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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    A common complaint about 3.5 is that two-weapon fighting is mechanically inferior within an already mechanically inferior category of fighting (that category being martial characters).

    There are dozens of houserule systems in place to improve the system and make it a viable option for optimizers. I've tried a lot of different systems, but I'm never sure how best to evaluate the line between "balanced" and "fun" in D&D. I know that one of the most fun ones I've tried is that for every attack you get with your primary hand, you get another with your off-hand--so a BAB +6/+1 character with no TWF feats got two attacks each with the primary and off hands. There were some other tweaks to feats (I believe the penalties were reduced slightly), but I mainly just remember a lot of fun coming out of that. I don't recall if it was balanced fun, because my group is typically just about enjoying the game. Unfortunately, it also encouraged munchkining characters with four (or more!) arms to get as many attacks as possible.

    So, what homebrew system (if any) do you use at your table? I would love if we could get the great minds here to collaborate and develop a great system that's both balanced and fun, without adding too much complexity, so consider this to be a bit of a brainstorming thread.
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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    The biggest issue is that feats in general provide too little benefit for how few you get and those benefits do not scale. There is at least one feat fix around here that addresses this by having feats scale based on how many other feats of similat type you have, but i cannot pull it up right now as i a away from my pc typing tuis on my phone.
    Last edited by SkipSandwich; 2015-06-24 at 08:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Skip, are you talking about this thing by FrozenFeet? His two-weapon fighting feat is in the second batch of feats.
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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by unbeliever536 View Post
    Skip, are you talking about this thing by FrozenFeet? His two-weapon fighting feat is in the second batch of feats.
    Yes! That's the one! I couldn't find it as I was on my phone while waiting to pickup my cat from his checkup earlier.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Part of the issue with Two-Weapon fighting is that there are many different reasons that all contribute to why it's considered substandard compared to some other combat methods, and as I've said before- you can't homebrew in a vacuum. For example, making a magic weapon always costs the same amount, so two 1-handed magic weapons are twice as expensive as one 2-handed magic weapon. If you really want to fix TWF you're probably going to need to tweak a lot of other things as well.

    Still, lots of people like the flavor of the style, and we don't always care about perfect optimization. I did a write up a while back for improving it, but after then subsequently going through and tweaking the other styles I decided it probably needed a second look.

    Taking inspiration from real-life, I'd lean towards making the style a hybrid of offense and defense, capable of more damage than a single 1-handed weapon but with some of the AC boost of sword-n-board (also a sub-par choice without heavy revision).
    Something like this, probably:


    BASIC MECHANICS
    Any weapon wielded in one hand adds your full Strength modifier to damage rolls made with that weapon (there's no distinction between main-hand and off-hand weapons).

    When using a light weapon, you may always choose to apply your Dex modifier to attack rolls in place of your Str modifier (essentially replacing the Weapon Finesse feat).

    If you wield a second weapon in your other hand, you gain a +1 Parry bonus (equivalent to the bonus from a shield) to your AC. When fighting with this style, you may make one extra attack with your offhand weapon as part of a Full-round attack. During any round in which you make an extra attack with your second weapon, you suffer a -6 penalty to all attack rolls until the start of your next turn (including Attacks of Opportunity). (You do not suffer these penalties if you merely hold a weapon in your off-hand, and do not attack with it.) You must announce if you are going to make attacks with both weapons before you make your first attack roll, so that you can apply the appropriate penalties.

    You can reduce these penalties in two ways:
    • If both weapons are light, the penalty for all attack roles is reduced by 2. (An unarmed strike is always considered light.)
    • With feats- Both the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting and Greater Two-Weapon Fighting feat reduce the penalties by 2.


