If your character's religion might be a sticking point, you can choose to worship Istus (Living Greyhawk Deities 2.0), Sotillion (Living Greyhawk Deities 2.0), or Marduk (Sandstorm), all of whom have Favored Weapon: Net.


    Race: Human, Azurin, Strongheart Halfing, Frostblood Orc/Half-Orc
    1) Ranger 1. Feat: Travel Devotion, Bonus: Weapon Focus Trident, Bonus: Track
    2) Ranger 2. Bonus: TWF
    3) Scout 1. Feat: Quickdraw. Skirmish 1d6
    4) Scout 2. Skirmish 1d6.
    5) Scout 3. Skirmish 1d6AC+1
    6) Scout 4. Feat: Planar Touchstone -> War Domain (Net). Bonus: Swift Hunter. Skirmish 2d6AC+1.
    7) Ranger 3. Bonus: Endurance. Skirmish 2d6AC+2
    8) Exotic Weapon Master 1. Close-Quarters Ranged Combat.
    9) Ranger 4. Feat: Net and Trident Style
    10) Ranger 5. Skirmish 3d6AC+2
    11) Ranger 6. Bonus: Improved TWF
    12) Highland Stalker 1. Feat: Oversize TWF
    13) Highland Stalker 2. Skirmish 4d6AC+2
    14) Ranger 7. Skirmish 4d6AC+3
    15) Ranger 8. Feat: Improved Skirmish
    16) Ranger 9. Skirmish 5d6AC+3/7d6AC+5
    17) Ranger 10.
    18) Ranger 11. Feat: Travel Devotion (x2). Bonus: Greater TWF. Skirmish 6d6AC+4/8d6AC+6
    19) Ranger 12.
    20) Ranger 13. Skirmish 7d6AC+4/9d6AC+6

    g. Psionic Swift Hopper

    Psionics is one of my weak areas when it comes to optimization, but I've been working on improving my grasp of it. Here's a build that uses Mantled Wilder to combine dimension hop + synchronicity (2 PP) with Linked Power and Metapower (-2 PP). This lets you dimension hop 10' every round all day long for zero PP:

    Round 1: Swift action = dimension hop (expend focus). Standard action = attack/move/buff/whatever. Move action = regain psionic focus.
    Round 2: Swift action = dimension hop (expend focus). Full round = charge + pounce. After turn, readied action = regain focus via synchronicity.
    Round 3: Rinse & repeat.

    You may run into an argument that "teleport isn't moving, so it doesn't count for skirmish", but this still counts because you've still got a 10' charge + pounce for full attack. However, it doesn't quite work for Improved Skirmish, which has a slightly different requirement: "If you move at least 20 feet away from where you were at the start of your turn, your skirmish damage increases by 2d6 and your competence bonus to AC from skirmish improves by 2." Fortunately, Wilder 2 also lets you augment up to a 20' hop for 1 PP via Wild Surge, although this carries a 5% risk of getting dazed by Psychic Enervation. So let's add Quick Recovery (Lords of Madness) plus a level of Warblade for Moment of Perfect Mind, crank up our Concentration ranks, and keep a Third Eye Clarity (3000 GP, MIC) handy to remove daze in case bad luck strikes more than once an encounter. If you get hit by Psychic Enervation, then on your next turn spend a move action on Quick Recovery to make a will save, swift action on Moment of Perfect Mind to pass the save DC (11 + Cha bonus), standard action to attack/Mountain Hammer/whatever, and manifest synchronicity to regain your focus after your turn.

    If your DM allows expending your psionic focus to satisfy both Linked Power and Midnight Augmentation, then take Midnight Augmentation instead of Indigo Strike, and you can augment your hop up to 20' for zero PP. By RAW, Midnight Augmentation only cares if you expended your psionic focus, rather than requires you to expend your focus explicitly to activate Midnight Augmentation. However, some DMs may feel this is against the spirit of the rules, and require expending an additional psionic focus just for Midnight Augmentation. If so, then maybe you can add Psicrystal Affinity/Psicrystal Containment via flaws or feat swaps (Dark Chaos Shuffle Endurance/Heavy Armor Proficiency).


    Race: Silverbrow Human
    1) Mantled Wilder 1. Feat: Linked Power. Human: Quick Recovery.
    2) Scout 1. Skirmish 1d6.
    3) Mantled Wilder 2. Feat: Metapower. Mantle: Freedom.
    4) Scout 2.
    5) Scout 3. Skirmish 1d6AC+1.
    6) Ranger 1. Feat: Psionic Meditation. Bonus: Track. FE Undead
    7) Scout 4. Bonus: Swift Hunter. Skirmish 2d6AC+1.
    8) Ranger 2. Bonus: TWF.
    9) Barbarian 1. Feat: Improved Skirmish. Pounce (Spirit Lion), Whirling Frenzy ACF. Skirmish 2d6AC+1/4d6AC+3.
    10) Ranger 3. Bonus: Endurance. Skirmish 2d6AC+2/4d6AC+4.
    11) Ranger 4. Bonus: Improved TWF (Champion of the Wild ACF).
    12) Ranger 5. Feat: Dragonfire Strike. FE Constructs. Skirmish 4d6AC+2/6d6AC+4.
    13) Warblade 1. Punishing Stance, Moment of Perfect Mind, Mountain Hammer, Iron Heart Surge.
    14) Dragon Devotee 1.
    15) Dragon Devotee 2. Feat: Indigo Strike. Skirmish 5d6AC+2/7d6AC+4.
    16) Dragon Devotee 3. Sorcerer 1st.
    17) Dragon Devotee 4. Skirmish 6d6AC+2/8d6AC+4.
    18) Unseen Seer 1. Feat: Greater TWF. Skirmish 7d6AC+2/9d6AC+4.
    19) Highland Stalker 1.
    20) Highland Stalker 2. Skirmish 8d6AC+2/10d6AC+4.


  14. - Top - End - #14
    Titan in the Playground
    Darrin's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Cleveland, OH

    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    4. Tome of Battle

    Here are some builds I've managed to salvage from the ToB Build Compendium, which is in various stages of being eaten by the langoliers. This is not an exact archive, as I have re-categorized some things and left out some builds that were incomplete, illegal, or not particularly interesting.

    a. Stormguard Warrior

    Beshadowed Blade (by Tleilaxu_Ghola)

    Original post by Tleilaxu_Ghola

    Title: Beshadowed Blade
    Race: Human
    Build Stub: Swordsage 4/Warblade 1/Fighter 1/Blood Claw Master 2/Swordsage +1/Warblade +1/Fighter +1/Swordsage +1/Warblade +1/Swordsage +2/Warblade +1/Swordsage +4

    Build Progression:
    ----Class--------------MG---RM--St--Swap-IL(S/W)-Class Abilities-
    1. Warblade-----------+3----+4--+1-------1-------Weapon Aptitude
    2. Swordsage----------+6----+0--+1-------2-------Quick to Act +1
    3. Swordsage----------+1----+1--+0-------3-------AC bonus
    4. Swordsage----------+1----+0--+0---X---4-------Insightful Strike
    5. Swordsage----------+1----+3--+1-------4/3-----
    6. Fighter------------+0----+0--+0-------5/3-----
    7. Blood Claw Master--+1----+0--+0-------6/4-----Claws of the Beast, Shifting 1/day
    8. Blood Claw Master--+0----+0--+0-------7/4-----Superior TWF
    9. Swordsage----------+1----+1--+1-------8/5-----Quick to Act +2
    10.Warblade-----------+1----+0--+0-------8/6-----Uncanny Dodge
    13.Warblade-----------+1----+0--+0-------10/8----Battle Ardor
    14.Swordsage----------+1----+0--+0-------11/8----Sense Magic
    15.Swordsage----------+1----+1--+0---X---12/9----Discipline Focus (defensive stance)
    18.Swordsage----------+1----+1--+0---X---15/11---Quick to Act +3
    20.Swordsage----------+1----+0--+0---X---17/12---Insightful Strike
    MG = Maneuvers Gained
    RM = Readied Maneuvers gained
    Swap = you can swap out an old maneuver on an 'X'ed level
    IL = Initiator level
    (S/W) = Swordsage/Warblade

    1. Adaptive Style, (Weapon Finesse)
    2. (Weapon Focus (Tiger Claw))
    3. (Shadow Blade)
    6. Iron Heart Aura, (TWF)
    9. Stormguard Warrior
    11. (Improved TWF)
    12. Gloom Razor
    15. Greater TWF
    18. Martial Maneuver (Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip)

    Abilities: DEX>WIS>CON>STR>INT>CHA

    Advantages the build offers:
    • High Degree of DEX & Wis Synergy: You gain dex to attack and dex to damage at level 3. You gain Wis to AC at level 3 and Wis to damage (on Tiger Claw strikes) at 9th level.
    • High AC: Due to the fact that dex and wisdom both contribute to your AC, and you may wear light armor (read mithril breast plate), you have pretty good AC.
    • No TWF penalty: At 8th level you don't take any penalty for wielding two tiger claw weapons. Also gets full strength bonus to both on and off-hand attacks (at level 7).
    • Stormguard Warrior: Access to stormguard warrior + TWF essentially enables this character to deliver highly damaging, yet highly accurate attacks.
    • Gloom Razor: Mixed with many shadow hand maneuvers/boosts this feat is incredible as it is capable of rendering opponents flat-footed without an opposing check. Your rogue will appreciate this
    • White Raven TacticS: Gains the ability to grab this maneuver at level 10. Thanks to the warblade recovery system, this could be employed multiple times in an encounter if need be.
    • Good initiative: Not astoundingly high, but the good dex synergy + quick to act gives a total of 3+dex to initiative.
    • Access to 9th level maneuvers by 20th level. Dual progression provides a large store of maneuvers at the beginning of combat.

    Beshadowed Blade v2 (by Gaffer)

    Original post by Gaffer:

    Well, I posted the Beshadowed Blade v2 in it's own post, but I figured I'd throw it up in here as well.

    The following build is an adaptation of T_G's Beshadowed Blade. Many thanks to Tleilaxu_Ghola for the original Beshadowed Blade and his help and patience as I harassed him with PMs.

    I made a couple changes in the progression to get rid of XP penalties. I really like the build as a whole, but I need some advice on maneuvers!

    Title: Beshadowed Blade v2
    Race: Human
    Build Stub: Swordsage 3/Fighter 1/Warblade 1/Swordsage +1/Blood Claw Master 2/Fighter +1/Warblade +1/Swordsage +2/Warblade +1/Swordsage +4/Blood Claw Master +1/Swordsage +2

    The exact progression is viewable in the original post.

    1. Adaptive Style, (Shadow Blade), (Weapon Focus: Shadow Hand)
    3. Weapon Finesse
    4. (TWF)
    6. Iron Heart Aura
    9. Stormguard Warrior, (ITWF)
    12. Gloom Razor
    15. GTWF
    18. Free - Blade Meditation, Martial Maneuver/Study, I don't know

    Abilities: DEX>WIS>CON>STR>INT>CHA

    Advantages the build offers

    * High Degree of DEX & Wis Synergy: You gain dex to attack at level 3 and dex to damage at level 1. You gain Wis to AC at level 2 and Wis to damage on two schools of strikes.
    * High AC: Due to the fact that dex and wisdom both contribute to your AC, and you may wear light armor (read mithril breast plate), you have pretty good AC. Let's not forget about Evasion at level 16 (kinda late, but oh well) and Uncanny Dodge at level 10.
    * No TWF penalty: At 8th level you don't take any penalty for wielding two tiger claw weapons. Also gets full strength bonus to both on and off-hand attacks (at level 7).
    * Stormguard Warrior: Access to stormguard warrior + TWF essentially enables this character to deliver highly damaging, yet highly accurate attacks.
    * Gloom Razor: Mixed with many shadow hand maneuvers/boosts this feat is incredible as it is capable of rendering opponents flat-footed without an opposing check. Your rogue will appreciate this. It also synergizes quite well with both the Child of Shadow and Island of Blades stances, granting a flat-footed opponent almost every round or near constant concealment.
    * White Raven Tactics: Gains the ability to grab this maneuver at level 10. Thanks to the warblade recovery system, this could be employed multiple times in an encounter if need be.
    * Good initiative: Not astoundingly high, but the good dex synergy + quick to act gives a total of 3+dex to initiative.
    * Access to 9th level maneuvers by 20th level. Dual progression provides a large store of maneuvers at the beginning of combat.
    * Good saves: F/R/W of 13/12/10 at 20th level.

    Basically what I'm looking for is advice on maneuvers and stances. I need:

    3 Tiger Claw by level 6
    1 Shadow Hand stance by level 3
    1 Iron Heart stance by level 6 (Punishing Stance)
    2 Iron Heart Maneuvers by level 9 (Punishing Stance + Wall of Blades I think)
    2 Shadow Hand maneuvers by level 12
    1 White Raven maneuver by level 10 (for White Raven Tactics)

    Thanks in advance.

    Edit: Fixed progression.

    Original post by Gaffer:

    NONE of these builds do what they're supposed to do, as the stupid SSN flurry progression only reduces penalties, it doesn't give extra attacks.

