PDA

View Full Version : Fixing Two Weapon Fighting



Twilight Jack
2009-06-02, 11:53 AM
Well, we all know it doesn't work as advertised, but what do we do about it without creating more problems than we solve?

I keep coming back to the Marilith. Every proposed fix up with which I've come to place a ranger or two weapon fighter in an equivalent position to a Power Attacking two hander (never mind the other feats that turn the twohander into the Ubercharger) has the unfortunate side-effect of turning the six-armed marilith into an engine of destruction on par with the Tarrasque.

So what fixes have you guys come up with to make two-weapon fighting a viable mechanical choice when compared with the one feat path of Power Attack+greatsword?

Zaq
2009-06-02, 11:57 AM
Turn TWF/ITWF/GTWF into one feat that scales.

Have another feat, available around level 6 or 8, that lets you make one offhand attack (along with your primary attack) as a standard action. Double Hit already exists, but this new feat I'm thinking of would actually treat them as two separate attacks (two attack rolls, but two sneak attacks or whatever).

It's still somewhat inferior without bonus damage, but at least it's now significantly less so.

Goatman_Ted
2009-06-02, 12:07 PM
So what fixes have you guys come up with to make two-weapon fighting a viable mechanical choice when compared with the one feat path of Power Attack+greatsword?
I move that Two-Weapon Fighting as presented in D&D is silly. Let it suck, I say.

But something interesting might be a feat to -- as a part of an attack or complete defense action -- gain concealment while warding with an off-hand weapon or shield.

Maybe lay out a feat line that would advance to total concealment and let a two-weapon fighter (in the traditional sense, rather than the two-dozen-attacks-in-six-seconds sense) render enemies flat-footed when they miss due to concealment.

That would let a Rogue be much closer to the independent buckle-swashing class I want it to be.

[edit:]
'Concealment' would be problematic because of the way it interacts with Hide and Sneak Attack... a non-concealment miss chance would probably be closer to what I'm looking for.

Jayabalard
2009-06-02, 12:12 PM
I keep coming back to the Marilith. Every proposed fix up with which I've come to place a ranger or two weapon fighter in an equivalent position to a Power Attacking two hander (never mind the other feats that turn the twohander into the Ubercharger) has the unfortunate side-effect of turning the six-armed marilith into an engine of destruction on par with the Tarrasque.Have you considered that power attack might be the problem?

Perhaps it would be worthwhile to look into scaling back the damage from power attack, and then scaling up the power of melee weapons across the board.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-06-02, 12:16 PM
TWF problems:
Movement: any turn you need to move 10' you are wasting your second weapon. Some way of making an attack with both weapons as a standard act/on a charge fixes this.
Feat cost: TWF/ITWF/GTWF to start with, followed by the 3 TWD feats and any that you need to actully become good. Roll some of them into single feats, make others automatic, and don't have any feat slots used by fixes to the other TWF problems.
MAD: 13 or higher Dex is, while mot a major nerf, still expensive for most pt-buy.
Low Damage: PA and all that builds off of it is junk without Oversized TWF or Exotic Weapon Master(and generally bad even with that). Str needs both weapons to hit to get the same benefit as THF.
Weapon Selection: There are Thematic TWF builds, which use 2 one-handed or light weapons, reducing your weapon special ability selection and ability to use special attacks like Disarm, or Metagame TWF, using IUS or Armor Spikes with a 2-handed weapon. The first needs a boost in weapon selection that makes the second less attractive(no one wants to use Armor Spikes or IUS, they just have to to make TWF decent as-is).
Single hit: Certain abilities, like True Strike at low levels, discharge after one hit. You need 2 hits to make your feats more effective than Toughness. Situational weakness and one I wouldn't fix, but worth looking at for overall balance.
AoOs: You get one attack. The THF gets one atack. Why are you wielding that dagger, again?

Twilight Jack
2009-06-02, 12:19 PM
Turn TWF/ITWF/GTWF into one feat that scales.

Have another feat, available around level 6 or 8, that lets you make one offhand attack (along with your primary attack) as a standard action. Double Hit already exists, but this new feat I'm thinking of would actually treat them as two separate attacks (two attack rolls, but two sneak attacks or whatever).

It's still somewhat inferior without bonus damage, but at least it's now significantly less so.

This is the very first solution that I thought of too.

The problem with it is that it gives the Marilith 19 attacks per round out of the box (presuming that we're still capping total quantity of off-hand attacks at 3, otherwise make it 24 attacks per round), unless you arbitrarily rule that multiweapon fighting is somehow different.