    FEATS
    Improved Two-Weapon Fighting [General]
    Prerequisite: Dex 11 or BAB +1
    Benefit: The penalties on attack rolls for fighting with two weapons are reduced; when attacking in this manner the penalty for attacks made with either hand lessens by 2.
    In addition, whenever you make an attack with your main-hand weapon as a standard action, you may also make a single attack with your off-hand weapon.
    Normal: If you wield a second weapon in your off hand you may only make extra attacks as part of a Full-round action, and when you do so you suffer a a -6 penalty to all attack rolls you make until the start of your next turn.
    Special: A fighter may select Improved Two-Weapon Fighting as one of his fighter bonus feats.

    Greater Two-Weapon Fighting [General]
    Prerequisite: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Dex 13 or BAB +3
    Benefit: The penalties on attack rolls for fighting with two weapons are reduced; when attacking in this manner the penalty for attacks made with either hand lessens by 4.
    In addition you apply 1˝ times the character’s Dexterity bonus to attack rolls made with Light Weapons during any round in which you attack with a weapon in each hand.
    Also, when making any attack of opportunity you may make attack rolls with both weapons.
    Special: A fighter may select Greater Two-Weapon Fighting as one of his fighter bonus feats.

    Two-Weapon Defense [General]
    Prerequisites: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Dex 13 or BAB +3
    Benefit: When fighting with a light or one-handed weapon in each hand, you are immune to being flanked.
    Additionally, when you are fighting defensively or using the total defense action, your Parry Bonus is improved to +2 plus an additional +1 for every 5 BAB (so +3 at +6, +4 at +11, etc).
    Special: A fighter may select Two-Weapon Defense as one of his fighter bonus feats.

    Two-Weapon Mastery [General]
    Prerequisites: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Dex 15 or BAB +6
    Benefit: Any one-handed weapon (including simple, martial, and exotic weapons) is treated as a light weapon for the purposes of determining penalties or bonuses to attack rolls from your ability scores.
    During a Full-round attack each time you make an attack with your first weapon you may make an additional attack with your other weapon as well, at the same BAB.
    In addition you apply 2 times the character’s Dexterity bonus to attack rolls made with light weapons during any round in which you attack with a weapon in each hand.
    Special: A fighter may select Two-Weapon Mastery as one of his fighter bonus feats.




    There might need to be some tweaks made of things clarified, but that's probably how I'd lay it out. Reasonably straightforward with gradual improvements, not to complex, and able to be accessed without sacrificing every other fighting style or a huge expenditure of resources. You deal more damage with each attack with two-handed weapons, but you'll hit far more often when dual-wielding.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2018-08-28 at 07:08 PM.
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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiloh View Post
    So, what homebrew system (if any) do you use at your table?
    When it comes to house-rules at the tables I've been to, if you can't explain it in a sentence or two, no one cares. With that in mind, the fixes I have proposed are:
    There are two feats: Two Weapon Fighting and Improved Two Weapon fighting, normal prerequisites, normal penalties.

    Two weapon fighting lets you make an attack with the off-hand weapon any time you attack (standard attack or full attack) and if you don't attack with the off-hand weapon in a round, you get +1 shield bonus to AC.

    Improved Two Weapon fighting gives you as many attacks with your off-hand weapon during a full attack as you normally get with your main hand, and the shield AC bonus for not using it to attack goes up by 1 for every 5 BAB you possess (+2 at 5 BAB, +3 at 10, etc).
    This reduces the feat load greatly, which is one of the problems with TWF. Sometimes Oversized Two Weapon Fighting also gets mixed into those rules somewhere, but its not strictly necessary. Also just to help the Ranger out, we give him these as bonus feats straight up, rather than only when he does the special handshake or whatever (we don't play a lot of Rangers)

    Hope I helped
    Last edited by ShiningStarling; 2015-06-27 at 10:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by ObliviMancer View Post
    This reduces the feat load greatly, which is one of the problems with TWF. Sometimes Oversized Two Weapon Fighting also gets mixed into those rules somewhere, but its not strictly necessary. Also just to help the Ranger out, we give him these as bonus feats straight up, rather than only when he does the special handshake or whatever (we don't play a lot of Rangers)
    Yeah, that's a good point. I don't mind keeping the number of feats a little high because I give virtually all the melee classes something like what the ranger already has- bonus feats for fighting styles. If you are sticking with the regular feat-distribution, limiting all the chains to only 2 or at most 3 feats is a good idea.