    Here's what I've got thus far. They're all fairly similar, and emphasize GTWF, Stormguard, Shadow Blade, 16 BAB, and Greater Flurry.
    Version 1 - TWF
    Warblade 1 - (Martial Study: Counter Charge), TWF
    Warblade 2
    Warblade 3 - Martial Study: Shadow Jaunt
    Warblade 4
    Sleeping Tiger Monk 1 - (Weapon Finesse)
    SSN 1 - Carmendine Monk/Kung-Fu Genius
    SSN 2
    SSN 3
    Warblade 5 - (Iron Heart Aura), Stormguard Warrior
    Warblade 6
    SSN 4
    SSN 5 - Shadow Blade
    SSN 6
    SSN 7
    SSN 8 - ITWF
    SSN 9
    SSN 10
    Warblade 7 - GTWF
    Warblade 8
    Warblade 9

    Dex > Int > Con > Str > Wis > Cha

    The IL progression and the new maneuvers gained meshes pretty well. You could drop that Warblade 6 for Monk 2 if you wanted evasion, but you lose a swap level. You could also insert levels of Warblade in past SSN 5 for particular maneuvers, but you'd lose the 3 level 9s you get.

    The bumber is how late Shadow blade comes in.

    Version 2a - TWF
    Warblade 1 - (Martial Study: Counter Charge), TWF
    Sleeping Tiger Monk 1 - (Weapon Finesse)
    Warblade 2 - Carmendine Monk/Kung-Fu Genius
    Fighter 1 - (Martial Study: Shadow Jaunt)
    Warblade 3
    SSN 1 - Iron Heart Aura
    SSN 2
    SSN 3
    SSN 4 - ITWF
    SSN 5
    SSN 6
    SSN 7 - Stormguard Warrior/Shadow Blade
    SSN 8
    SSN 9
    SSN 10 - Shadow Blade/Stormguard Warrior
    Warblade 4
    Warblade 5 - (Warblade Feat)
    Warblade 6 - GTWF
    Warblade 7
    Warblade 8

    Again, Shadow blade comes in late, but we see more bonus feats.

    Version 2b - TWF
    Warblade 1 - (Martial Study: Counter Charge), TWF
    Sleeping Tiger Monk 1 - (Weapon Finesse)
    Warblade 2 - Carmendine Monk/Kung-Fu Genius
    Fighter 1 - (Martial Study: Shadow Jaunt)
    Warblade 3
    SSN 1 - (Open Feat)
    SSN 2
    SSN 3
    SSN 4 - ITWF
    Warblade 4
    Warblade 5 - (Iron Heart Aura)
    SSN 5 - Stormguard Warrior
    SSN 6
    SSN 7
    SSN 8 - Shadow Blade
    SSN 9
    SSN 10
    Warblade 6 - GTWF
    Warblade 7
    Warblade 8

    This version basically just gets Ironheart Aura for free.

    Another option would be to skip Shadow Blade completely, as well as the TWF line, and go for an AoO build using stuff like Karmic Strike, Robilar's Gambit, Stormguard Warrior and maybe Defensive Throw. Passive Way or Invisible Eye monks would work well here, depending on your penchant for tripping. Even normal monk would be fine.

    Version 3 - AoOs
    Warblade 1 - (Martial Study: Counter Charge), Carmendine Monk/Kung-Fu Genius
    Warblade 2
    Warblade 3 - Martial Study: Shadow Jaunt
    Cobra Strike Monk 1 - (Dodge)
    Fighter 1 - (Combat Expertise)
    SSN 1 - Karmic Strike
    SSN 2
    Warblade 4
    Warblade 5 - (Iron Heart Aura), Stormguard Warrior
    SSN 4
    SSN 5 - Snap Kick
    SSN 6
    SSN 7
    SSN 8 - Combat Reflexes
    SSN 9
    SSN 10
    Warblade 7 - Robilar's Gambit
    Warblade 8
    Warblade 9

    Str > Int > Con > Dex > Wis > Cha, assuming we don't want dex to actually make multiple AoOs. You will need at least 13 for Karmic Strike, though.

    Fortunately you don't need Combat Reflexes early, as refraining from taking AoOs doesn't use up your 1 AoO each round

    You could also just skip all this combat style nonsense and take Improved Natural attack, Superior Unarmed Strike, and Snap Kick, then beef up your unarmed damage.
    Version 4 - Power Fist
    Warblade 1 - (Martial Study: Counter Charge), Carmendine Monk/Kung-Fu Genius
    Warblade 2
    Warblade 3 - Martial Study: Shadow Jaunt
    Monk 1 - (Stunning Fist)
    Monk 2 - (Combat Reflexes)
    SSN 1 - Superior Unarmed Strike
    SSN 2
    Warblade 4
    Warblade 5 - (Iron Heart Aura), Stormguard Warrior
    SSN 4
    SSN 5 - Snap Kick
    SSN 6
    SSN 7
    SSN 8 - Superior Unarmed Strike
    SSN 9
    SSN 10
    Warblade 7 - Robilar's Gambit
    Warblade 8
    Warblade 9

    Str > Int > Con > Dex = Wis > Cha

    With a Monk's belt we deal damage as though we were a 21st level Monk, so 2d10, which is increased 1 step by Improved Natural Attack to, what, 4d8?

    All the maneuvers and levels can be swapped around somewhat to get in key maneuvers when we want them (ie: the mongoose twins, pouncing charge, and so on), but we do sacrifice higher level maneuvers from various schools.

    Edit: Shou Disciple, if it grants flurry, would be another cool option to throw in there. It requires a ton of feats, unfortunately. Maybe Warblade 4/Fighter 1/SSN 1/Shou Disciple 2/Warblade +1/Shou Disciple +1/SSN +9/Warblade +1. All this really does is let you flurry with light weapons and keep a slightly higher BAB, so I'm not sure it's worth it.

    Any thoughts?

    Rhythm & Blues (by DisposableHero_)

    Original post by DisposableHero_

    Title: Rhythm and Blues
    Race: Human
    Build Stub: Warblade 13/Fighter 2/Bloodclaw Master 5 (see progression for order)
    Build Progression:
    lvl Class Feats
    1 Warblade1 Two Weapon Fighting, (Combat Expertise)
    2 Warblade2
    3 Warblade3 Combat Reflexes
    4 Warblade4
    5 Warblade5 (Ironheart Aura)
    6 Fighter1 Stormguard Warrior, (Improved Two Weapon Fighting)
    7 Bloodclaw1
    8 Bloodclaw2
    9 Bloodclaw3 Karmic Strike
    10 Bloodclaw4
    11 Fighter2 (Two Weapon Rend)
    12 Bloodclaw5 Greater Two Weapon Fighting
    13 Warblade6
    14 Warblade7
    15 Warblade8 Double Hit
    16 Warblade9 (Improved Initiative)
    17 Warblade10
    18 Warblade11 Improved Critical
    19 Warblade12
    20 Warblade13 (Blade Meditation [Tiger Claw])

    Warblade, Initator Level 19, 13 Maneuvers Known, 6 Readied/Encounter, 3 Stances

    Disciplines to Focus on: Iron Heart, Tiger Claw, Diamond Mind

    Yet another Stormguard Warrior TWF build, this one is a little bit different, it has a very specific set of high level maneuvers (namely: Avalanche of Blades, Raging Mongoose, Adamantine Whirlwind, and Time Stands Still) and is designed to have game against more than one target at a time.

    Against single opponents, it can drum up the usual Avalanche Rhythm -> Mongoose/Time Stands Still for massive damage, a great opening strike.

    Once that is expended, spend your swift action to refresh your maneuvers, followed by the standard action flourish and move to your next target (be sure to pass through their threat range as much as possible and provoke AoOs until they can retaliate no more) ignore all opportunities to channel the storm (which charges twice as fast thanks to double hit). Having built up a massive excess attack bonus from channel the storm, proceed to avalanche (you likely won't need to finish the combo to down them as you've built up a solid damage bonus from channel the storm and the attack bonus will greatly improve the output of your avalanche)

    If faced with a horde of weaker enemies, use Adamantine Hurricane, make one attack with each weapon against each foe (avalanche doesn't state that each attack must be made with the same weapon) and tack on big damage with Two Weapon Rend. When they turn to attack you, they'll find every attack they make met with Karmic Strike + Double Hit + Two Weapon Rend.

    Against high AC targets you can wrack up solid damage by making Rhythm attacks followed by a TWRend with +10 or more bonus damage.

    For Stances at low levels both Punishing Stance and Blood in the Water will wrack up exceptional bonus damage (Blood in particular as you can critical easily with a pair of 18-20 weapons when making touch attacks), later on Dancing Blade Form will give extended reach for an Adamantine Hurricane, Supreme Blade Parry will significantly reduce the sting of provoking all those AoOs and from the low AC that karmic strike mandates.

    The real high level stance of note however is prey on the weak, which when combined with the Adamantine Hurricane/Two Weapon Rend combo above will allow you to slay weakened foes within reach and use the follow up AoOs to either slay other foes in the area, or generate a massive follow up Avalanche or Raging Mongoose with either Combat Rhythm or Channel the Storm.

    My Love for Stormguard Warrior is beyond words.

    Scar (by wolfie-kun)

    Original post by wolfie-kun:

    Going for something that looks a lot like a watered-down version of T_G's Feral Dreadlord build here. Small number of sneak attack dice, along with a strong, reliable way to deliver them.

    Name: Scar
    Race: Human
    Build Stub: Warblade 1/Rogue 1/Swordsage 1/Warblade +4/Swordsage +1/Warblade +12

    1st: EWP (bastard sword)/Weapon Finesse, (TWF)
    3rd: Oversized TWF/Shadow Blade
    6th: Combat Reflexes
    7th: (White Raven Defense)
    9th: Clarion Commander
    12th: Stormguard Warrior, (Iron Heart Aura)
    15th: ITWF
    16th: (Imp Init/Quick Draw)
    18th: GTWF or Power Attack

    Warblade: 12 maneuvers known, 6 readied/encounter.
    Level Maneuver Stance<br />
    1st Moment of Perfect Mind (DM 1) Blood in the Water (TC 1)<br />
    Wolf Fang Strike (TC 1)<br />
    Douse the Flames (WR 1)<br />
    2nd* Mountain Hammer (SD 2) none<br />
    3rd Emerald Razor (DM 2) none<br />
    4th none Absolute Steel Stance (IH 3)<br />
    Swap-Wolf Fang Strike for<br />
    Iron Heart Surge (IH 3)
    <br />
    5th White Raven Tactics (WR 3) none<br />
    6th none none<br />
    Swap-Moment of Perfect Mind for<br />
    Action Before Thought (DM 2)
    <br />
    7th Covering Strike (WR 4) none<br />
    8th none none<br />
    Swap- Douse the Flames for<br />
    Flesh Ripper (TC 3)
    <br />
    9th Dancing Mongoose (TC 5) none<br />
    10th none Dancing Blade Form (IH 5)<br />
    Swap-Action Before Thought for <br />
    Disrupting Blow (DM 5)
    <br />
    11th Pouncing Charge (TC 5) none<br />
    12th none none<br />
    Swap-Action Before Thought for <br />
    Quicksilver Motion (DM 7)
    <br />
    13th Avalanche of Blades (DM 7) none<br />
    14th none none<br />
    Swap-Mountain Hammer for<br />
    Raging Mongoose (TC 8)
    <br />
    15th Adamantine Hurricane (IH 8) none<br />
    16th none Supreme Blade Parry (IH 8)<br />
    Swap-Elder Mountain Hammer for<br />
    Time Stands Still (DM 9)
    <br />
    17th Feral Death Blow (TC 9) none

    *=IL increases by 1 from levels in Rogue and Swordsage

    Swordsage: Initiator Levels 2:5, 7 maneuvers known, 4 readied/encounter.
    Level Maneuver Stance<br />
    1st Sapphire Nightmare Blade (DM 1) Island of Blades (SH 1)<br />
    Burning Blade (DW 1)<br />
    Distracting Ember (DW 1)<br />
    Counter Charge (SS 1)<br />
    Mighty Throw (SS 1)<br />
    Sudden Leap (TC 1)<br />
    2nd* Cloak of Deception (SH 2) Assassin's Stance (SH 3)

    *=IL increases by 3 from levels in Warblade

    Abilities: Str>Dex>Con>Int>Wis>Cha (the order on the character sheet...>.>)

    BAB: +18/+13/+8/+3

    Saves: Fort +10, Ref +10, Will +8. Rather average, really.

    Total Maneuvers Known/Readied Per Encounter: 19 known, 10 readied/encounter.

    Tricks: All the standard ToB TWFer tricks are here, with Avalanche of Blades + Combat Rhythm rearing its head yet again. Consistent bonus damage comes from sneak attack (flanking or being invisible), Burning Blade, and large numbers of attacks (Dancing/Raging Mongoose, WRT).

    In addition, this build makes use of Clarion Commander to gain its final +3d6 sneak attack damage on most full attacks.

    Weapon Aptitude allows Scar to grab a spiked chain should he need it, and Combat Reflexes takes advantage of that fact.

    Overall, Scar is quite a simple build, not too strong, and I think he's very much playable from 1-20 in any game. He shouldn't be outshining anyone, really--except when it comes to showing off.

    Recommended equipment: Two +X bastard swords of the appropriate martial disciplines and a spiked chain of the appropriate disciplines for weaponry. A +X Mithral breastplate or mithral chain for armor (or better, depending on Dex...there's a delicate balancing act here over the max Dex of the armor). And stat-boosting items. Everything but Cha will help somehow, and even a little Cha can be useful in making that DC 20 Intimidate check for Clarion Commander.