The current fix towards which I'm leaning is that TWF, ITWF, and GTWF are now only two feats, TWF for a single off-hand attack, and GTWF for all iterative attacks, available at BAB of +6. In addition, up to one off-hand attack may be made as part of a standard attack action or a charge, but any precision damage is applied only to the primary attack in this case (to keep rogues and scouts calm when they're not full-attacking).


I move that Two-Weapon Fighting as presented in D&D is silly. Let it suck, I say.

But something interesting might be a feat to -- as a part of an attack or complete defense action -- gain concealment while warding with an off-hand weapon or shield.

Maybe lay out a feat line that would advance to total concealment and let a two-weapon fighter (in the traditional sense, rather than the million-attacks-in-six-seconds sense) render enemies flat-footed when they miss due to concealment.

That would let a Rogue be much closer to the independent buckle-swashing character I want it to be.

An interesting choice.

Hunter Noventa
2009-06-02, 12:21 PM
One thing would be to lessen the monetary penalty for taking TWF. When you TWF you pay twice as much to enchant your weapons. I'd say if you have two of the same weapon, you could enchant them as a pair for 150% cost of doing just one, assuming you put the same enchants on each.

Sublimating TWF, ITWF, GTWF and the like into scaling feats might not be a bad idea either, I might have to bring that up to my GM.

Talya
2009-06-02, 12:23 PM
One thing would be to lessen the monetary penalty for taking TWF. When you TWF you pay twice as much to enchant your weapons. I'd say if you have two of the same weapon, you could enchant them as a pair for 150% cost of doing just one, assuming you put the same enchants on each.

Sublimating TWF, ITWF, GTWF and the like into scaling feats might not be a bad idea either, I might have to bring that up to my GM.

That's a houserule in my games. TWF, ITWF, and GTWF are a single feat, that scales with BAB. TWD, ITWD, and GTWD are also a single feat, that's +3 shield bonus from the start.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-02, 12:23 PM
If the problem is because of the Marelith, the solution may simply be to make an exception for that monster.

Ie: Fix TWF, but leave the Marelith with the old version.

At least that's my perspective.

FMArthur
2009-06-02, 12:24 PM
TWF, ITWF, GTWF into one feat (Two Weapon Fighting) is the most obvious and painless. Almost no one would cause a fuss over it so it's probably the most widespread "fix" (it doesn't actually solve the whole problem).

Improved Two Weapon Fighting could reduce the penalties like one of the TWF prestige classes. Maybe add feats that can give bonus damage so that non-sneak attacking classes can make use of it and actually have damage approaching Power Attack. Two Weapon Rend could probably be modified into something useful like this.

Lycanthromancer
2009-06-02, 12:26 PM
Roll the TWF line into one feat that scales, without that dumb penalty to-hit. Roll in something similar to Double-Hit into it, where you can make two attacks (one with your off-hand) whenever you could make a single attack (such on AoOs, and during a standard-action attack). Both require separate attack rolls, but have the same modifiers. You can use Dex instead of Str for attack, damage, and actions such as bull-rushes, etc, but it requires that you be wielding both weapons.

Toss on a feat that grants scaling damage (in d6s or d8s) each hit as you go up in levels, but at the increasing expense of accuracy, but only used when you're using both weapons. Does not stack with Sneak Attack, and similar.

Toss on a TWF feat that grants a modified version of pounce, and another (with the first as a prereq) that allows you to make a full-attack action as a standard action.

Have the Two Weapon Defense feat scale, and another feat (using TWD as a prereq) that grants cover, rather than a flat +1 bonus, with additional feats that improve the miss chance granted.

And now, TWF is viable.

Twilight Jack
2009-06-02, 12:26 PM
If the problem is because of the Marelith, the solution may simply be to make an exception for that monster.

Ie: Fix TWF, but leave the Marelith with the old version.

At least that's my perspective.

I use the marilith for my example because she's the poster child for the potential fallout of any TWF fix. The problem also applies to the Thri-Kreen and numerous other critters.

The marilith is just the worst offender, due to six arms, six enchanted swords, and the BAB to make the most of iterative attacks.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-02, 12:53 PM
Perhaps split it into TWF and MWF? (Multi-Weapon Fighting)? MWF being for monsters mostly.

Ie: TWF is exactly that - fighting with two weapons.

MWF is exactly as TWF is right now (though it allows attacks with every appendage a critter has), while TWF recieves a fix on it's own?