    You can make the feats larger and have them scale if you're worried about someone getting to much at level 3, if you want, but keeping the overall number down is good.
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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    If you want to fix two weapon fighting, first we should establish exactly what needs to be fixed. So, what are the problems with two weapon fighting?

    - Reliant on feat trees. Feat trees tend to be a problem in general because of the way they cause uneven spikes in character viability at various levels. Moreover, all too often it means that you have to give up a lot of customization and versatility just to be able to do one trick.

    - Reliant on full attacks or special maneuvers designed specifically for two weapons. Ew. Basically, two weapon fighting rules don't really interface well with a lot of the game's combat rules.

    - Weapons are stupidly expensive past low levels, and two-weapon-fighting simply emphasizes the itemization disadvantages of martial characters even further. Any versatility you might have been able to gain by being able to swap between two combinations of weapons on the fly is lost by the fact that your character is going to be dropping a ton of wealth just to have one level-appropriate weapon, let alone two!

    - No really apparent unique niche to build on. Two handed weapons have their massive damage, sword and board has its defenses (even if they aren't that great), reach has its battlefield control... and dual wielding has... damage again. It's trying to copy the tactical niche of two handed weapons rather than carve its own niche. This means that most would-be fixes that don't change this end up with one or the other simply overshadowing its competitor. Since they aren't bringing notably different advantages to the field and perfect balance is difficult at best, it's relatively easy for any competent optimizer to crunch the damage output numbers.

    To put it another way, if you wanted to make a sword and board fix, everyone can immediately say "Okay, the sword and board guy should be the best at defense." What's the dual wielder supposed to be the best at?

    ____

    In short, a genuinely great two weapon fighting fix would have to address all of these issues. Accessibility/investment, interfacing, itemization, and niche.
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2015-06-27 at 04:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    If you want to fix two weapon fighting, first we should establish exactly what needs to be fixed. So, what are the problems with two weapon fighting?
    This is kinda what I was talking about earlier- the problems with Two-Weapon Fighting aren't JUST with two-weapon fighting. The entire combat system and class design could be overhauled, but I don't know how far OP wants to go.

    - Reliant on feat trees. Feat trees tend to be a problem in general because of the way they cause uneven spikes in character viability at various levels. Moreover, all too often it means that you have to give up a lot of customization and versatility just to be able to do one trick.
    I'm not quite sure what you mean by the first sentence here- could you give an example?
    As to the second, the solution there isn't in the TWF feats, I think. Like I said- you can work at fixing this problem from multiple angles, and I think giving every melee class a bunch of Feats specifically for weapons styles helps with the need to be competent not cutting into customization.

    - Reliant on full attacks or special maneuvers designed specifically for two weapons. Ew. Basically, two weapon fighting rules don't really interface well with a lot of the game's combat rules.
    Well then we just change the mechanics, either at the basic rules level or with the feats themselves.

    - Weapons are stupidly expensive past low levels, and two-weapon-fighting simply emphasizes the itemization disadvantages of martial characters even further. Any versatility you might have been able to gain by being able to swap between two combinations of weapons on the fly is lost by the fact that your character is going to be dropping a ton of wealth just to have one level-appropriate weapon, let alone two!
    The entire WBL system is bjorked anyway though- I've always preferred the DM handing out equipment or treasure as appropriate, not because random monster seem to be carry 200 GP in their gut. I'd worry about fixing the mechanics before I got into item-redistribution though.

    - No really apparent unique niche to build on. Two handed weapons have their massive damage, sword and board has its defenses (even if they aren't that great), reach has its battlefield control... and dual wielding has... damage again. It's trying to copy the tactical niche of two handed weapons rather than carve its own niche. This means that most would-be fixes that don't change this end up with one or the other simply overshadowing its competitor. Since they aren't bringing notably different advantages to the field and perfect balance is difficult at best, it's relatively easy for any competent optimizer to crunch the damage output numbers.