    Master of Chains and Apprentice of Chains (by snizor)

    Original post by snizor:

    Just concocted another build for this board. This build is a simple single class Warblade using multiweapon fighting. Without further ado, here's The Master of Chains

    Name: The Master of Chains
    Race: Thri-Kreen (non-psionic)
    Build Stub: Thri-kreen 3 (2hd, la+1)/ Warblade 17

    Feats: (By ECL)
    1. Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Kurasi-gama from DMG), (Deflect Arrows)
    4. Multiweapon Fighting
    7. Weapon Finesse
    8. (Iron Heart Aura)
    10. Stormguard Warrior
    12. (Combat Reflexes)
    13. Improved Multiweapon Fighting
    16. Robilar’s Gambit + (Improved Initiative)
    19. Greater Multiweapon Fighting
    20. (Warblade Bonus Feat)

    Stances: (By ECL)
    Lvl 4. Punishing Stance (IH 1)
    Lvl 7. Leaping Dragon Stance (TC 3)
    Lvl 13. Dancing Blade Form (IH 5)
    Lvl 19. Wolf Pack Tactics (TC 8)

    Maneuvers: 12 known, 6 readied. Initiator Lvl 18

    Recommended Equipment: 4 +1 Wounding Kurasi-gamas (Season with any additional enhancments you wish) and a +1 Mouthpick Wounding Spiked Chain (Mouthpick weapons replace natural bite attack, wielder automatically considered proficient in use when wielded in mouth)

    Maneuver Progression (BY ECL):
    1. none
    2. none
    3. none
    4. Wolf Fang Strike (TC 1), Sudden Leap (TC 1), Moment of Perfect Mind (DM 1)
    5. Wall of Blades (IH 2)
    6. Claw at the Moon (TC 2)
    7. swap Wolf Fang Strike for Iron Heart Surge (IH 3)
    8. Soaring Raptor Strike (TC 3)
    9. Emerald Razor (DM 2)
    10. swap Claw at the Moon for Fountain of Blood (TC 4)
    11. Dancing Mongoose (TC 5)
    12. swap Sudden Leap for Pouncing Strike (TC 5)
    13. Moment of Alacrity (DM 6)
    14. swap Soaring Raptor Strike for Lightning Recovery (IH 4)
    15. Quicksilver Motion (DM 7)
    16. swap Wall of Blades for Manticore Parry (IH 6)
    17. Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip (TC 8)
    18. swap Fountain of Blood for Raging Mongoose (TC 8)
    19. Time Stands Still (DM 9)
    20. swap Moment of Perfect Mind for Diamond Defense (DM 8)


    Lvl 5-

    hd: 2d8 + 2+12
    BAB: +4
    Full Attack: 4 Kurasi-Gama +2/+2/+2/+2
    Initiator level: 3
    Stances Known: Punishing Stance (IH 1)
    Maneuvers known/readied: 4/3 (Moment of Perfect Mind, Wolf Fang Strike, Sudden Leap, Wall of Blades)
    Readied: All but Wolf Fang Strike (TC 1).
    Special: STR to-hit/STR to-damage

    The Master of Chains should use Sudden Leap (TC 1) along with his +30 racial bonus to jump checks enter combat swiftly so that he can perform a full-attack on round one. Wall of Blades (IH 2) and Moment of Perfect Mind (DM 1) serve as defensive measures. Punishing stance should be left on by default (if you really need the +2 armor class, use a swift action in combat to exit the stance) so that the build has an effective low-level source of bonus damage.

    Lvl 10-

    hd: 2d8 +7d12
    BAB: +9
    Full Attack: 1 Spiked Chain +4 Kurasi-Gama +7/+7/+7/+7/+7/+2
    Initiator level: 8
    Stances Known: Punishing Stance (IH 1), Leaping Dragon Stance (TC 3)
    Maneuvers known/readied: 7/4 (Sudden Leap, Moment of Perfect Mind, Wall of Blades, Iron Heart Surge, Soaring Raptor Strike, Emerald Razor, Fountain of Blood)
    Ready: Sudden Leap (TC 1), Iron Heart Surge (IH 3), Wall of Blades (IH 2), Soaring Raptor Strike (TC 3)

    Now ToB starts to pay off with the acquisition of Stormguard Warrior. Combat now revolves around juggling the # of regular attacks vs. the # of Stormgaurd Warrior touch attacks to maximize damage output. Leaping Dragon Stance should now be the default out-of-combat stance. Makes Sudden Leap even more effective at hurling him into the fray. Iron Heart Surge and Wall of Blades serve as defensive measures since we have yet to reach the truely effective strikes and boosts (which begin with level 5 maneuvers). Soaring Raptor Strike is a backup in case the Master of Chains can not perform a full-attack action against an opponent for some reason. Once the Master of Chains has entered combat, it may be beneficial to switch to Punishing Stance in order to increase dmg output. Usually, it will be in his best interest to sub out the last attack for a Stormguard Warrior touch attack (other attack subbing is dependent on many outside factors such as opponents's ac).

    Lvl 15-

    hd: 2d8+12d12
    BAB: +14
    Full Attack: 1 Spiked Chain + 4 Kurasi-Gama +12/+12/+12/+12/+12/+7/+7/+7/+7/+7/+2 (11 attacks)
    Initiator Level: 13
    Stances known: Punishing Stance (IH 1), Leaping Dragon Stance (TC 3), Dancing Blade Form (IH 5)
    Maneuvers known/readied: 9/5 (Moment of Perfect Mind, Wall of Blades, Emerald Razor, Fountain of Blood, Lightning Recovery, Dancing Mongoose, Pouncing Charge, Moment of Alacrity, Quicksilver Motion)
    Ready: Pouncing Charge (TC 5), Dancing Mongoose (TC 5), Iron Heart Surge (IH 3), Moment of Perfect Mind (DM 1), Moment of Alacrity (DM 6)

    The Master of Chains finally is beginning to come together. The default Stance should now be Dancing Blade Form since the swapping out of Sudden Leap makes Leaping Dragon Stance rather useless. Enter combat using Pouncing Charge the same way that Sudden Leap was used earlier (with either Moment of Alacrity for Initiative bonus or Dancing Mongoose for extra attacks as his swift/immediate action for the round. Stay the maximum distance possible from the opponent to maximize the more advantageous reach from Dancing Blade Form. As with level 10, the Master of Chains should be managing the use of Stormguard Warrior with his Iternerative attacks.

    Lvl 20-

    hd: 2d8+17d12
    BAB: +19
    Full Attack: 1 Spiked Chain +4 Kurasi-Gama +17/+17/+17/+17/+17/+12/+12/+12/+12/+12/+7/+7/+7/+7/+7/+2(16 attacks)
    Initiator Level: 18
    Stances known: Punishing Stance (IH 1), Leaping Dragon Stance (TC 3), Dancing Blade Form (IH 5), Wolf Pack Tactics (TC 8)
    Maneuvers known/readied: 12/6 (Emerald Razor, Iron Heart Surge, Dancing Mongoose, Pouncing Charge, Lightning Recovery, Manticore Parry, Moment of Alacrity, Quicksilver Motion, Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip, Raging Mongoose, Diamond Defense, Time Stands Still)
    Ready: Time Stands Still (DM 9), Raging Mongoose (TC 8), Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip (TC 8), Pouncing Charge (TC 5), Diamond Defense (DM 8), Quicksilver Motion (DM 7)

    Now the Stormguard Warrior bonus damage machine is fully operational. Use Robilar’s Gambit + Channel the Storm, as well as Combat Rhythm + GMWF to rack up a high damage bonus. Tactics are essentially the same as they have been since day one: enter combat quickly and rip the enemy to shreds. The default stance at level twenty should be Wolf Pack Tactics (TC 8). This stance allows for pseudo-Dervish Dancing with full attacks and 10ft reach (see Dance of Blood and Gore combo). All the other stances are FAR inferior in terms of raw power; to the point that the only stance the Master of Chains needs is Wolf Pack Tactics. The second best stance at this level is actually Punishing Stance, since the bonus damage can really add up at this level (though he will hardly EVER be in this stance regardless).


    Min level 19-
    Dance of Blood and Gore: Greater Multiweapon Fighting (F)+ Time Stands Still (DM 9)+ Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip (TC 8)+ Wolf Pack Tactics (TC 8)- With a base of 16 attacks ( 4 Mouthpick Spiked Chain + 3 (GMWF) x 4 (# of off-hand weapons), Time Stands Still gives us 32 attacks. Each time The Master of Chains hits an opponent, he can make a 5ft step (Max base speed). The use of a reach weapon allows for movement as long as an enemy is within a 10ft radius. 32 attacks is exactly enough to deal maximum rend damage to 4 opponents with Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip (use extra attacks from sources such as haste to make up for misses). Basically, this this Dervish Dancing, ToB style. Don’t forget the con damage from the wounding property.

    Swarm of Ravenous Chains: GMWF (F)+ Time Stands Still (DM 9)+ Raging Mongoose (TC 8)- Use this after Lull Before the Storm to maximize the benefit. Combo is pretty self-explanitory, lots of attacks+ a large dmg bonus= dead

    Min level 16-
    Lull Before the Storm: Stormguard Warrior (Combat Rhythm)+ GMWF (F)+ Combat Reflexes (F)+ Robilar’s Gambit (F)+ Stormguard Warrior (Channel the Storm)- Use GMWF + Combat Rhythm to trade out a full attack for an equal number of touch attacks, each giving +5dmg on the next round. If your opponent foolishly decides to attack you, you should have Robilar’s Gambit active, trading out the aoo for a +4 to hit and to damage for the next round. Next round unleash one of the other combos.

    Min level 12-
    Crouching Tiger, Leaping Thri-Kreen: GMWF (F)+ Pouncing Charge (TC 5) + Raging Mongoose (TC 8) OR GMWF (F)+ Quicksilver Motion (DM 7)+ Time Stands Still (DM 9)- Use after Lull Before the Storm if the opponent from last round has moved out of your 10ft reach. Allows you to make a full attack (or two) after moving.

    Min level 7-
    Mantis Leap: Leaping Dragon Stance (TC 3)+ Sudden Leap (TC 1)+ Racial bonus to Jump checks- allows for the Master of Chains to enter combat with mearly a swift action, allowing for full-attack on round one of combat.

    Note: Min level of combo may use lower tier versions of feats/maneuvers

    Edit: this build can technically be done with the psionic Thri-Kreen (Initiator level 17). Just move the ECL of feat aquisition and maneuver progression up by one (lose the Warblade bonus feat at level 20). Not Reccomended though.

    Apprentice of Chains (by snizor)

    Finally, I've got yet another build to post (I have A LOT of free time nowadays). It's a slightly different take on AoO optimazation utilizing Double Hit from the Minis Handbook and the Kusari-Gama from the DMG (Asian Weapons section).

    Name: Apprentice of Chains
    Race: Human
    Build: Fighter 2/Warblade 5/ Exotic Weapon Master 1/ Crusader 2/ Warblade +10

    1. EWP: Kusari-Gama, (TWF), (Weapon Finesse)
    2. (Weapon Focus: Kusari-Gama)
    3. Stand Still
    6. Improved TWF
    7. (Combat Reflexes)
    9. Double Hit
    12. Robilar’s Gambit
    14. (Improved Initiative)
    15. Greater TWF
    18. Stormguard Warrior, (Iron Heart Aura)

    Notable Class Abilities/Features:
    Battle Mastery (Warblade 15)- INT to Attack and Damage Rolls for AoO
    Exotic Reach (Exotic Weapon Master 1)- AoO can be used against foes with cover
    Double Hit (Feat)- attacks with off-hand weapon during AoO
    Thicket of Blades (Stance)- Any movement provokes AoO

    Stances: Stance of Clarity (DM 1), Pearl of Black Doubt (DM 3), Martial Spirit (DS 1), Thicket of Blades (DS 3), (Any 6th level or lower Warblade stance)

    Maneuver Known/Readied:
    Warblade: 11/6- Initiator Lvl 17
    Crusader: 5/5(2) Initiator Lvl 11

    Maneuver Progression:

    3. Wolf Fang Strike (TC 1), Steel Wind (IH 1), Moment of Perfect Mind (DM 1)
    Stance: Stance of Clarity (DM 1)
    4. Wall of Blades (IH 2)
    5. Sudden Leap (TC 1)
    6. swap Steel Wind for Iron Heart Surge
    Stance: Pearl of Black Doubt (DM 3)
    7. Flesh Ripper (TC 3)
    9. Foehammer (DS 2), Revitalizing Strike (DS 3), Defensive Rebuke (DS 3), Leading the Attack (WR 1), White Raven Tactics (WR 3)
    Stance: Martial Spirit (DS 1)
    10. Stance: Thicket of Blades (DS 3)
    11. swap Wolf Fang Strike for Lightning Recovery (IH 4)
    12. Pouncing Charge (TC 5)
    13. swap Flesh Ripper for Dancing Mongoose (TC 5)
    14. Moment of Alacrity (DM 6)
    15. swap Lightning Recovery for Manticore Parry (IH 6)
    Stance: xxx
    16. Quicksilver Motion (DM 7)
    17. swap Sudden Leap for Swooping Dragon Strike (TC 7)
    18. Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip (TC 8)
    19. swap Dancing Mongoose for Raging Mongoose (TC 8)
    20. Time Stands Still (DM 9)


    Level 5: This build starts life as nothing more than a quirky TWF-build. The Kusari-Gama has 10ft reach and is light so its AoO and TWF capabilities are not unduely handicapped by either short reach or massive off-hand penalties.

    Level 10: Here's where the core tricks of this build reveal themselves. Improved TWF + Combat Reflexes + Thicket of Blades + Double Hit means that this build will have a butt-load of attacks both during and out-of his turn. Stand Still prevents enemies from escaping TWF range.