That way critters with multiple arms remain just as they are functionally, while players and humanoid enemies who TWF can be more dangerous?

Again just a thought >.>

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-02, 12:59 PM
Bah, sorry about that >< forum nearly died on me for a sec

(Was a double-post, now editted)

Eldariel
2009-06-02, 01:05 PM
That's a houserule in my games. TWF, ITWF, and GTWF are a single feat, that scales with BAB. TWD, ITWD, and GTWD are also a single feat, that's +3 shield bonus from the start.

These both are great; I've got them in effect and they make TWF-line worthwhile. In addition, I combine Two-Weapon Pounce and Dual Strike into the basic TWF feat. That is, you can attack with both weapons as a standard action, and at the end of a charge.

Makes both of them actually useful combat modes for a TWFer, and makes sense; if you've trained to fight with two weapons, you should learn such basic styles.

Finally, I allow using Dex for Finesse-weapons without a feat and have Weapon Finesse add Dex to Damage.


I've also ended up with a different version of TWD though; instead of adding increasing base bonuses to AC, it adds your offhand weapon enhancement bonus and +1 base shield bonus to AC (so a +1 weapon adds +2 shield bonus, a +5 weapon adds +6 shield bonus, etc.).

I also use Shield Block-type effect for my shields so I give TWD the ability to make a "blocking strike" per turn. Immediate action attack roll to block an attack that happens within your natural reach, magical weapons can block magical attacks. Can be used vs. touch attacks too.


As far as Mariliths go, they are supposed to be badass. It's a CR 17 Demon for god's sake. Giving it a ton of attacks is no stretch; hell, whenever I use them, I give them Improved and Greater Multiweapon Fighting, and I truly enjoy Telflammar Shadowlord versions with Shadow Pounce. If you get full attacked by one, you deserve the horrible fate you're in for.

Again, those feats already exist; this just means they become standard issue (if you don't keep Multiweapon Fighting as is; fact remains though that multiweapon fighting should be even harder than two-weapon fighting so it's reasonable to keep them apart).

Goatman_Ted
2009-06-02, 01:06 PM
I wouldn't worry about Thri-Keen, Xills, Marileths et al becoming more powerful as TWF does.

Just add a couple racial HD to Thri-Keen and up the others' CRs if it's a problem.

Telonius
2009-06-02, 01:11 PM
That would actually already be supported (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsterFeats.htm#multiweaponFighting)by the rules right now.


Multiweapon Fighting [General]
Prerequisites: Dex 13, three or more hands.

Benefit: Penalties for fighting with multiple weapons are reduced by 2 with the primary hand and reduced by 6 with off hands.

Normal: A creature without this feat takes a -6 penalty on attacks made with its primary hand and a -10 penalty on attacks made with its off hands. (It has one primary hand, and all the others are off hands.) See Two-Weapon Fighting.

Special: This feat replaces the Two-Weapon Fighting feat for creatures with more than two arms.

(Bold added). Since Mariliths (and most other creatures it would apply to) come with Multiweapon Fighting out of the can, you don't even need to change anything to fix them.

Baron Corm
2009-06-02, 01:34 PM
I would seriously not discount 3 extra attacks...

If you're PAing with two one-handers, and you include extra damage from a second +10 weapon, that's an extra 75+15d6 damage. THF, with just Power Attack will be getting an extra 80 damage, by comparison, plus perhaps +20 from their higher Strength (no Dexterity pre-reqs) and 1.5x Strength bonus. Either style can add in PA optimization.

I agree with allowing two attacks in a standard action, to help TWFers keep up in that regard, but they really aren't slouching in the full attack damage department.

Of course, you have to actually buy the second +10 weapon, but a THF should have a backup weapon anyway. You're just constantly using yours.

Their attack bonus will generally be lower, but then, against a creature with unhittable or very high AC, they have 3 extra chances of rolling that 20. There's also wraithstrike and so on.

Also note what happens when you add in sneak attack :smalleek:

quick_comment
2009-06-02, 01:37 PM
Make all the TWF fighting feats into a single scaling feat.

Then make Three Weapon fighting another feat, with TWF as a prereq. Four weapon fighting requires three weapon fighting and so on.

So if the marilith wants to make full attacks with all its arms it needs up to Six Weapon Fighting, which would be six feats.

Eldariel
2009-06-02, 01:37 PM
Also note what happens when you add in sneak attack :smalleek:

Nothing that hasn't already happened. These changes merely reduce the feat cost, and fix many of the problems TWFers have previously had to bend over for. You pay 1 feat to be almost as good as a two-hander. Seems fair to me.