    To put it another way, if you wanted to make a sword and board fix, everyone can immediately say "Okay, the sword and board guy should be the best at defense." What's the dual wielder supposed to be the best at?
    Does it HAVE to have a specific niche that it's best at? What's wrong with making it a hybrid style? You've got gish-classes, why not the equivalent for fighting styles?
    The RP has at least as much appeal to many people as the G- so long as it wasn't bordering on useless I think a lot of people could have fun with it.

    In short, a genuinely great two weapon fighting fix would have to address all of these issues. Accessibility/investment, interfacing, itemization, and niche.
    I'm not sure such a thing exists, because as I said the problems aren't ONLY in the feats or combat mechanics. Maybe we can take it in baby-steps though; how about we work on a merely GOOD fix to start with, and go from there.
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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    No really apparent unique niche to build on. Two handed weapons have their massive damage, sword and board has its defenses (even if they aren't that great), reach has its battlefield control... and dual wielding has... damage again. It's trying to copy the tactical niche of two handed weapons rather than carve its own niche. This means that most would-be fixes that don't change this end up with one or the other simply overshadowing its competitor. Since they aren't bringing notably different advantages to the field and perfect balance is difficult at best, it's relatively easy for any competent optimizer to crunch the damage output numbers.
    I think this is the biggest issue--what unmodified twf should look like, what feat-enabled twf should look like, and itemization/accessibility are questions you can only answer once you're clear on what the style's mechanical and flavor niche is. I think a good step is to mine history for inspiration, even if we're not going to make it a straitjacket. Dual-wielding styles have almost always, AFAIK, utilized either an attacking/defending pairing or an attacking/exploiting pairing.

    In the first version, the second weapon is used to parry attacks--indeed, in Europe the various sword and dagger styles developed directly from sword and buckler styles. The benefit of daggers or bucklers, defensively, is that they're fast. If you're dueling with someone, there's a very small area you need to block at any one time, so every inch of extra shield or weapon that isn't directly impeding the other weapon is just useless weight that's slowing your movements and tiring you out. The other defensive option you could be carrying, a shield, is more useful when you're facing projectiles and multiple opponents, because you can't count on moving fast enough to intercept an arrow with a small shield, and your hand can only be in one place at one time.

    In the second instance, the second weapon is used to attack and pin the opponents defenses. This could be a sai, a swordbreaker, or a large round shield, but the aim was to get control of your opponent and then follow-up with the "main" weapon.

    I think the lesson here is that two-weapon styles were principally meant for one-on-one combat, and could be made both more effective and more interesting if they were built around that. Mechanically, this could be expressed a couple of ways. For instance, fighting with two weapons might not grant multiple attacks but would provide a scaling AC bonus against one designated opponent, specifically an active bonus similar to a dodge bonus that protects you from at least melee touch attacks. In that context, you at least partially answer the itemization issue by no longer needing both weapons to be able to get past DR or deal appropriate damage, and there should be the option to just give the defensive weapon cheaper armor enhancements for someone who wants to upgrade it. The feats available might change the bonus to a straight-up deflection bonus, give you deflect arrows, or let you expand the bonus to more opponents.

    Fighting with two weapons could also simulate pin and exploit by getting rid of the "two lower probability attacks" routine and replacing it with a "lower probability/higher probability" routine, where hitting with the first attack doesn't deal damage, but instead makes the second attack more likely to hit and more dangerous--you get an attack bonus, your critical range increases, you can sneak attack, etc. This does less to fix the itemization issue, but it does help a bit: you only need attack bonuses, so DR-bypassing materials and damage-increasing riders are unnecessary, as is an enhancement bonus of less than +2. Feats could let other players get the same exploit bonus (which synergizes with the good initiative a high-dex dual wielder likely has), allow the player to do this routine as a standard instead of a full-attack, or maybe add free maneuvers like trip, disarm or Pathfinder's dirty trick.