    Level 15: Further refinement of the TWF-AoO style has cometh. If your opponent tries to move away from you, Thicket of Blades + Stand Still keeps them where they are for a TWF full-attack next turn. When your enemy tries to attack you, you get 2 hits for each attack they make due to Robilar's Gambit. Wall of Blades (IH 2) and Manticore Parry (IH 6) provide ways of negating an opponent's attack. By now, the Wounding or Greater Wounding property should be on your Kusari-Gamas, making the plethora of attacks this build generates all the more deadly.

    Level 20: The build has a nearly-complete package of ToB TWF awsomeness (Raging Mongoose, Time Stands Still, ect.) and a formidable AoO engine to back it up.

    Recomended items:
    2 +1 Greater Wounding (MM 2) Kusari-Gamas (50,000 gp each)
    Greater Iron Ward Diamond (MiC)- 8,000gp
    +3 Animate Shield- 25,000gp

    Version 2.0
    Build: PsyWarrior 1/Fighter 1/ Warblade 5/ PsyWarrior +1/ Crusader 2/ Warblade +1/ Fighter +1/ Warblade +8
    1. EWP: Kusari-gama, (TWF), (Weapon Finesse)
    2. (Dodge)
    3. Stand Still
    6. Improved TWF
    7. (Combat Reflexes)
    8. (Mobility)
    9. Double Hit
    12. Elusive Target, (Greater TWF)
    15. Robilar's Gambit, (Ironheart Aura)
    18. Stormguard Warrior
    19. (Improved Initiative)

    Edit: Swapped Defensive Sweep for Stormguard Warrior

    Sir Ownsalot (by Tleilaxu_Ghola)

    Original post by Tleilaxu_Ghola

    Name: Sir Ownsalot
    Race: Human
    Build Stub:Fighter 1/Warblade 1/Fighter +1/Warblade +2/Bloodstorm Blade 4/Exotic Weapon's Master +1/Fighter +2/Psychic Warrior +2/Bloodstorm Blade +6
    1. EWP (Talenta Boomerang), (Point Blank Shot), (Precise Shot)
    3. Ironheart Aura, (TWF)
    6. Boomerang Daze
    8. (Weapon Focus [Talenta Boomerang])
    9. Stormguard Warrior
    12. Boomerang Ricochet, (Improved TWF)
    13. (Rapid Shot)
    14. (Many Shot)
    15. Greater TWF
    16. (Improved Rapid Shot)
    18. Weapon Specialization [Talenta Boomerang]
    19. (Ranged Weapon Mastery)

    So attack bonus (without speed) looks like this:
    (Assume Strength 30 & +5 weapon)

    [10 STR + 19 BAB + 1 Focus + 2 Mastery + 5 enhancement -1 (TWF penalty)] = +36.

    Full attack = +36/+36/+36/+31/+31/+26/+26/+21

    Now assuming all of these attacks hit the first round (as melee touch attacks) we get a +40 bonus to damage. Not bad. Remember though, we can add our strength into these damage figures (palm throw used to negate that).

    Damage Calculations:
    Primary hand (5 attacks): [10 STR + 5 enhancement + 40 unnamed + 1d4 +2 specialization +2 mastery]
    Off-hand (3 attacks): [5 STR + 5 enhancement + 40 unnamed + 1d4 +2 specialization +2 mastery]

    That's a total of 477 damage to both targets (with ricochet) and the DC daze effect is 72 for the primary hand and 67 for the off-hand.

    Now, if we add in speed (as last time) the unnamed bonus to damage goes up by 10, increasing those daze DCs by 10. The total comes out to 695 damage. Not quite to it's former glory, but much more legal. I highly recommend that you also add wounding on to these boomerangs as well. That bumps it up to a dandy 10 con damage per round + nearly 700 damage + extremely high DC dazing effects. You can check around, but there are very few monsters and very few effects which offer immunity to daze, unlike stun. Not to mention that this damage affects 2 people per round, not just one.

    Spank The Monkey (by endersdouble)

    Original post by endersdouble:

    Before I start, I want to thank Tleilaxu Ghola, who provided the initial inspiration, lots of great ideas for upping the damage, and basically a ton of help across the board. The build wouldn't be here without him. I'm very grateful for his assistance. Everyone else who helped contribute on this thread was great as well.

    To the best of my knowledge, not counting Hulking Hurlers, the best 1-round melee damage total for a 3.5-legal character is this, Otto the Bugbear's latest version of the UberER charger family. It does an average of 19880 damage. Some other Uberchargers do more, but none are 3.5-legal to my knowledge.

    Other contenders--shadowpouncers and the like--do a decent amount, but not as much. So, for the purposes of this post, I'm assuming that 19,880 damage is the current world record.

    Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology; we can make him better, simpler, less cheesier than before. In Tome of Battle, Stormguard Warrior provides an excellent basis for obscene damage totals. I can beat the UberERCharger, without using:

    Setting-specific materials
    Custom magic items

    In other words, I can do it while restricting myself to "sane" sources. Not only that, but I'm avoiding all the traditional methods of massive damage--power attack/charge cheese, multipouncing, and the like. In short, this is a much more reasonable massive damage build. I use splatbooks basically anyone will accept, I can cast every buff I use, and I don't need DM customization for items like Boots of Psionic Lion's Charge--pretty much assumed in many charging builds, but not available without explicit DM permission.

    Anyway, the build relies on using Combat Rhythm--part of Stormguard Warrior--coupled with getting a lot of attacks, repeatedly. I use Ruby Knight Vindicator's turn/rebuke undead-burning abilities, coupled with Time Stands Still (DM9) and White Raven Tactics (WR3), to get many consecutive rounds, so I can apply Combat Rhythm. The nice thing about Combat Rhythm is that the damage scales as O(n^2) where n is the number of attacks I get a round--so applying TSS every round quadruples my damage, which is pretty impressive. To my knowledge, this is the first melee damage mechanic which scales quadratically--and anyone who's done a bit of complexity theory knows how much of a difference that can make. In fact, with the current build, if I were to get one more attack that did no damage before Combat Rhythm on each full attack, it'd add 2.2k damage to the total! This kind of scaling is quite nice, and doesn't even show up in charging builds--I think it more than makes up for extra linear Power Attack damage and charging multiples they get. I combine this framework with every extra attack I know how to get, and make it a cleric gish for buffs.

    Something else to notice is that this build still has a lot of headroom, so to speak. I use less than half my spell slots. My equipment is pretty good, but I didn't bother looking for equipment outside of core. Even though my build is fueled by turning attempts, I specifically avoided nightsticks. Even though the build is fueled by natural attacks, I specifically avoided polymorph/natural attack abuse--I'm not a hydra. I can't be sure, of course, but I'm willing to bet that with a little work, even still avoiding that stuff--just by picking better spells, gear, and maybe fiddling with the build a little--this could get to the 35,000ish values needed to beat even the illegal versions of the Uberercharger. If you do decide to go for utter cheese, I shudder to think how much damage you could end up with. Unsurprisingly, since, well, melee sucks, I'm never going to get to knuth-arrow damage like that arcane nova build, but it's still pretty good.

    Anyway, without further ado...a new record.

    Spank the Monkey
    by endersdouble and Tleilaxu Ghola
    build based off the Ruby Shadow by wolfie-kun

    Books Required: Core, Races (RoS,RoD), MMIII, Draconomicon (Drac), Tome of Battle (ToB), Spell Compendium (SC), Players Handbook II (PHB2)

    RKV's extra swift action for a turn attempt can be used any number of times.

    Lawful Good Human Monk 1/Crusader 1/Warblade 1/Swordsage 2/Cleric 3/Bloodclaw Master 2/Ruby Knight Vindicator 10
    Alignment must be lawful, but doesn't otherwise matter. This has no XP penalty, despite taking 5 base classes.

    Initial Ability Scores:
    (25 Point Buy--if the UberERCharger can get away with it, so can I!)
    Strength 8
    Dexterity 15
    Constitution 8
    Intelligence 8
    Wisdom 9
    Charisma 18 (+5 from levels)

    (For clarity, I will not quote class features we have no need for.)
    01 Warblade (ToB)- Two-weapon fighting, (Iron Heart Aura (ToB))
    02 Monk - Flurry of blows, unarmed strike
    03 Cleric - Turn undead, Spontaneous Domain (PHB2 alt. feature) (Spell), Extra Turning
    04 Cleric
    05 Cleric
    06 Crusader (ToB) - Extra Turning
    07 Ruby Knight Vindicator (ToB)
    08 Ruby Knight Vindicator - Divine Recovery
    09 Ruby Knight Vindicator - Snap Kick (ToB)
    10 Ruby Knight Vindicator
    11 Ruby Knight Vindicator
    12 Swordsage (ToB) - Discipline focus (Tiger Claw) (Weapon Focus) - Stormguard Warrior (ToB)
    13 Ruby Knight Vindicator
    14 Ruby Knight Vindicator - Divine impetus
    15 Ruby Knight Vindicator - ITWF
    16 Ruby Knight Vindicator
    17 Ruby Knight Vindicator
    18 Bloodclaw Master (ToB) - Shifting 1/day, claws of the beast, Superior unarmed strike
    19 Bloodclaw Master - Superior Two-weapon Fighting
    20 Swordsage

    Maneuvers and Stances
    X's represent maneuvers/stances which aren't needed for the build in the current form (either for use or as prerequisites).
    At 20, I have a Warblade IL of 16, Swordsage IL of 17, and Crusader IL of 16.
    My maneuvers progress as below:
    01 Warblade 1 (IL 1) - Sudden Leap, Wolf Fang Strike, Sapphire Nightmare Blade
    06 Crusader 1 (IL 3) - Crusader's Strike, Leading the Attack, Douse the Flames, Mountain Hammer, Stone Bones
    08 RKV 2 (IL 5) - White Raven Tactics
    10 RKV 4 (IL 7) - X
    12 Swordsage 1 (IL 9) - Dancing Mongoose, Emerald Razor, Ruby Nightmare Blade, X, X, X
    13 RKV 6 (IL 10) - X
    15 RKV 8 (IL 12) - X
    17 RKV 10 (IL 14) - X
    18 Bloodclaw Master 1 (IL 15) - Raging Mongoose
    20 Swordsage 2 (IL 17) - Time Stands Still

    My stances progress as below:
    01 Warblade 1 (IL 1) - Punishing Stance
    05 Crusader 1 (IL 3) - Martial Spirit
    06 RKV 1 (IL 4) - X
    12 Swordsage 1 (IL 9) - Stance of Clarity
    11 RKV 6 (IL 10) - Giant's Stance
    20 Swordsage 2 (IL 17) - X

    The ones we care about having readied are:
    Dancing Mongoose
    Raging Mongoose
    Time Stands Still
    White Raven Tactics
    We will use Giant's Stance.

    As I said, there are plenty of empty spell slots to make this Even Better.
    At 20, I have CL 12 with gear (16 after Bead of Karma), casting as a 11th level cleric. My Wisdom is 16, allowing 6th level spells and granting three bonus spells (1st/2nd/3rd). I take the Spell domain.
    Typical prepared spells:
    0th (6):
    1st (6+1): Divine Favor
    2nd (5+1):
    3rd (5+1): Anyspell->Heroics
    4th (3+1): Divine Power,Greater Magic Weapon
    5th (2+1): Righteous Might, Earth Hammer
    6th (1+1): Greater Anyspell->Draconic Polymorph,Greater Anyspell->Greater Mighty Wallop (via Domain Spontaneity).

    +6 Cloak of Charisma 36000
    +6 Gloves of Dexterity 36000
    +6 Periapt of Wisdom 36000
    +5 Tome of Leadership and Influence 137500
    +1 Tome of Understanding 137500
    +5 Manual of Gainful Extercise 27500
    +1 Manual of Quickness of Action 27500
    Orange ioun stone 30000
    Monk's Belt 13000
    Strand of prayer beads (standard) 25800
    Fanged ring 10000
    Potion of haste 750
    A monkey ("Pray...for...Mojo...")
    Total: 2*137500+36000*3+13000+2*27500+30000+750 +25800 + 10000= 517550 (243k left)

    Activate Giant's Stance.
    Cast Anyspell for Heroics.
    Cast Greater Anyspell for Greater Mighty Wallop. (12 hr)
    Cast Greater Anyspell (takes 15 min) for Draconic Polymorph.
    Cast Heroics for GTWF.
    Pop the Bead of karma. I now have ten minutes to buff, but as nothing I'm casting at this point takes more than a standard action, well, I don't care.
    Cast Greater Magic Weapon on your Unarmed Strikes (16 hr)
    Cast Mighty Wallop on your Unarmed Strikes (16 min)
    Draconic Polymorph into a Mountain Troll. (16 min)
    Cast Righteous Might. (16 rnd)
    Cast Divine Power. (16 rnd)
    Cast Earth Hammer. (16 rnd)
    Quaff the potion of haste. (5 rnd)
    Cast Divine Favor. (1 min)
    Shift (Bloodclaw Master). (...plenty, I have 30ish con.)

    Once buffed, I have:
    Strength 35 (base) + 5 (inherent) + 8 (unnamed, Draconic Polymorph) +6 (enhancement) +2 (unnamed, shifting) + 4 (size) = 60 (+25)
    Charisma 18 (base) + 5 (levelups) + 5 (inherent) + 6 (enhancement) = 34 (+12)

    I can now calculate some derivative values:
    Turning attempts: 3 + 4*2 (ETx2) + 12 (Cha) = 23

    My unarmed strikes do 1d10 base, with 7 size increases (1 from Earth Hammer, 1 from Greater Mighty Wallop, 1 from Giant's Stance, 3 from actual size (Gargantuan from Mountain Troll/Righteous Might), 1 INA (Fanged Ring)). That's 16d8 damage. (GMW actually gives me 3 size increases, but only one applies, as my size is Gargantuan already. I use it instead of MW because I need the extra duration to last through Anyspell casting.)