Morty
2009-06-02, 01:55 PM
And what do we do with Rangers if we roll TWF into a single feat? Do we give them other feats as they advance in their Combat Style?
My group has simply allowed to make both attacks with a standard action, but that obviously doesn't fix the problem entirely.

quick_comment
2009-06-02, 01:58 PM
And what do we do with Rangers if we roll TWF into a single feat? Do we give them other feats as they advance in their Combat Style?
My group has simply allowed to make both attacks with a standard action, but that obviously doesn't fix the problem entirely.

I would, in place of all the higher TWF fighting feats either give the ranger another TWF related feat. (Two weapon defense, Martial Study: Some TWF tiger claw maneuver, etc)

Justin B.
2009-06-02, 02:06 PM
Two Weapon Fighting should allow one to make both attacks as a standard action.

When used in conjuction with the single Two Weapon Fighting Feat idea, other interesting feats can be applied as well, for example:


Two Weapon Distraction

Prerequisite: Two Weapon Fighting

When a character fighting with two weapons uses a standard action to make two attacks, if the first attack successfully strikes it causes the creature to be distracted. A distracted creature cannot defend against the next attack as well as it usually does, it's effective armor class is reduced by a number equal to the Base Attack Bonus of it's attacker. This reduction only applies to the next attack in an attack sequence.

A character can use Two Weapon Distraction multiple times in a full round attack, but the distraction effect only applies to the next single attack in the sequence.

Special: A Fighter may select Two Weapon Distraction as a bonus feat.

Renegade Paladin
2009-06-02, 02:08 PM
Turn TWF/ITWF/GTWF into one feat that scales.
And do the same for Two-Weapon Defense and its tree.

Telonius
2009-06-02, 02:34 PM
And what do we do with Rangers if we roll TWF into a single feat? Do we give them other feats as they advance in their Combat Style?
My group has simply allowed to make both attacks with a standard action, but that obviously doesn't fix the problem entirely.

I turn them into a class feature much like Tempest: reduce the penalties by an additional 1 at 6, and another 1 (total penalty: 0) at 11.

Eldariel
2009-06-02, 02:35 PM
And what do we do with Rangers if we roll TWF into a single feat? Do we give them other feats as they advance in their Combat Style?
My group has simply allowed to make both attacks with a standard action, but that obviously doesn't fix the problem entirely.

Give them other TWF feats. I mean, archery gets a variety of toys; no reason TWF wouldn't too. You can keep TWF on 2 (or expect that it's picked, like with Archery and PBS), handing out e.g. Two-Weapon Defense (the buffed version), Two-Weapon Rend [PHBII] and Double Hit [Miniatures Handbook].

TWF on 2, TWD on 6 and TWR on 11 works fine, for example. Or TWF on 2, Double Hit on 6 and TWR on 11. Or TWD on 2, Double Hit on 6 and TWR on 11 (the advantage of this is that Double Hit requires level 6 anyways, and TWR requires level 11 anyways so they work like the previous feats in that regard).

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2009-06-02, 03:08 PM
I include TWDefense with TWF so they're both one feat, same goes for ITWDefense with ITWF and GTWDefense with GTWF.

Remember that you can use TWF with a two-handed weapon using armor spikes as your offhand attack.

Rangers don't necessarily have to pick archery or TWF, there are other combat styles (http://crystalkeep.com/d20/rules/DnD3.5Index-Classes-Base.pdf) not found in the PHB.

In my games, your penalty to attack rolls for Power Attack cannot exceed your Strength bonus or your BAB, whichever is lower. If you take Shock Trooper and Leap Attack with a +12 BAB, but only have Str 18, you can only Power Attack for 4, rather than for 12. It creates a game world in which characters like Barbarians are capable of the biggest attacks, and monsters like giants are regarded as considerably more dangerous due to their high Strength scores.

Twilight Jack
2009-06-02, 03:22 PM
In my games, your penalty to attack rolls for Power Attack cannot exceed your Strength bonus or your BAB, whichever is lower. If you take Shock Trooper and Leap Attack with a +12 BAB, but only have Str 18, you can only Power Attack for 4, rather than for 12. It creates a game world in which characters like Barbarians are capable of the biggest attacks, and monsters like giants are regarded as considerably more dangerous due to their high Strength scores.

The only problem I see with fixing it that way is that it further nerfs melee characters in relation to casters. Being able to PA for an epic butt-ton of damage is one of the few perks of being a mid to high level fighter.