    You could even maybe combine the two options--at lower levels, you just get the AC bonus, but once iteratives come online you can sacrifice a lower one to get the one-two combo.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Interesting ideas there. In essense you could use your off-hand to Aid Another your main hand, providing either a bonus to hit or to ac against a single designated foe.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    For the whole niche thing, consider... say... a hypothetical master of many fighting styles who carries around an arsenal of different weapons, and switches to whichever weapon style suits the needs of his situation. In what situation would he decide he'd want to switch to dual wielding?

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    For the whole niche thing, consider... say... a hypothetical master of many fighting styles who carries around an arsenal of different weapons, and switches to whichever weapon style suits the needs of his situation. In what situation would he decide he'd want to switch to dual wielding?
    I'm not familiar with the MoMS, but what about making the fighting styles a niche based on class? For example, 2-handed weapons are the big damage dealers for Strength-classes like the Fighter or Barbarian, but Two-Weapon fighting is better for Dexterity classes like Rogues and Rangers. Pure customization takes a hit I suppose, but I don't really imagine Rogues going around fighting with greataxes anyway.


    Edit: I looked up the MoMS, and so I'd say that if you did what I suggested, TWF would be preferable when the character had more Dex than Str, and THF for the inverse. Also, if you have lots of high-accuracy attacks, there could be situations where an enemy with high AC but low DR takes more damage from TWF than from a series of missed Power-Attacks. Essentially, you create a niche where there might not have been a well-defined one before. Like a 2-handed weapons adds 1.5 times your Str to damage, let TWF add more than 1 times your Dex to attack rolls and you can help negate the "flurry of misses" issue that plagues this style.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2015-06-28 at 10:40 AM.
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    Post Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    To put it another way, if you wanted to make a sword and board fix, everyone can immediately say "Okay, the sword and board guy should be the best at defense." What's the dual wielder supposed to be the best at?
    He is supposed to be good at taking on large groups of smaller enemies. Having several low accuracy low damage attacks works better when you have several low level targets to deal with than when you are trying to beat the hell out of a single big tough monster. In this case the dual wielder should find the nearest group of lackeys and put themselves in their faces.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by mantia View Post
    He is supposed to be good at taking on large groups of smaller enemies. Having several low accuracy low damage attacks works better when you have several low level targets to deal with than when you are trying to beat the hell out of a single big tough monster. In this case the dual wielder should find the nearest group of lackeys and put themselves in their faces.
    I can see this, and first thing that springs to mind would be folding the benefits of the Mobility>Whirlwind attack line into the TWF line.

    So basicly something like this

    Fighting with Two Weapons
    If you wield a second weapon in your other hand, you may make one extra attack with your offhand weapon as part of a Full-Round Attack. During any round in which you make an extra attack with your second weapon, you suffer a -6 penalty to all attack rolls until the start of your next turn (including Attacks of Opportunity). (You do not suffer these penalties if you merely hold a weapon in your off-hand, and do not attack with it.) You must announce if you are going to make attacks with both weapons before you make your first attack roll, so that you can apply the appropriate penalties.

    You can reduce these penalties in two ways:
    If both weapons are light, the penalty for all attack roles is reduced by 2. (An unarmed strike is always considered light.)
    With feats- Both the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting and Greater Two-Weapon Fighting feat reduce the penalties by 2.

    Feats

    Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
    Prerequisite: Dex 11 or BAB +1
    Benefit: The penalties on attack rolls for fighting with two weapons are reduced; when attacking in this manner the penalty for attacks made with either hand lessens by 2.
    In addition, whenever you make an attack with your main-hand weapon as a standard action, you may also make a single attack with your off-hand weapon.
    You gain a Dodge Bonus to AC against AoO provoked by moving through threatened squares based on the size of your wielded weapons, each one-handed weapon grants a +2 bonus, light weapons grant a +1 bonus.
    Normal: If you wield a second weapon in your off hand you may only make extra attacks as part of a Full-round action, and when you do so you suffer a a -6 penalty to all attack rolls you make until the start of your next turn.
    Special: A fighter may select Improved Two-Weapon Fighting as one of his fighter bonus feats.

    Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
    Prerequisiste: Dex 13 or BAB +3, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
    Benefit: The penalties on attack rolls for fighting with two weapons are reduced; when attacking in this manner the penalty for attacks made with either hand lessens by a further 2, this stacks with the benefit from Improved Two-Weapon Fighting for a total reduction of 4.
    In addition, when you successfully hit a single opponent with both weapons as part of the same attack action, you rend that opponent, dealing damage equal to 2d6 + 1 1/2 times your Str modifier.


    Whirlwind Attack
    Prerequisiste: Dex 15 or BAB +6, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
    Benefit: As a full round action, you may make a whirling, spinning attack lashing out at all foes within reach. You make a single attack at your highest BAB with each of your weapons at each opponent you threaten, you may choose to take a 5ft step after each pair of attacks, to a maximum distance of half your normal move speed. If this movement allows you to threaten a new opponent, you may attack them as well, no single opponent may be targeted more then a single time by this ability. If you hit an opponent with both attacks, you rend normally (as per Greater Two-Weapon Fighting).

    :EDIT: Minor Typo and grammar corrections needed due to originally posting this from my phone
    Last edited by SkipSandwich; 2015-06-28 at 07:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    @SkipSandwich

    I really do like the idea of including Whirlwind Attack in the TWF feat chain/tree/whatever. I've been wracking my brain for a good way to differentiate it from Cleave, which seems to be the 2-handed version of dealing damage to multiple enemies.



    Speaking of which- Power Attack. I know this is normally used with THF, and I don't want to derail the thread, but is there any reason it CAN'T be used with TWF? Is there a reason it can but SHOULDN'T?
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2015-06-28 at 06:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    @SkipSandwich

    I really do like the idea of including Whirlwind Attack in the TWF feat chain/tree/whatever. I've been wracking my brains with a good way to differentiate it from Cleave, which seems to be the 2-handed version of dealing damage to multiple enemies.



    Speaking of which- Power Attack. I know this is normally used with THF, and I don't want to derail the thread, but is there any reason it CAN'T be used with TWF? Is there a reason it can but SHOULDN'T?
    Mechanically, you can, but you only get +1 damage per -1 attack with one-handed weapons and no bonus at all with light weapons, so its usually better to focus on things like sneak attack or other proc-on-hit bonus damage unless you just have a huge to-hit bonus already.
    Last edited by SkipSandwich; 2015-06-28 at 07:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by mantia View Post
    He is supposed to be good at taking on large groups of smaller enemies. Having several low accuracy low damage attacks works better when you have several low level targets to deal with than when you are trying to beat the hell out of a single big tough monster. In this case the dual wielder should find the nearest group of lackeys and put themselves in their faces.
    Group fighting would be one option to create a niche for it. The duelist suddenly finds himself outnumbered, so disarms one of his opponents, flipping their weapon into his off-hand to (apparently) better deal with multiple attackers. It's a thing that happens in action movies, anyways.
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2015-06-28 at 09:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Group fighting would be one option to create a niche for it.
    There are still a couple of ways to approach this- for example, granting lots of little attacks, defenses against being flanked, movement, Attacks of Opportunity, possibly denying your enemies actions during their turn, etc.

    I've been re-reading the basic rules though, and I still think we need something more to differentiate things like Whirlwind Attack (and Cleave) from a regular Full Attack. If I'm reading this correctly*, it seems like Cleave gives you extra attacks where you wouldn't normally get them, and Whirlwind attack stops you from suffering the cumulative -5 penalty to BAB, but a regular Full-Attack action still lets you pick and choose your targets and move in between attacks to some degree. In other words, a regular full attack can be pretty powerful, and if these feats are supposed to be the capstone on any kind of chain, I feel like they need to really make you feel special above and beyond a normal attack.