    My unarmed strike attack bonus is: 20 (BAB) + 25 (STR) + 4 (enhancement) + 3 (luck)+1 (haste) -2 (flurry) -2 (snapkick) -4 (size) = +45. My attack progression is +45/+45/+45/+45/+40/+40/+35/+35/+30 (4 BAB, 3 TWF, 1 flurry, 1 haste). They each do 16d8 + 25 (STR) + 4 (enhancement) + 3 (luck) = 104 on average.

    My snapkick is at +45, and also does 104 damage.

    I also have claw/claw/bite attacks. The claws do 3d6 (1d8+righteous might+giant's stance) + 25 (STR) + 3 (luck) = 38.5 damage. The bite gets .5*STR, so it does 25.5. They're at +40/+40/+40 (secondary attacks.)

    So, as a note, I have 13 attacks, ten of which do 104, 2 of which do 38.5, and one of which does 25.5.

    Dirty Deeds Done Cheap
    I spend one round "warming up" with combat rhythm, then it's time to go crazy. All the damage is done on round two here, as I want.
    Round One:
    Initiate Time Stands Still. Double full attack, all touch attacks for Combat Rhythm. Use a turn attempt to recover TSS. (22 left).
    Round Two:
    Each new line indicates a new turn/initiative count, from WRT.
    The text might be a little bit confusing; the general idea is that each turn,I initiate TSS and WRT, then burn four turning attempts to recover both. I do this as many times as I can, alternating between damage and combat rhythm.

    Initiate Time Stands Still. Double full attack for damage. Use a turn attempt to recover TSS. Use another for a second swift action, initiate WRT. Use two more (one for a swift action, the other to recover) to recover WRT. (18 left).
    Initiate Time Stands Still. Double full attack for combat rhythm. Use a turn attempt to recover TSS. Use another for a second swift action, initiate WRT. Use two more (one for a swift action, the other to recover) to recover WRT. (14 left).
    Initiate Time Stands Still. Double full attack for damage. Use a turn attempt to recover TSS. Use another for a second swift action, initiate WRT. Use two more (one for a swift action, the other to recover) to recover WRT. (10 left).
    Initiate Time Stands Still. Double full attack for combat rhythm. Use a turn attempt to recover TSS. Use another for a second swift action, initiate WRT. Use two more (one for a swift action, the other to recover) to recover WRT. (6 left).
    Initiate Time Stands Still. Double full attack for damage. Use a turn attempt to recover TSS. Use another for a second swift action, initiate WRT. Use two more (one for a swift action, the other to recover) to recover WRT. (2 left).
    Initiate Time Stands Still. Double full attack for combat rhythm. Use a turn attempt to recover TSS. Use another for a second swift action, initiate WRT (0 left.)
    Initiate Time Stands Still and Raging Mongoose. Double full attack for damage.

    The Damage
    I get four rounds of damage with double full attacks (one with 4 additional unarmed attacks from Raging Mongoose). Each is fueled by a double full attack worth of combat rhythm.
    13 attacks*2 = 26 attacks each round. That's +130 damage to each attack.
    The actual damage:
    4*(20*(104+130)+4*(38.5+130)+2*(25.5+130 )) + 4*(104+130) = ...
    ...wait for it...
    23596 damage on average, in one round.

    I think I'll stop here.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Titan in the Playground
    Darrin's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Cleveland, OH

    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

    b. Shadow Blade:

    Feral Dreadlord (by Tleilaxu_Ghola)

    Original post by Tleilaxu_Ghola:

    The concept of sneak attack optimization in the context of Tome of Battle is obvious at the abstract level, however an actual optimized progression has been elusive to me, and I think many others. The Feral Assassin is my best attempt thus far.

    Optimization Objectives
    • Maximize Attack Bonus & number of attacks
    • Maximize Sneak Attack dice
    • Incorporate a "guaranteed" Sneak Attack method by the time sneak attack is acquired in an appreciable quantity (2d6 sneak attack or more).
    • Optimize Saves, HP, AC, and initiative for general combat effectiveness.
    • Optimize for mid-levels (should bloom at 8-12th level); this is for practicality purposes.

    Race: Human, Azurin, Strong Heart Halfling, or Silverbrow Human<br />
    <br />
    ----CLASS-#-----------FEATS/CLASS ABILITIES OF NOTE------------------------IL: WB/SS--SWAP?--BAB--Saves<br />
    1.-Swordsage 1: Shadow Blade, (Two-Weapon Fighting), (Weapon Focus: SH)-------0/1------------0---0/2/2<br />
    2.-Warblade 1:----------------------------------------------------------------1/1------------1---2/2/2<br />
    3.-Warblade 2: Weapon Finesse, --------------------------------2/2------------2---3/2/2<br />
    4.-Warblade 3:----------------------------------------------------------------3/2------------3---3/3/3<br />
    5.-Warblade 4:----------------------------------------------------------------4/3------X-----4---4/3/3<br />
    6.-Rogue 1: White Raven Defense, --------------------------5/3------------4---4/5/3<br />
    7.-Blood Claw Master 1:-------------------------------------------------------6/4------------4---6/7/3<br />
    8.-Blood Claw Master 2: ------------------------7/5------------5---7/8/3<br />
    9.-Swordsage 2: , Clarion Commander------------------------7/6------------6---7/9/4<br />
    10.Blood Claw Master 3:-------------------------------------------------------8/7------------7---7/9/5<br />
    11.Rogue 2: ---------------------------------------------------------9/8------------8---7/10/5<br />
    12.Warblade 5: (Improved Initiative), Improved Two Weapon Fighting------------10/8-----------9---7/10/5<br />
    13.Night Song Enforcer 1: ---------------------------------10/9-----------10--7/12/5<br />
    14.Rogue 3: Sneak Attack +1d6-------------------------------------------------11/9-----------11--8/12/6<br />
    15.Warblade 6: Greater Two Weapon Fighting. ----------12/10----X-----12--9/13/7<br />
    16.Warblade 7-----------------------------------------------------------------13/10----------13--9/13/7<br />
    17.Warblade 8-----------------------------------------------------------------14/11----X-----14--10/13/7<br />
    18.Warblade 9: Craven --------------------------------------------------------15/11----------15--10/14/8<br />
    19.Warblade 10: (Iron Will)---------------------------------------------------16/12----X-----16--11/14/10<br />
    20.Warblade 11----------------------------------------------------------------17/12----------17--11/14/10
    Vital Statistics & Other Goodies
    HP: 14d12 + 3d8 + 3d6
    Int Bonus to: Reflex saves, Critical Hit Confirmation, damage against flat-footed or flanked foes, checks to oppose the following: disarm, feint, trip, bull rush, sunder
    Dex Bonus to: Attack, Damage
    Full Strength Bonus on both attacks, no TWF penalty
    5d6 sneak attack when in Assassin's stance (which is essentially always)
    Initiative = 5+dex and we'll have a good dexterity.

    The Sneak Attack Trick
    This character, at 9th level -- the same level it gets 3d6 sneak attack, can use the tactical feat Clarion Commander. At this level the character is assumed to have full ranks in intimidate (and hopefully no charisma penalty). The character must make a DC 20 intimidate check to render his opponent flanked for 1 minute. This requires a standard action, so the first round of combat against an opponent is typically wasted, at least we can move to melee range. The next round we make a full attack sequence. The first attack deals no sneak attack damage just yet, but any subsequent attacks will gain both flanking bonus and sneak attack damage. The real trick is to acquire a blade with the blurstrike enhancement from Races of the Wild. This allows that first attack to get sneak attack (because the foe is considered flat-footed against the attack). Essentially, you have to waste a round of combat to set it up, but for the next minute you can full attack away, getting sneak attack and attack bonuses the whole way home.

    Really, there's nothing sneaky about this sneak attacker. He calls out his opponent in the first round, then procedes to gut him like a fish in subsequent rounds. Makes for a pretty good image and cool role-playing aspect. Your d12 HD and combat prowess also add to the Feral Dreadlord's theme.

    Crit Immune Creatures
    Common worry for those making sneak attack builds. You'll note that this guy is far from helpless against golems, undead, and the like. He can switch to island of blades (the other shadow hand stance that he has) and improve his chance of flanking his opponents. Once he accomplishes this, he gets full strength, dex, and intelligence to all his attacks. Kind of MAD, but dexterity and intelligence are the character's two most important statistics. Unfortunately I was not able to cram stormguard warrior into this build as well, as that would have been the ultimate answer to crit-immune critters. Note that many, if not all, of this guy's maneuvers function against crit-immune creatures and thus he'll still have a trick in the hat when fighting them.

    Interestingly enough, swordsage also helps out a little bit in this department. Burning blade will offer a substancial boost to damage figures, though it is feasable to use it once per encounter.

    It has also been brought to my attention that Castle Ravenloft has a varient feature which allows you to retain 1/2 sneak damage against crit-immune foes, so long as you flank them. This would be an obvious choice for the build, if the book is available to you. I personally don't have the book, so I can't comment much further on this ability.

    Satisfaction of Objectives
    I rarely satisfy all my objectives, but this build comes close. 17 BAB, 5d6 sneak attack, Full TWF tree, craven feat, Dancing Mongoose and Raging Mongoose, and a focus on flanking all help to satisfy the first two objectives. The build clearly has an enabling trick for sneak attacks. HP are about as good as I can make them, AC may be a little lacking but with a little money one could wear a mithril full plate without incident. I recommend celestial armor, if you can get a hold of it. The nice thing about this build is that it works for only one good stat: DEX, but has a lot of expansion room for characters with multiple good stats. Literally every statistic can contribute to this character in some way: INT helps with skills and damage, Dex helps with attack, damage, ac, initiative, reflex saves, and skills, Wisdom can increase AC (if in light armor) and helps will saves, Charisma helps the intimidation check, CON is good for obvious reasons, and strength helps damage. If I had to rank the stats it would go: DEX>INT>CON>STR>CHA>WIS.

    One of the weaknesses of this build is his relatively low will saving throw. I tried to mitigate this with iron will, but the fact that his dump stat is obviously wisdom doesn't help much. If you're worried about your will save, I recommend replacing craven with shape soulmeld (Planar Ward).

    Further Optimization
    It should be clear to any astute disciple of Tome of Battle builds that this build is out of phase by 1 level. I struggled to construct the build in a manner which would cause certain attributes (like sneak attack and clarion commander) converge on specific points. I really wanted this build to have its main damage trick by 9th level and so that is why I ended up out of phase with an optimal ToB progression. Alas. Suggestions for fixing this are welcome.

    Additionally, though I doubt it can be mended, is the fact that chracter takes a hit to BAB at low levels. This is almost unavoidable, but it still hurts. My hope is that flanking bonuses, weapon focus, a good dex score, and no TWF penalty will make the impact of the BAB loss more tolerable.

    The Ruby Shadow (by wolfie-kun)

    Original post by wolfie-kun:

    Name: The Ruby Shadow
    Race: Human
    Build Stub: Swordsage 1/Monk 2/Swordsage +1/Cleric 2/Sacred Fist 2/Ruby Knight Vindicator 9/ Shadow Sun Ninja 1/ Swordsage +2

    1st: Combat Casting, (Martial Study [Vanguard Strike]-Human), (Weapon Focus-all weapons of one Swordsage Discipline)
    2nd: (Stunning Fist)
    3rd: Weapon Finesse, (Combat Reflexes)
    6th: Martial Stance (Martial Spirit)
    9th: Shadow Blade
    12th: Adaptive Style
    15th: Improved Natural Attack
    18th: Extraordinary Spell Aim

    Feats at levels 9, 12, and 15 are optional, and are meant to make direct improvements upon weaknesses of the build. To take advantage of Divine Metamagic/ Persistant Spell cheese, see the two sblocks at the bottom of this post
    Suggested Maneuvers:
    Swordsage: 14 maneuvers Known; 7 Readied
    Level Maneuver Stance<br />
    SSage:<br />
    1st Burning Blade (DW 1) Child of Shadow (SH 1) <br />
    Distracting Ember (DW 1) <br />
    Sapphire Nightmare Blade (DM 1)<br />
    Clinging Shadow Strike (SH 1)<br />
    Counter Charge (SS 1)<br />
    Mighty Throw (SS 1)<br />
    2nd* Drain Vitality (SH 2) Step of the Wind (SS 1)<br />
    <br />
    RKVindicator:<br />
    1st# none Thicket of Blades (DS 3)<br />
    2nd Divine Surge (DS 4) none<br />
    4th Foehammer (DS 2) none<br />
    6th Shadow Noose (SH 6) Step of the Dancing Moth (SH 5)<br />
    8th Shadow Blink (SH 7) none<br />
    <br />
    SSNinja:<br />
    1st Hydra Slaying Strike (SS 7) none<br />
    <br />
    SSage:<br />
    3rd** Fool's Strike (SS 8) none<br />
    4th Tornado Throw (SS 9) none<br />
    Swap-Mighty Throw for <br />
    Five-Shadow Creeping Ice <br />
    Enervating Strike (SH 9)

    *=initiator level increases by 1 from 2 levels in Monk
    #=initiator level increases by 2 from levels in Cleric and Sacred Fist
    **=initiator level increases by 12 (total) from levels in Cleric and PrCs

    If you find that you aren't finding flat-footed enemies often enough take more ranks in Hide :P. Or you could just replace Shadow Noose with other more direct maneuvers.