I'd rather bring TWF up than bring PA down.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-06-02, 03:24 PM
In my games, your penalty to attack rolls for Power Attack cannot exceed your Strength bonus or your BAB, whichever is lower. If you take Shock Trooper and Leap Attack with a +12 BAB, but only have Str 18, you can only Power Attack for 4, rather than for 12. It creates a game world in which characters like Barbarians are capable of the biggest attacks, and monsters like giants are regarded as considerably more dangerous due to their high Strength scores.Unfortunately, STR is the easiest stat to boost. Orc Barb with Extra Rage has 26 Str for each fight at level 1(reasonable, since I don't expect any character to make it from 1-5, even if the campaign does). That lasts you until level 9, by which point you have a +2 item and +2 from levels. By 11, when those boosts run out, you probably have a +4 item, and at some point got Enlarge Person as a constant Wondrous Item or something. That with a +6 item gets you to 14. See how this goes? And none of that stuff is specific to your game, it's how I'd expect a damage dealer beatstick to progress through the first 15 levels.

And besides, all nerfing PA does is make melee weaker.

I can't believe I forgot to mention my favorite TWF fix:ToB!!! It does a lot of what this thread talks about, and makes S&B viable in the process.

Twilight Jack
2009-06-02, 03:40 PM
Unfortunately, STR is the easiest stat to boost. Orc Barb with Extra Rage has 26 Str for each fight at level 1(reasonable, since I don't expect any character to make it from 1-5, even if the campaign does). That lasts you until level 9, by which point you have a +2 item and +2 from levels. By 11, when those boosts run out, you probably have a +4 item, and at some point got Enlarge Person as a constant Wondrous Item or something. That with a +6 item gets you to 14. See how this goes? And none of that stuff is specific to your game, it's how I'd expect a damage dealer beatstick to progress through the first 15 levels.

And besides, all nerfing PA does is make melee weaker.

I can't believe I forgot to mention my favorite TWF fix:ToB!!! It does a lot of what this thread talks about, and makes S&B viable in the process.

My only issues with using ToB as the sum fix of the melee classes relate to flavor. I just can't see making all fighters into warblades or crusaders. I see those two as very specialized classes that fit a specific bit of fluff. My biggest problem with 4e is that it extended a revision of the martial maneuver system to encompass every class. I like my ToB classes to be rare and special.

So I'm left trying to fix the sword and board and two weapon fighting stuff through the feat system.

lsfreak
2009-06-02, 04:46 PM
While this isn't TWF-specific, it does help TWF more than anyone else: allowing iterative attacks on charges and/or as standard actions. I would think something like one less than the normal amount; a fighter with haste and BAB11 (4 attacks on a full attack) would get 2 on a charge (none from haste, -1 from BAB). I'm not great with balance though, so get some other people to chime in before doing something like this, and you'd still need to work out how natural weapons work.

Justin B.
2009-06-02, 04:48 PM
Swords and board can be made viable with a few different things:

Treat Combat Expertise with a shield as you would treat Power Attack with a Two Hander: For every BAB you sacrifice, you instead gain 2 AC. And take off the 5 point cap.

Stacking various shield manuevers into a single feat, such as with the two weapon fighting. Shield Bash, for instance, should also include some of those neat shield techniques that you find in the Players Handbook II.

Shields defense should automatically apply to touch attacks.

Double the base AC bonus for every shield. +2 for a large shield is absurd. It's a large piece of metal in front of you, yet doesn't even defend you as much as a brestplate does?

Eldariel
2009-06-02, 04:53 PM
Swords and board can be made viable with a few different things:

Treat Combat Expertise with a shield as you would treat Power Attack with a Two Hander: For every BAB you sacrifice, you instead gain 2 AC. And take off the 5 point cap.

Stacking various shield manuevers into a single feat, such as with the two weapon fighting. Shield Bash, for instance, should also include some of those neat shield techniques that you find in the Players Handbook II.

Shields defense should automatically apply to touch attacks.

Double the base AC bonus for every shield. +2 for a large shield is absurd. It's a large piece of metal in front of you, yet doesn't even defend you as much as a brestplate does?

One more thing: Give shields something animated shields can't do. Of course they can't shield bash, but also something like shield block (that is, a "block"-action to roll an opposed check to block an attack with a shield) et al would make wielded shields more alluring.

Making the Combat Expertise-boost exclusive to wielded shields makes sense too. I wouldn't remove the cap on Expertise though; it'd mean people can just choose to become unhittable whenever they feel like it. I don't like that idea.