    *almost every group I played with had it's own house-rules, so I've actually got relatively little experience with the RAW
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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Whirlwind Attack and Cleave are both bad mechanics, for a wide variety of reasons. They're just sloppy game design. Bag of rats and all that.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Whirlwind Attack and Cleave are both bad mechanics, for a wide variety of reasons. They're just sloppy game design. Bag of rats and all that.
    Maybe we can come with up with some improvements then.

    I'll talk about Cleave first because I think it's easier at the moment, and while I don't to get off-topic, I think we need to keep the fighting styles seperate. If we make Whirlwind attack so awesome it fills Cleave's Niche, then we need to come up with something entirely new for that instead.

    So here's what I'm thinking about for Cleave: as a full-round action you make 1 melee attack roll at your highest BAB against all targets within reach. Roll damage once, and apply the same amount to anyone who's AC you beat. If your BAB is +6 or greater, Cleave can be used as a standard action. If your BAB is +6 or greater you can cleave multiple times (equal to the normal number of attacks you could make), but at a decreasing BAB each time. So for example your first Cleave is at +6, you second cleave is at +1.

    One feat, fairly simple to use (I think), still favors 2-handed weapons with their bigger damage dice. Prerequisites or limitations variable as needed.



    Since Cleave now does most of what Whirlwind used to do, we need to focus on something else for that. I like the idea of movement and hitting lots of enemies, so what about letting you move as many times as you like in between attacks, up to your full movement distance. You can choose to make either a single attack against each enemy or one attack with each weapon. Essentially it's a full-attack plus your normal movement, which seems pretty good to me.

    Spring attack is still it's own full round action that's more focused on avoiding damage from a single target, and can be part of the chain or not.



    Again, these are mostly brainstorming ideas I'm throwing out there, and while I don't see any really glaring problems with them off the bat, please feel free to critique as harshly as needed.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2015-06-29 at 09:55 AM.
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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Maybe we can come with up with some improvements then.

    I'll talk about Cleave first because I think it's easier at the moment, and while I don't to get off-topic, I think we need to keep the fighting styles seperate. If we make Whirlwind attack so awesome it fills Cleave's Niche, then we need to come up with something entirely new for that instead.

    So here's what I'm thinking about for Cleave: as a full-round action you make 1 melee attack roll at your highest BAB against all targets within reach. Roll damage once, and apply the same amount to anyone who's AC you beat. If your BAB is +6 or greater, Cleave can be used as a standard action. If your BAB is +6 or greater you can cleave multiple times (equal to the normal number of attacks you could make), but at a decreasing BAB each time. So for example your first Cleave is at +6, you second cleave is at +1.

    One feat, fairly simple to use (I think), still favors 2-handed weapons with their bigger damage dice. Prerequisites or limitations variable as needed.



    Since Cleave now does most of what Whirlwind used to do, we need to focus on something else for that. I like the idea of movement and hitting lots of enemies, so what about letting you move as many times as you like in between attacks, up to your full movement distance. You can choose to make either a single attack against each enemy or one attack with each weapon. Essentially it's a full-attack plus your normal movement, which seems pretty good to me.

    Spring attack is still it's own full round action that's more focused on avoiding damage from a single target, and can be part of the chain or not.



    Again, these are mostly brainstorming ideas I'm throwing out there, and while I don't see any really glaring problems with them off the bat, please feel free to critique as harshly as needed.
    the crux of the 'bag-of-rats' exploit is having a ton of minmal CR tiny creatures that all occupy the same square and exploiting on-death mechanics to gain a huge benefit. Your idea for cleave doesn't really address that at all.

    A better idea may be;

    Cleave
    Benefit: As a standard action, you may attack any 2 contiguous squares you threaten with a single attack at your highest BAB. Roll once and compare to the AC of each affected creature, if multiple creatures occupy the same square choose one at random to attack, if this is a large creature whose space occupies both squares, you hit twice on a successful attack roll.

    Great Cleave
    Benefit: as cleave, but you may cleave on any attack action, making multiple cleaves as part of a full attack.