    Abilities: Dex>Wis>Con>Cha>Int>Str

    BAB: +16/+11/+6/+1
    Same as Crypt, just above the average Swordsage.

    Saves: Fort +12/ Ref +16/ Will +15
    All equivalent to good (or better) progressions. Not bad, if I do say so myself. :D
    Of course, you've got Evasion too, making that great Reflex save even better.

    Caster Level: 11th (or 15th with Practised Spellcaster)
    Spells/day: 6/5/4/4/3/2/1 + domain spells + bonus spells

    Tricks: Blade Barrier with Tornado Throw makes for a very, very interesting show. And quite the painful one for your opponent. With Tornado Throw, you can move up to 80 ft. With Blade Barrier cast, you're going to be moving through your blade barrier and throwing your opponent through it at the same time. Assuming you succeed and throw your opponent through the barrier eight times, that's 88d6 +16d6 points of damage--even more if you can get a haste cast on you. Of course, every time you move through it, you have to make a Ref save too to avoid the damage (this is why you have evasion) at a DC of 16+your Wis mod (as long as your Dex mod is the same or greater than your Wis mod, you'll only fail on a natural 1, since you've got a +16 on your Ref save to start with).
    Alternately (if for some reason you want your Wis mod to be higher) you can do as Feroz suggests in this post.

    If you decide that you like one of the Reach weapons you have access to (and you don't mind having to get an atonement to get your last two levels of Cleric casting back), Thicket of Blades will generate tons of AoOs for you to take advantage of with Combat Reflexes.

    In general, you have a number of useful Devoted Spirit, Shadow Hand, and Setting Sun maneuvers. You've also got a base 1d8 unarmed strike, too--with Foehammer to help you overcome DR at least once and get some massive damage in with it (at the same time, your blade barrier + Tornado Throw trick bypasses DR too). In addition to your useful maneuvers, you have some very useful spells, too. It's really just a matter of what kind of combat character you feel like playing at any given time.

    Oh, by the way, you're a Cleric of Wee Jas. With 6th level spells and access to the Magic domain. Two words: antimagic field. Very few of the major maneuvers you have access to are affected at all by the presence of this very useful spell, and meaning that while your opponent is crying about the fact that none of their magic items or their spells are working, you're beating them to the ground with maneuvers like Divine Surge and Elder Mountain Hammer, or even Tornado Throw if you feel the antimagic field is more important than all those extra damage dice. This also means, of course, that you channel negative energy instead of positive, so you don't really do that much healing spontaneously.

    Okay, this was brought up a couple of times. The feat choice here is not optimal. At least, not unless you're playing the build straight-up at level 20. Your 3rd, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th level feat choices can be moved and jumbled about as desired--even scrapped and replaced with an entirely different set. Make the feats work for the way you're going to play the build.

    Also, a good choice for this build might be Vow of Poverty. You end up with bonuses that fit quite well, and thanks to the class levels you have to take, your alignment is pretty much already LG anyway. You end up with a number of useful bonuses, and a number of them won't be negated in your antimagic field, which is excellent. However, actually paying for equipment could easily make a stronger character overall than the VoP version (as much awesome RPing flavor as the feat gives).

    Recommended Equipment: Dex and Wis boosting items are a must, particularly inherant bonuses that won't be negated by your antimagic field. A monk's belt is definitely useful, in order to increase unarmed damage further and gain an extra +1 to AC (and an extra stunning attack per day--who knows when (or if) it'll prove useful). If available, a Necklace of Natural Attacks is very useful to the build, regardless of the fact that it will go inactive while you have your antimagic field up. If not, Amulet of Mighty Fists is no good beyond a +1, if at all, as it is not worth the expense. If you aren't fighting a lot of creatures with DR/magic, don't bother with wasting the 6,000gp.
    Magic light armor (or a mithral breastplate) may be worth the expenditure, depending on how high your Dex mod reaches (+15 or higher Dex mod will make the armor completely useless, while a mod of +12 or higher makes spending on Bracers of Armor cheaper).

    Thanks to Infernis for inspiring this build. I still can't believe I figured out a way to make it work...

    This build stub is quite versatile, and very useful for a number of different sorts of builds. Just switch out a couple of class levels and feats and your build can be focused on something completely new. For example, replace Swordsage with Crusader and change the feats and you've got Shadow Wing. Replace the Swordsage with Warblade, mess around with PrCs a bit, and put in Iron Heart Aura and Stormguard Warrior to get a strong TWFer.
    DMM and Persist (with nightsticks, anyway...need way too many turn attempts :P) can be easily abused with this build, since bumping Strength like that makes Weapon Finesse and Shadow Blade virtually useless (well, not Shadow Blade necessarily-high Dex is still freaking useful for AC), as well as INA and Improved Trip. And of course, the buffs are still there when your AMF wears off, while your opponent's buffs are probably gone.

    A metamagic-based version of Ruby Shadow would take two more Cleric or Sacred Fist levels at the end of the build, instead of two more Swordsage. This gives 7th level spells, and more spells in general, though 8th and 9th level maneuvers are lost. All feats other than prereqs would be replaced with DMM, Extend Spell, Persistent Spell, Extraordinary Spell Aim, and maybe one other (or keep Practiced Spellcaster).
    But you don't really need so much you?

    Making the Ruby Shadow work with the new trick:
    Find the new trick here.
    To summarize, there is a new spell in Complete Champion that gives you a bonus to speed based on the duration remaining. DMM Persist is taken advantage of to maximize this remaining duration.

    Of course, the above version of the Ruby Shadow isn't quite what we need here.

    As above, except:
    3rd: Extend Spell
    9th: Divine Metamagic
    12th: Persist Spell

    No class levels need to be changed.

    Hande of Hakke (by LordMongoose)

    Original post by LordMongoose:

    Just realized I never actually submitted my boy.

    UA Rules that need to be in effect for this build to work:
    -ECL Buyoff
    -Fractional Base Bonuses
    Also, the given stats assume a haste in effect.

    Title: Hand of Hakke
    Race: Thri-Kreen
    Build Stub: Monstrous Humanoid 2/Monk 2/Swordsage 1/Shadow Sun Ninja 10/Swordsage +1/Fighter 1/Swordsage +1/Fighter +1/Swordsage +1
    Starting (32 pt buy): 10 (0), 22 (16), 14 (6), 10 (4), 16 (6), 4 (0)
    Level 20, after suggested equipment and increases: 10, 38, 14, 10, 26, 4
    Saves: Fort +13, Ref +26, Will +19
    Initiative: +15 (+14 DEX, +1 Quick to Act)
    Speed: 80 ft (16 squares)
    AC: (assuming suggested equipment) 57
    1. Weapon Finesse, Deflect Arrows (Racial Bonus Feat)
    3. Multiweapon Fighting, Improved Unarmed Strike (Monk ability), Stunning Fist (Monk Bonus Feat)
    4. Combat Reflexes (Monk Bonus Feat)
    6. Adaptive Style
    9. Shadow Blade
    12. Improved Multiweapon Fighting
    15. Improved Natural Attack (Unarmed Strike)
    17. Martial Study (Fighter Bonus Feat)
    18. Superior Unarmed Strike
    19. Greater Multiweapon Fighting (Fighter Bonus Feat)

    Maneuvers and Stances:
    x Mighty Throw - SS 1, IL 3 (Swapped out at SS 4) - SS
    1 Sudden Leap - SS 1, IL 3 - TC
    2 Claw at the Moon - SS 1, IL 3 - TC
    3 Shadow Jaunt - SS 1, IL 3 - SH
    4 Emerald Razor - SS 1, IL 3 - DM
    5 Sapphire Nightmare Blade - SS 1, IL 3 - DM
    6 Cloak of Deception - SSN 1, IL 4 - SH
    7 Feigned Opening - SSN 3, IL 6 - SS
    8 Mirrored Pursuit - SSN 6, IL 9 - SS
    9 Shadow Stride - SSN 9, IL 12 - SH
    10 Pouncing Charge - SS 2, IL 14 - TC
    11 Quicksilver Motion - F1 (Martial Study), IL 14.5 - DM
    12 Raging Mongoose - SS 3, IL 15.5 - TC
    13 Time Stands Still - SS 4, IL 17 - DM
    14 Swooping Dragon Strike - SS 4, IL 17 - TC (swapped in)

    1 Child of Shadow - SS 1, IL 3 - SH
    2 Dance of the Spider - SSN 5, IL 8 - SH
    3 Hearing the Air - SS 2, IL 14 - DM

    Typical Maneuvers Readied (7):
    Time Stands Still
    Raging Mongoose
    Swooping Dragon Strike
    Quicksilver Motion
    Shadow Stride
    Pouncing Charge
    Mirrored Pursuit

    Recommended Equipment:
    Manual of Quickness of Action +5 - 137,500 gp (DMG)
    Belt, Monk's - 13,000 gp (DMG)
    Gloves of Dexterity +6 - 36,000 gp (DMG)
    Tome of Understanding +4 - 110,000 gp (DMG)
    Headband of Wisdom +6 - 36,000 gp (DMG - Adapted from Periapt of Wisdom, occupying different slot)
    Greater Magic Fang, Permanent +5 - 9850 gp (PHB; assuming an 11th level sor/wiz makes permanent a Greater Magic Fang cast by a 20th level druid; will be cheaper if you have party members of appropriate classes)
    Amulet of Natural Armor +5 - 50,000 gp (DMG)
    Ring of Protection +5 - 50,000 gp (DMG)
    Ring of Improved Jumping - 10,000 gp (DMG)
    Bracers of Armor +8 - 64,000 gp (DMG)
    Boots of Speed - 12,000 gp (DMG)

    Remaining: 232,650 gp

    Skill Point Allocations:

    1. +4 Jump, +4 Hide
    2. +1 Jump, +1 Hide
    3. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +3 Tumble
    4. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +2 Tumble, +1 Move Silently
    5. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +4 Move Silently
    6. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +2 Move Silently
    7. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +2 Move Silently
    8. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +2 Move Silently
    9. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +1 Move Silently, +1 Listen
    10. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +1 Move Silently, +1 Listen
    11. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +1 Move Silently, +1 Listen
    12. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +1 Move Silently, +1 Listen
    13. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +1 Move Silently, +1 Listen
    14. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +1 Move Silently, +1 Listen
    15. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +1 Move Silently, +1 Listen
    16. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +1 Move Silently, +3 Listen
    17. +1 Jump, +.5 Hide
    18. +1 Jump, +1 Hide, +2 Move Silently, +2 Listen
    19. +1 Jump, +.5 Hide
    20. +1 Jump, +2 Hide, +2 Move Silently, +1 Listen

    Final: 23 Jump, 23 Hide, 23 Move Silently, 13 Listen, 5 Tumble
    After modifiers: Jump +85 (23 ranks, +30 racial, +20 speed, +2 synergy, +10 competence), Hide +37 (23 ranks, +14 DEX), Move Silently +37 (23 ranks, +14 DEX), Listen +21 (13 ranks, +8 WIS), Tumble +21 (5 ranks, +14 DEX, +2 synergy)

    While close to being a one-trick pony, the Hand of Hakke has a heck of a good trick. Time Stands Still + Raging Mongoose + Greater Multiweapon Fighting + Haste + Flurry of Blows = 36 attacks.

    The breakdown:
    Attacks from BAB: +16/+11/+6/+1 (4)
    Attacks from Greater Multiweapon Fighting: +16/+16/+16/+11/+11/+11/+6/+6/+6 (9)
    Attacks from Flurry of Blows: +16/+16 (2)
    Attack from Haste: +16 (1)
    Double all that from Time Stands Still: 32 attacks
    Add four from Raging Mongoose (all four at +16): 36 attacks

    Total attacks, after modifiers (Discipline Focus, Haste, Dex, Greater Magic Fang): +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +35 / +30 / +30 / +30 / +30 / +30 / +30 / +30 / +30 / +25 / +25 / +25 / +25 / +25 / +25 / +25 / +25 / +20 / +20

    Damage after modifiers (Effective Monk20 damage, INA, Greater Magic Fang): 4d8+19

    Maximum Damage (not ever going to happen, but let's have fun): 1836
    Average Damage (assuming all attacks hit): 1332

    In addition to all of this damage, we could simply go ape**** with Balance of Light and Shadow and inflict a metric buttload of negative levels. Sheltered Vitality, cast by your local handy cleric/druid, would be nice (also guards our weak CHA score from being assaulted).

    Pouncing Charge lets us move 160 feet and then unleash 16 attacks (20 if we boost with Raging Mongoose), which is always fun. This is great for openers; begin combat with a Pouncing Charge (unboosted), use Mirrored Pursuit on your opponents action, begin your turn adjacent, and unleash a 36-attack-combo-of-shadowy-doom.

    Swooping Dragon Strike leverages the already insane and easily improved Jump modifier into an instastun.

    Not sure what category he falls under. TWF optimization? Maneuvers Oriented?

    Wild Woodclaw Sage (by Ser_Pounce)

    Original post by Ser_Pounce:

    This is my shot at a "post ToB dexterity warrior." The idea is to maximize Dex with wildrunner to fuel Shadow Blade, add Bloodclaw Master for TWF optimization, and keep the number of classes out of the craziness range (and one initiator level, I can't imagine having to sell a DM who hasn't used ToB in the past on multiple initiator classes!).

    Title: Wild Woodclaw Sage
    Race: Wood Elf (favored class: Ranger; +2 Dex -2 Int)
    Build: Swordsage 4/Ranger 2/Wildrunner 2/Bloodclaw Master 4/ (Swordsage +8 ?)