Justin B.
2009-06-02, 05:14 PM
One more thing: Give shields something animated shields can't do. Of course they can't shield bash, but also something like shield block (that is, a "block"-action to roll an opposed check to block an attack with a shield) et al would make wielded shields more alluring.

The great thing about the Combat Expertise system is that it emulates the block action so effectively. You shouldn't be able to Combat Expertise with Animated Shields.

Both of them are able to co-exist in a game quite efficiently though. I've used D20 + Shield bonus (including magic enhancements) + BAB before to resolve. Worked well.


Making the Combat Expertise-boost exclusive to wielded shields makes sense too. I wouldn't remove the cap on Expertise though; it'd mean people can just choose to become unhittable whenever they feel like it. I don't like that idea.

Well, it's still limited by their BAB. Also, if you dislike this idea, then you may need to disallow Improved Combat Expertise.

Eldariel
2009-06-02, 05:20 PM
The great thing about the Combat Expertise system is that it emulates the block action so effectively. You shouldn't be able to Combat Expertise with Animated Shields.

Both of them are able to co-exist in a game quite efficiently though. I've used D20 + Shield bonus (including magic enhancements) + BAB before to resolve. Worked well.

Yeah, this is what I meant; an addition to the rest of the rules. The thing is though, not all melee types pick up Combat Expertise, and if you don't have it, Animated Shield would be just as good under those rules.

The suggestion is aimed to give non-dedicated shield-users some benefit from using a non-Animated version of a shield. As animated shields are a "free bonus", weakening them really just evens things out.


Well, it's still limited by their BAB. Also, if you dislike this idea, then you may need to disallow Improved Combat Expertise.

No, I'm ok with the idea for an extra feat (a hefty cost), but allowing it just out of the gate makes Combat Expertise much stronger than it is right now, and I find it plenty useful already.

Justin B.
2009-06-02, 05:27 PM
Yeah, this is what I meant; an addition to the rest of the rules. The thing is though, not all melee types pick up Combat Expertise, and if you don't have it, Animated Shield would be just as good under those rules.

The suggestion is aimed to give non-dedicated shield-users some benefit from using a non-Animated version of a shield. As animated shields are a "free bonus", weakening them really just evens things out.


My first thought is that a magically animated shield that floats in front of you would probably get in the way. Perhaps a to-hit penalty for using the Animated Shield?

Then again, if the magic is tied closely to your mind, it may move with you in a way that allows for for unobstructed attacks. Any way you do it is houseruling, so the function of the magic is completely in the hands of the DM.

Eldariel
2009-06-02, 05:32 PM
My first thought is that a magically animated shield that floats in front of you would probably get in the way. Perhaps a to-hit penalty for using the Animated Shield?

The problem with this is, it's just not worth it. Taking penalty on attacks for some extra AC permanently doesn't pay off; the very reason Tower Shields are almost never used. This really makes Animated Shields pretty useless, so while logical, I don't think it's the way to go. It's handy as an option (see Combat Expertise), but if it's permanent, it's gonna get in the way as often as it's beneficial, and paying for 50/50 trades sucks.

Right now, shields just don't do much so there really isn't much to do to make Animated Shields worse than standard Shields while keeping both still usable; that's why I really like the idea of adding abilities shields should logically have to the shields and then take what logically doesn't fit away from animated shields. This keeps everything useful, but also gives the push where it's due.

Ganurath
2009-06-02, 05:46 PM
Here's a thought: Couldn't the TWF penalties be reduced with Double Weapons? You need to pull one head back to strike with the other, so effectively you're only putting forward as much mental effort as wielding a single weapon, while still getting the same speed as normal dual wielding, and the illusion of more mental effort being neccesary on your opponent's part.

This post was accidentally posted in the other TWF thread, accursed buggy forum throwing me off.

Zeful
2009-06-02, 05:53 PM
I move that Two-Weapon Fighting as presented in D&D is silly. Let it suck, I say. And I think Power Attack as presented in D&D is silly. You don't see me demanding they suck.

As for helping TWF, combining the three feats won't do much. It looks like it would solve something, but it doesn't fix any problems. You still need to full-attack to use it.

I figure a good way to fix it would be to make fighting with a second weapon automatic. A standard action becomes one attack with each weapon. Then the feat gives the off-hand weapon an extra attack in a full-attack action for each iteritive attack in the sequence and reducing the penalties as normal. So two weapons and the TWF feat (at 20th level) would be +18/+13/+8/+3/+18/+13/+8/+3 during a full-attack. Then have Greater TWF/Perfect TWF elminate penalties, and add bonuses for TWFing, or add more attacks.