    THF then becomes okay at dealing with smaller numbers of tougher creatures, and excellent at battling single large powerful creatures.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by SkipSandwich View Post
    the crux of the 'bag-of-rats' exploit is having a ton of minmal CR tiny creatures that all occupy the same square and exploiting on-death mechanics to gain a huge benefit. Your idea for cleave doesn't really address that at all.
    I don't really see how it's necessary, since AFAIK my version of things doesn't give you any benefit on death, like the original one did. It just lets you attack all enemies who have been polite enough to cluster around you closely enough.

    Cleave
    Benefit: As a standard action, you may attack any 2 contiguous squares you threaten with a single attack at your highest BAB. Roll once and compare to the AC of each affected creature, if multiple creatures occupy the same square choose one at random to attack, if this is a large creature whose space occupies both squares, you hit twice on a successful attack roll.

    Great Cleave
    Benefit: as cleave, but you may cleave on any attack action, making multiple cleaves as part of a full attack.

    THF then becomes okay at dealing with smaller numbers of tougher creatures, and excellent at battling single large powerful creatures.
    That would work out, too, probably. One thing I've been considering though is that from a gameplay perspective, crowds of small enemies seem to be far less common than a single large enemy. 20 Kobolds are less visually impressive than a single dragon, even if the CR is the same, and a lot of DMs may be adverse to running multi-character scenarios which is more for them to manage and tends to slow combat down.
    I was less worried about the feats being more relatively powerful against crowds of enemies because that's a less common situation, and there's already more support for single-target target.

    Also, 2 feats to master a single function still feels like a lot for any class that's feat-starved.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2015-06-29 at 02:19 PM.
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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    One thing I've been considering though is that from a gameplay perspective, crowds of small enemies seem to be far less common than a single large enemy. 20 Kobolds are less visually impressive than a single dragon, even if the CR is the same, and a lot of DMs may be adverse to running multi-character scenarios which is more for them to manage and tends to slow combat down.
    Large groups of mooks are usually just too much trouble to run. D&D combat and encounter design is oriented towards ~5 or so good guys, who could be PCs, cohorts, summons or what have you, and 1-4 enemies. You can obviously run larger combats, but it's a time suck and as a DM it's a lot of bookkeeping. The best answer I've found to this issue is Oslecamo's mob template, which I've used pretty liberally in my campaigns. It's not perfect, but it does the job well enough. In that context, my players have gotten a lot of mileage from cleave, since it flat out doubles their damage.

    I think any multiple-target melee ability that doesn't involve some kind of mob template needs to be really generous with movement allowances. Large groups of enemies are rare enough, and large groups of clumped enemies are too rare in most campaigns to be worth the feat investment.
    Last edited by Mendicant; 2015-06-29 at 10:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Mendicant View Post
    Large groups of mooks are usually just too much trouble to run. ....The best answer I've found to this issue is Oslecamo's mob template, which I've used pretty liberally in my campaigns. It's not perfect, but it does the job well enough.
    Thank you for the link- I'm always happy to have additional resources to work with.

    I think any multiple-target melee ability that doesn't involve some kind of mob template needs to be really generous with movement allowances. Large groups of enemies are rare enough, and large groups of clumped enemies are too rare in most campaigns to be worth the feat investment.
    That makes me more comfortable that something like the way I suggested things won't be OP. Whirlwind Attack sort of breaks the action economy, since it's basically full movement plus full attack, but not in a way I see as being gamebreaking. If I make it require some dedicated investment in TWF as a prerequisite then it should be alright.

    Cleave naturally favors 2-handed weapons with bigger damage dice, so either none or at most 1 prerequisite should be fine. In fact- as far as I can tell if you want to make a Full-Attack anyway, there's not reason NOT to Cleave, on the off chance an invisible enemy is sneaking up behind you.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2015-06-30 at 11:39 AM.
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    Default Re: Really Improving Two-weapon Fighting

    on the off chance an invisible enemy is sneaking up behind you.
    That's a really good point. I like the idea of a meleer getting some anti-invisible utility out of it.

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