    (1) Swordsage 1: Shadow Blade; (Weapon Focus - Shadow Hand)
    (2) Ranger 1: (Endurance)
    (3) Ranger 2: (Two Weapon Fighting); Weapon Finesse
    (4) Swordsage 2
    (5) Swordsage 3
    (6) Swordsage 4: Adaptive Style
    (7) Wildrunner 1
    (8) Wildrunner 2
    (9) Bloodclaw Master 1: Improved two-weapon fighting
    (10) Bloodclaw Master 2
    (11) Bloodclaw Master 3
    (12) Bloodclaw Master 4 : (?)
    (13) Swordsage 5
    (14) Swordsage 6
    (15) Swordsage 7 Greater two-weapon fighting
    (16) Swordsage 8
    (17) Swordsage 9
    (18) Swordsage 10: (?)
    (19) Swordsage 11
    (20) Swordsage 12

    * Dex, Dex, Dex: You have lots, and it does a lot; +2 race +6 Primal Scream; Dex to hit and damage. (Dex will max out around 42 (+16) at CL20 with a +6 magic item and +5 manual of dex)
    * Initiator level 18 by CL 20;
    * Move and attack with both weapons starting from CL 1
    * AC = massive dex + Wis + light armor + standard extras
    * Attack = Dex + weapon focus + Superior two-weapon fighting + 1 w/ tiger claw strikes + Reasonable BAB (16 @ CL20; 8 @ CL 9)
    * Damage = Dex +Str? (depending on the interpretation of Shadow blade) + wis (with two schools, first would probably be tiger claw)
    * Area of effect w/ Dessert wind
    * Movement 40' (wildrunner 1)
    * Track + Scent
    * Daggers are both Shadow hand weapons, and can be used with Bloodclaw master abilities.

    * Is bloodclaw master worth it? If so, should you stop at level 4? You're never going to be in a tiger stance due to shadow blade, and full strength damage with your off hand is either minimally important or completely irrelevent depending on whether shadow blade replaces str w/ dex or adds to it. Yet, you don't seem to be losing out on all that much either.
    * You'll have to take survival as a cross class skill from CL 3-6 to qualify for Wildrunner. You could always take the second level of Ranger later, but it's probably worth the 3 skill points to get two-weapon fighting at CL3 instead of CL6 (thanks to HotSake).
    * This Build could probably be adapted to use Stormguard warrior. Personally I have no interest in that feat, it might be powerful on paper, but is IMHO boring, and would certainly be frowned upon in my gaming group. Another personal bias is that I don't like the idea of using two (or more) initiator classes; if this isn't true for you, you might consider trying to work a couple levels of warblade into the build.

    c. Shadowpouncing:

    Claws in the Darkness (by EntropicShadow)

    Original post by EntropicShadow:

    Title: Claw in the Darkness
    Race: Human
    Build Stub: Warblade3/Fighter 1/Warblade +1/Fighter +1/Bloodclaw Master 1/Crinti Shadow Marauder 2/Bloodclaw Master +1/Crinti Shadow Marauder +3/Bloodclaw Master +1/Warblade +6

    28 pt buy Stats - Str 15, Dex 16 Con 10, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 8
    Final Stats - Str 17, Dex 19, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 8
    Final BAB and Saves - BAB 17, Fort 14, Ref 10, Will 5
    Final Initiator Level - 16

    1. Two-Weapon Fighting, (Stealthy)
    3. Martial Study (Shadow Jaunt)
    4. (Mounted Combat)
    6. Iron Heart Aura, (Improved Two-Weapon Fighting)
    9. Stormguard Warrior
    11. (Ride by Attack)
    12. Martial Study (Shadow Stride)
    15. Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, (Blade Meditation (Tiger Claw))
    18. Martial Study (Shadow Blink)
    19. (Combat Reflexes)

    1. Wolf Fang Strike, Moment of Perfect Clarity, Steel Wind
    2. Sudden Leap
    3. Shadow Jaunt, Action Before Thought
    7. Soaring Raptor Strike
    12. Shadow Stride
    14. Fountain of Blood
    15. Iron Heart Endurance
    16. Trade Wolf Fang Strike for Pouncing Charge
    17. Finishing Move
    18. Shadow Blink, trade Soaring Raptor Strike for Swooping Dragon Strike
    19. Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip
    20. Trade Steel Wind for Raging Mongoose

    1. Punishing Stance
    5. Blood in the Water
    20. Supreme Blade Parry

    Notable Class Abilities & Build Features:
    - Pouncing on a charge
    - Shadow Pounce (3x full attacks)
    - Can use Concentration checks instead of its horrid Will save and mediocre Ref save
    - Can heal itself up to 40 hp.
    - No TWF penalty and full Str bonus to offhand attacks.

    This build uses a kukri in each hand. Its attack progression on a full attack is 17/17/12/12/7/7/2 before any modifiers. Typical maneuvers prepared are: Shadow Jaunt, Shadow Stride, Shadow Blink, Pouncing Charge, Iron Heart Endurance, and Fountain of Blood.

    The basic attack strategy is as follows. When you get into range of a charge, pounce at the enemy using Pouncing Charge. Trade any attacks you don't think will hit (or even all of them) for touch attacks using Combat Rhythm from Stormguard Warrior. Next round, use Shadow Jaunt, Shadow Stride, and Shadow Blink against the enemy you charged last round. This results in three full attacks. Each hit of these attacks gains +5 damage for each touch attack you made the round before. If they try to move away from you, you should still be able still hit them with at least one Shadow Pounce, probably, more likely 2 or all 3. If they actually run from you, then you take your AoO and grin since they removed themselves from the combat for a round or two. Next round you will have to recharge your maneuvers using a swift action. If an opponent is in range, attack them with a touch attack from Combat Rhythm and make sure to shadow pounce them next turn. Repeat as necessary. Make sure to use Shadow Blink last for pouncing. If you drop them before the third pounce, you can use Fountain of Blood to render other foes shaken. Recommended stance to stay in is Supreme Blade Parry, for the DR 5/-. This helps make up for your lack of HP.

    Recommended Equipment:
    - Keen Kukris. Wounding and Wrathful healing are good enhancements as well.
    - Str, Con, and Dex boosting items. Tomes of these stats are good as well.

    Kilroo hit upon most the reason I used Crinti Shadow Marauder instead of Teflammar Shadowlord. It all came down to wasting less feats and that it is easier to qualify for CSM without magic and sneak attack. From a roleplaying standpoint, getting the High Priest of Mask to perform the Rite of Shadow Walking on you is likely only slightly easier than getting the Dambrath nobility to sponsor you.

    Thoughts, questions, or comments?

    Quadra-Pounce Shadow Lord (by Lellindil)

    Original post by Lellindel:

    alright I whipped this together kinda fast. this build has a crappy BAB, because none of the classes in it have a full progression and it skips around a lot. it does have 2d6 sneak attack, 4d6 if its in assasin stance or +d6 fire damage to all attacks all the time, along with a wide variety of manuevers. this paticular build could get 4 full attacks in 1 round by using the leaping flame manuever (counter). no twf penalty and full strength bonus on both daggers.

    Title: Quadra-Pounce Shadowlord
    Race: human
    build stub: rogue 1/fighter 2/ rogue +1/swordsage 1/rogue +1/swordsage +1/shadowlord 5/swordsage +1/bloodclaw master 2/swordsage +4 (+1 ECL from shadow walker template)

    rogue1: twf, dodge
    fight1: (mobility)
    fight2: (spring attack), blind-fight
    rogue3: shadowblade
    shadowlord2: improved twf
    shadowlord5: gloomblade
    bloodclaw2: adaptive style
    swordsage6: greater twf

    5: wolf fang strike, sudden leap, cloak of deception, shadowblade technique, distracting ember, burning blade
    7: shadowjaunt
    13: death from above
    14:dancing mongoose
    16: trade shadowblade technique for shadow stride, leaping flame
    17:searing blade
    18: trade wolf fang strike for rabid bear strike, shadow blink
    19: inferno blade

    5: child of shadow
    7: island of blades
    17: fiery assault or assasin stance

    notable abilities:
    - able to perform 4 full attacks in 1 round
    - up to 7th level manuevers from shadow hand, tiger claw and desert wind
    - shadow discorporation, so you can't die
    - full strength bonus to both weapons
    - no penalty for fighting with 2 weapons
    - dex to damage
    - 2d6 sneak attack, 4d6 in assasin stance
    - evasion
    - wis mod to dmg on strikes
    - wis to ac in light armor

    attack bonus before magic, weapon focus, stats, etc:

    if anyone can think of ways to improve on this let me know. the major flaw that I would really like to improve is its BAB or an alternate bonus to hit.

    also this is including the shadow walker template if you didn't figure that out.

    sorry manuevers readied:

    shadow jaunt
    shadow stride
    shadow blink
    leaping flame
    dancing mongoose
    cloak of deception

    with this set up you could activate cloak of deception then use shadow jaunt(or dimdoor) full attack something getting full sneak attack, use shadow stride full attack again with full sneak attack. if something attacks you, assuming its alive use leaping flame counter and full attack it again, no longer sneak attack unless its flanked, which is possible considering u just teleported anywhere adjacent to it.

    next turn you could dimdoor or jaunt again (whichever you didn't use) full attack something, then use shadow blink to do so again. then you have a move action left to dance.

    at low levels it has burning ember for a flanking buddy. the searing, burning, inferno blade series is also pretty good in my opinion, especialy for a build with lots of attacks.

    dex to damage, shadow discorporation, making you close to unkillable. all the fun that goes along with gloomrazor: which gives you more opportunitys to sneak attack.

    there are lots of possibilites with all the manuevers and class abilities this build has, its just limited by its to hit.

    Shadow Adept (by Shadowcastr)

    Original post by Shadowcastr:

    I do not know if anyone has come up with this one yet, but my dm and i recently started working on this guy. Ill give him a name later but here goes:

    Shadowcaster 7(of course)/ Swordsage 2/ Telflomar Shadowlord 6
    He will be human for the bonus feat, and he will have two flaws, shaky, so he isnt good at ranged combat, and frail, bc i had no other choice from dm if i wanted a second flaw/feat.

    The seven lvls of shadowcaster give him two castings of multiple mysteries that promote stealth and will help him later down the line as a teflomar shadowlord. The effects are as follows:

    (all of these are casted as spell like, and can be cast 2 times per day)

    Bend perspective (amazing for scouting, basically arcane eye)

    Peircing sight (darkvision 60 plus see invisibility)

    Voice of shadows (command, taken bc it had to be)

    Congress of shadows (send sentence and get responce over long distances, taken bc to had to be, but is useful every once in a blue moon)

    Flicker!!! (teleportation almost as dimension door, can be cast as a immediate action and if used when attacked gives a 50 percent miss chance)

    Shadow skin (+3 AC and +3 shield Bonus)

    Sight Obscurred (hide in plain sight for 1 round per caster lvl)

    My Dm gave a houserule that the bonus feat granted by multiple paths can be used ot purchase a new mystery, so i took two additional mysteries:

    Flicker, already amazing but later on this additional pick up will be very crucial

    Bolster, additional 35 hps, never a bad thing

    I also recieve fundamentals which are incredibly useful outside of combat.
    Namely caul of shadows, a +2 deflection bonus, black candle, and umbral hand.

    Shadow caster also gives darkvision out to 30 ft and i only need to eat once per week. Btw all this is from memory, ill edit when i get my books later.

    Swordsage gives two very amazing contributions, first the sneak attack prequisite for teflomar Shadowlord and bonus ac, so if optimized your character just got somewhere btwn a 4 and 6 bonus to AC

    Swordsage also gives more dmg options and abilities, but i cant remember the big ones off hand, so ill move on and come back later.

    Finally we hit teflomar shadowlord. It requires blindfight, sneak attack dmg, dodge, mobility, and spring attack.

    My feats went as follows

    Shadowcaster 1: dodge, combat expertise, improved trip, blindfight
    Shadowcaster 3: mobility
    Shadowcaster 6: improved mystery(flicker)
    Swordsage 1: spring attack, and got sneak attack
    Teflomar Shadowlord 1-6: T/B/D

    If anyone is unfarmilliar with the teflomar shadowlord at lvl 2 he gains the ability to step into shadow and teleport a distance based on his class lvl, any time he teleports he gains his full attack on a target he teleports next to. The importance is in the wording, any time he teleports, not whenever he steps into shadow. So anytime this character teleports he gains a full attack option on his enemy.

    He also has some amazing class abilities besides this but for now i will just focus on his step into shadow.

    My character can flicker(teleport as if by dimension door) as a swift action or immediate action. He can do this 6 times per day or if you sacrifice bolster 9 times per day at lvl 1. At 6 lvl my teflomar shadowlord can use flicker 6-9 times and his own step into shadow 6 times. This important bc un optimized he can full attack twice per round, or full attack once per round then have a complete turn. He can also flicker defensively and have a 50 percent miss chance followed by a full attack and then his actual turn.

    I think it is important to note my character is wielding a kasuri gama,(i think, again i am doing this from memory, it is an exotic weapon but is already finnesable without even having weapon finese. It has 10 ft reach but can still be used at 5 ft with no penalties.

    His choice of manuevers will be decided later and at lvl 16 he will start going swordsage again until 20.

    Also my characters AC will be somewhere btwn 34 and 37 by lvl 11, i can show calculations on a later post.