Twilight Jack
2009-06-02, 05:56 PM
Yeah, this is what I meant; an addition to the rest of the rules. The thing is though, not all melee types pick up Combat Expertise, and if you don't have it, Animated Shield would be just as good under those rules.

The suggestion is aimed to give non-dedicated shield-users some benefit from using a non-Animated version of a shield. As animated shields are a "free bonus", weakening them really just evens things out.



No, I'm ok with the idea for an extra feat (a hefty cost), but allowing it just out of the gate makes Combat Expertise much stronger than it is right now, and I find it plenty useful already.

I'm just looking at giving Shield Specialization an additional +1 shield bonus for every 5 points of BAB above +1, to a maximum of +4 at BAB +16. That puts the 16th level sword and boarder at a +6 shield bonus to his AC before enhancement bonuses are taken into account. For a single feat.

Eldariel
2009-06-02, 06:01 PM
I'm just looking at giving Shield Specialization an additional +1 shield bonus for every 5 points of BAB above +1, to a maximum of +4 at BAB +16. That puts the 16th level sword and boarder at a +6 shield bonus to his AC before enhancement bonuses are taken into account. For a single feat.

In combination with a base Dodge-bonus scaling with levels, that might actually be enough to make AC relevant without having to max out NA, Deflection and base bonuses! Oh my god!

Curmudgeon
2009-06-02, 06:16 PM
1) Make Two-Weapon Fighting do what the set (Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting) do, but keep the incrementing DEX requirements for the additional attacks.

2) Don't change Multiweapon Fighting. That takes care of the Marilith, Thri-Kreen, and all the other multiarmed beasties.

3) Make a new feat, modeled after Manyshot, that allows attacking with two weapons as a standard action, with a -4 penalty to both (or -6/-6 if the off-hand weapon isn't light). It should have Two-Weapon Fighting as a prerequisite.

Eldariel
2009-06-02, 06:18 PM
3) Make a new feat, modeled after Manyshot, that allows attacking with two weapons as a standard action, with a -4 penalty to both (or -6/-6 if the off-hand weapon isn't light). It should have Two-Weapon Fighting as a prerequisite.

Why not just roll this into the existing Two-Weapon Fighting-feat? All it does is keep the two weapons relevant when you can't full attack.

Twilight Jack
2009-06-02, 06:20 PM
In combination with a base Dodge-bonus scaling with levels, that might actually be enough to make AC relevant without having to max out NA, Deflection and base bonuses! Oh my god!

That's the basic idea, yeah. :smallwink:

What I'd like to see here is a basic structure where each of the three broad melee styles has a single feat gives you everything you need to be effective and scales with level.

Two-Handed Beatstick=Power Attack (which is perfect as it is)
Dual Wielding Skirmisher=Two Weapon Fighting (which currently requires at least four feats to accomplish what should be doable in one)
Sword and Board Defender=Shield Specialization (which is currently only useful as a prerequisite for Shield Ward, and still not all that hot)

Ideally, Power Attack, Two Weapon Fighting, and Shield Specialization should balance out against one another across the levels as a single feat that is everything you need for a baseline level of usefulness.

bosssmiley
2009-06-03, 05:23 AM
Well, we all know it doesn't work as advertised, but what do we do about it without creating more problems than we solve?

I keep coming back to the Marilith. Every proposed fix up with which I've come to place a ranger or two weapon fighter in an equivalent position to a Power Attacking two hander (never mind the other feats that turn the twohander into the Ubercharger) has the unfortunate side-effect of turning the six-armed marilith into an engine of destruction on par with the Tarrasque.

So what fixes have you guys come up with to make two-weapon fighting a viable mechanical choice when compared with the one feat path of Power Attack+greatsword?

Fix TWF so that it's one feat that stacks with primary attacks
Fix Multi-Weapon Fighting (the Marilith/Thri-Kreen cheese version of TWF) so that the TWF feat is a pre-req. Allow primary limbs attack as per TWF, with each additional limb adding only +1 secondary attack.