    Any critiques will be welcome

    Everpouncer Master of Nine (by Sang-Drax)

    Original post by Sang-Drax:

    Everpouncer Master of Nine

    Things you need to know:

    I used some variants and house rules that aren't that hard to pass by:
    • Shadow Stride qualifies for TS
    • You can pick a non-1st level stance at Swo1
    • Needs fractional BAB to reach +16 BAB at 20th level
    • Uses the Cobra Strike Monk variant from UA

    If that's not possible, drop War6 to aquire the shadow-walker template.

    Monk 2/Swashbuckler 1/Fighter 1/Warblade 6/Swordsage 1/Telflammar Shadowlord 4/Master of Nine 5. I chose Human because of favored class issues. Able Learner is probably not essential in the build and can easily be swapped for something else.

    Stats: Dex > Wis > Int > Con > Str > Cha

    feat progression:
    1.mnk1----------dodge*, IUS*, 2wf, able learner*
    3.swa1----------weapon finesse*, blind-fight
    4.fig1----------spring attack*
    6.war2----------adaptive style
    9.swo1----------weapon focus*, shadow blade
    10.war5---------improved initiative*

    The deal here is the fact that most pre-reqs for Mo9 are already filled if you plan to qualify for TS. Using Warblade for recovery mechanics rocks with shadow pounce: use shadow jaunt (standard) and shadow stride (move) in the same round and recover using your swift action with one of those full attacks. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I guess that would mean you can shadow pounce every freaking round. If you think you can end a battle quickly, use your swift action for an extra pounce (Shadow Blink) instead.

    You also have Dex to hit and damage and, when you finish Mo9 (at level 20 :bored:), up to an extra +9 damage to every single attack.

    Defensivewise, you're not that bad either. You add your Wis to AC and you have an extra 20% miss chance due to Shadow Blur. On top of that, fair hps. No armor, though.

    Note that having concealment means you can virtually hide in plain sight.

    Statistics @ level 20:
    BAB +16; Fort +14, Ref +12 (+int; evasion), Will +12; IL 5th (swo), 15th (war); SA +2d6+20; avg HD d9; good skills

    These are mostly open. You need Shadow Jaunt and Assassin's Stance at swordsage 1, and you should pick Shadow Stride and Shadow Blink (the last one being the least essential) ASAP. The Mongoose are also nice, though you won't have many swift actions available at a given time. I do not know how would those stack with shadow pouncing.

    The bad things:
    • Kinda sucks until level 9, when you pick both Assassin's Stance and Shadow Blade.
    • Must be in Assassin's Stance all the time. That's mitigated a little bit once Mo9's dual stance ability kicks in, but that's a little too late in the build.
    • Uses a lot of alternate/house rules.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

    Wow. This is really damn good. Very good covering of basically all of it (definitely everything I know). Two things:

    1) May I mention you in the Swordsage Handbook? A lot of this is very applicable to Swordsages.

    2) A suggestion someone made in the SS Handbook: Use Dark Orange instead of gold, as it's easier to read on a white background.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

    May I suggest that you group your feats according to the color-code? That is, the Gold ones coming first and then green, blue...

    And, although I agree that Dervish is kinda lackluster for its abilities, what about its capstone A Thousand Cuts? Isn't it worth the notice? Of course, I do reckon that it's way inferior to time stand still, but may be the poor man's maneuver if he's got no access to ToB.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    1) May I mention you in the Swordsage Handbook? A lot of this is very applicable to Swordsages.
    Yes, go ahead. I want to add some Swordsage builds, so there will probably be some overlap.

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    2) A suggestion someone made in the SS Handbook: Use Dark Orange instead of gold, as it's easier to read on a white background.
    I'll try and switch those the next time I get a chance to update.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuukale View Post
    May I suggest that you group your feats according to the color-code? That is, the Gold ones coming first and then green, blue...
    Do the other handbooks rank them that way? Yeesh, that's a lot of feats I'd have to resort. I may consider it for a later post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuukale View Post
    And, although I agree that Dervish is kinda lackluster for its abilities, what about its capstone A Thousand Cuts? Isn't it worth the notice? Of course, I do reckon that it's way inferior to time stand still, but may be the poor man's maneuver if he's got no access to ToB.
    Yes, I probably should have mentioned the capstone, but it's only 1/day. Still... that was pretty darned sweet for when it came out.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

    Couple of notes on Warforged (although I suppose this is more relevant to a Natural Weapons build, primarily, but since you do spend a lot of text on the application of Natural Weapons techniques to augment TWFing..):

    In addition to Jaws of Death they can get another slam with the aptly-named Second Slam feat. The Warforged Fighter sub levels are worth a look, as well- the Warforged Fighter 2 allows you to choose a Warforged feat as your bonus instead of a Fighter Bonus Feat. Handy way to put in Second Slam or Jaws of Death. Bit feat intensive, but if you want to pay the cost that way Warforged have natural weapon access equal to the lizardy races without dealing with the drawbacks of being small and puny or having an LA. Plus, of course, being a Warforged, with all the normal benefits thereof.

    Rapidstrike: This really has nothing to do with iteratives, aside from having BAB as a prereq to take it and using -5 steps between the attacks it grants. It just grants you an extra attack with one of a pair of natural weapons (most often claws, as these are far and away the easiest weapon to acquire in a pair.)

    If you didn't have Rapidstrike, your attack sequence would be Claw/Claw. If you add Rapidstrike, it becomes Claw/Claw/Claw-5. If you're using a weapon, shift the attack bonus downward as appropriate for the presence of Multiattack/Greater Multiattack, since you are now using everything as secondary weapons- Weapon/Claw-5/Claw-5/Claw-10, Weapon/Claw-2/Claw -2/Claw -7, etc.

    Improved Rapidstrike lets you get more than one extra attack, with a further -5 penalty for each one you use. The weird thing here is that while this looks like a normal BAB Iterative progression.. it's not limited by BAB. You can make up to four extra attacks with Improved Rapidstrike, and unlike BAB-based attacks you can make those four extra attacks even if it brings your net penalty to the negatives. So.. Claw/Claw/Claw-5/Claw-10/Claw-15/Claw-20.. probably not going to hit, but hey, you can always fish for those Nat 20s!

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

    Whoooaaa this is incredible. I just spent entirely too long reading this. TWF has always been near and dear to my heart, and now I can bring it to the table not laughably. In particular I liked the ACFs and the like you mentioned.

    Nice work.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Travel Devotion (Complete Champion). ... You could also try Planar Touchstone -> Catalogues of Enlightenment to take the Sun domain power from the Dragonlance Campaign Sourcebook, which grants you Turn Undead as a cleric, but some DMs may find that too obscure or dubious.
    Well, since Dragonlance Campaign Setting says Sun domain is "mystic only" (page 104), and the Catalogues of Enlightenment says to "Choose a cleric domain" (Planar Handbook, page 166), that's not dubious at all: it's flat out obviously illegal.
    Last edited by Curmudgeon; 2013-04-05 at 11:14 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

    *puts on a monocle*
    Good show, Darrin, jolly good show.
    *takes monocle off*

    Then, some notes:

    Diopsid should probably be gold, getting two-handed TWF and no need for Dex is a definite game-changer for TWF.

    You might want to mention OA Samurai, which gets a pair of what are essentially Ancestral Relic weapons, with the entry even mentioning that samurai from different cultures may have different ancestral weapons.

    Craven has an error, I think you meant the damage gets multiplied on critical hits, not "by Power Attack".

    Magic items worth mentioning:

    Gauntlets of Ghost Fighting (MIC 216): Ghost touch on all weapons, bonus damage vs. incorporeal.

    Ghost Shroud (MIC 104): Ghost touch on all weapons, deflection bonus to AC.

    Sacred Scabbard (MIC 183): 3/day Bless Weapon on the weapon drawn from the scabbard. Explicitly works on double weapons. Great for Revenant Blades with their high crit-range double weapon and free Imp. Crit.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.


    Amazing handbook (I haven't finished reading it but, still it is a great one).

    A small tidbit the whole verborrea at the beginning is more helpful for a DM than for a player, it is still really nice to read how everything works and yes, it should be included in the handbook. But perhaps add a note saying that the discussion is finished in the 3rd post and thus there starts the handbook proper might be nice. I was actually taken aback by the wall text.

    A couple of comments on PrCs, since I lately build a twfer that used them. Eternal blade meshes awesomely with revenant blade (not only in crunch but in fluff too). And the revenant blade actually can give you an extra feat for 1800 gp if you buy a Zaelshin Tu (player's guide to eberron pg. 145).

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    Well, since Dragonlance Campaign Setting says Sun domain is "mystic only" (page 104), and the Catalogues of Enlightenment says to "Choose a cleric domain" (Planar Handbook, page 166), that's not dubious at all: it's flat out obviously illegal.
    That line is descriptive, not a rule. The Sun domain is mystic only because no deities in the Krynn pantheon offer it, and no clerics in Krynn are allowed to worship a "cause". If a PC can pick up a domain outside of his deity's portfolio (as some PrCs or feats allow), then I don't see why that wouldn't be an example of "specific trumps general".

    There may be a larger argument about whether Krynn's planar cosmology can be mixed at all with non-Krynn planes, since Krynn is supposed to be considered inaccessable to anyone outside of that campaign world. However, if there were any information on Krynn or alternate versions of the Sun domain, then the Catalogues of Enlightenment would be a good place to find such a thing.

    In any case, I think "dubious" covers this pretty well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Diopsid should probably be gold, getting two-handed TWF and no need for Dex is a definite game-changer for TWF.
    The double-two-handed TWF is still -4/-4, and Oversize TWF won't help there, as it only works with one-handed weapons, so I don't really consider that ideal for TWF. I can see maybe green for allowing oversized weapons without penalty, though (Strongarm Bracers for free, essentially). The LA bugs me, though, so I can't quite give it gold (but could probably be persuaded if there is overwhelming agreement).

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    You might want to mention OA Samurai, which gets a pair of what are essentially Ancestral Relic weapons, with the entry even mentioning that samurai from different cultures may have different ancestral weapons.
    Good point. I'm slightly annoyed with OA Samurai in that it gives you a katana/wakizushi, but does *not* give you EWP, but it's still infinitely better than the Complete Warrior version.

    Actually, both Samurai need a write-up. Thanks, I'll have to add that later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Craven has an error, I think you meant the damage gets multiplied on critical hits, not "by Power Attack".
    Both, actually. Craven is a static modifier, so it would be multiplied on a crit and by Power Attack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Magic items worth mentioning:

    Gauntlets of Ghost Fighting (MIC 216): Ghost touch on all weapons, bonus damage vs. incorporeal.

    Ghost Shroud (MIC 104): Ghost touch on all weapons, deflection bonus to AC.

    Sacred Scabbard (MIC 183): 3/day Bless Weapon on the weapon drawn from the scabbard. Explicitly works on double weapons. Great for Revenant Blades with their high crit-range double weapon and free Imp. Crit.
    Haven't gotten to that section yet! But thanks, I'll make sure I add those.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Both, actually. Craven is a static modifier, so it would be multiplied on a crit and by Power Attack.
    Um, what? Power Attack doesn't multiply anything.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    The double-two-handed TWF is still -4/-4, and Oversize TWF won't help there, as it only works with one-handed weapons, so I don't really consider that ideal for TWF. I can see maybe green for allowing oversized weapons without penalty, though (Strongarm Bracers for free, essentially). The LA bugs me, though, so I can't quite give it gold (but could probably be persuaded if there is overwhelming agreement).
    Could you use a Bastard Sword for this? It is a one-handed weapon, after all. The rules state that if you wield it two handed, it becomes a martial weapon, but it doesn't say it becomes a "two handed weapon". And when you wield that sword in your off-hands...

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Khatoblepas View Post
    Could you use a Bastard Sword for this? It is a one-handed weapon, after all. The rules state that if you wield it two handed, it becomes a martial weapon, but it doesn't say it becomes a "two handed weapon". And when you wield that sword in your off-hands...
    The special rules for Diopsids are quirky. Yes, you could wield a pair of large-sized bastard swords one-handed, and use your extra arms to "stabilize" the weapons. You'd need EWP and Oversize TWF to bring your TWF penalties down to -2/-2.

    If you tried to wield them as two-handed weapons, you'd incur the usual penalties for wielding a non-light weapon in your offhand, so you'd have a -4 penalty on both two-handed weapons. Actually, you can drop this to -2/-2 by using two one-handed weapons, and then gripping both of them with two arms. That way you get the best damage output from Str bonus and Power Attack multipliers.

    You could also wield a two-handed weapon with two arms, a shield in an extra arm, and leave the fourth arm empty. So long as the shield's ACP was zero, there'd be no penalty. If you try to wield a light weapon in your extra arms, you take a -4 penalty on *all* your attacks, and if it's not light, the penalty is -8. Likewise, if you tried to use a light shield for a shield bash, you'd incur the -4 penalty for attacking with a light weapon, and if it was a heavy shield, -8 penalty.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

    Any comment on differences between 3.5 and PF? (Since it's getting hard to find some of those 3.5 books.. :p )
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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

    Stormguard Warrior: Robilar's Gambit (PHBII) feat will get you the needed AoO for Channel the Storm

    Double Hit: Robilar's Gambit will get you the needed AoO

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    Default Re: [3.5] The TWF OffHandbook.

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    Any comment on differences between 3.5 and PF? (Since it's getting hard to find some of those 3.5 books.. :p )
    I haven't really had an urge to dig into Pathfinder yet. My current group is sticking with 3.5 partly because of familiarity but mostly due to inertia. However, there does seem to be a lot more PF posts on these forums compared to 3.5. An update for PF would definitely be useful to a growing number of people.

    Maybe I can hoodwink someone else to post a PF update... Any volunteers?

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