Net result:
High-level TWF specialist biped has 8 attacks at n/n/n-5/n-5/n-10/n-10/n-15/n-15
Marilith has 12 attacks; 8 primaries at n/n/n-5/n-5/n-10/n-10/n-15/n-15 and 4 secondaries at n-5/n-5/n-5/n-5

"Simples" (*irritating meerkat noise*)

Curmudgeon
2009-06-03, 07:24 AM
Why not just roll this into the existing Two-Weapon Fighting-feat? All it does is keep the two weapons relevant when you can't full attack. Simply because that's just too much power for one feat. TWF needs help, certainly. But you're asking for one feat to provide different benefits in two completely incompatible situations: full attack and standard action attack.

Try not to be greedy, OK? :smalltongue:

Talya
2009-06-03, 07:32 AM
I use the marilith for my example because she's the poster child for the potential fallout of any TWF fix. The problem also applies to the Thri-Kreen and numerous other critters.

The marilith is just the worst offender, due to six arms, six enchanted swords, and the BAB to make the most of iterative attacks.

The Marilith doesn't use two weapon fighting. MWF isn't what we're playing with here! :)

Matthew
2009-06-03, 11:08 AM
Well, we all know it doesn't work as advertised, but what do we do about it without creating more problems than we solve?

I keep coming back to the Marilith. Every proposed fix up with which I've come to place a ranger or two weapon fighter in an equivalent position to a Power Attacking two hander (never mind the other feats that turn the twohander into the Ubercharger) has the unfortunate side-effect of turning the six-armed marilith into an engine of destruction on par with the Tarrasque.

So what fixes have you guys come up with to make two-weapon fighting a viable mechanical choice when compared with the one feat path of Power Attack+greatsword?

Short Answer:

The question that really needs answering is what is D (damage) worth in terms of AC (armour class) and AB (attack bonus)? Once that question is answered you can determine what they are worth relative to #A (number of attacks). Unfortunately, D is dependent on scale and is probably the worst way you can attempt to balance the different fighting styles.

Long Answer:


In my opinion, the trick is to get them relatively balanced to begin with, and make sure that the balance is not dependent on feats or other variable aspects, such as attributes.

1) Get rid of iterative attacks; this is fundamental. Iterative attacks drive up dice rolling and multiply attacks to no good end. Once this aspect of the game is removed you no longer have to deal with the two weapon fighting feat chain. You may wish to provide characters with BAB 11 a second attack using the Full Attack Action or create feats that work similarly to Rapid Shot.

2) Turn back the clock on Power Attack; the 3.5 version was an attempt to make two handed weapons more powerful, it succeeded all too well. Either make it 1:1 or 1:2 depending on taste, but have it apply equally to all weapons.

3) Instead of relying on Power Attack to make two handed weapons more powerful, allow the half strength bonus to apply to hit as well as to damage. This may seem extreme, but it is only a +1 bonus at Strength 14-17 and +5 bonus at Strength 30-31. You may want to "round up" rather than round down or apply a minimum bonus of +1/+1, but that is a minor concern . You might want to make this a feat, such as:




Two Handed Fighting
Prerequisite: BAB 1, Strength 14,
Benefit: You apply 1 times your strength bonus to hit and damage when using a two handed weapon.
Normal: You apply 1 times your strength bonus to hit and 1 times your strength bonus to damage.
Special: A fighter may select Two Handed Fighting as one of his fighter bonus feats.



4) Allow weapon and shield users to trade one point of AC to AB up to a maximum of half their dexterity bonus. This can put them very closely on par with two handed weapons, the main difference being slightly more damage from two handed weapons traded off against the versatility of choosing between attack and defence. As with the above, you may want to apply a minimum or make it a feat, such as:




Weapon and Shield Fighting
Prerequisite: BAB 1, Dexterity 14
Benefit: On your action, before making attack rolls for a round, you may choose to subtract a number from from your armour class and add the same number to your melee attack rolls whilst wielding a shield. This number may not exceed half of your dexterity bonus. The penalty on attacks and bonus to armour class apply until your next turn.
Special: A fighter may select Weapon and Shield Fighting as one of his fighter bonus feats.



At level 10 such characters should look reasonably equal, though the weapon and shield character will be depending on both dexterity and strength compared to the two handed weapon character. If that is a concern, change the prerequisite to strength for weapon and shield fighting:


Fighter Level 10 AB 10(19), AC 10(24)
Attributes: Strength 23, Dexterity 18,
Abilities: Power Attack (up to +10)
Possessions: Long Sword +3 (10-17), Full Plate Armour +1, Ring of Protection +2, Large Shield,

Fighter Level 10 AB 10(22), AC 10(22)
Attributes: Strength 23, Dexterity 18,
Abilities: Power Attack (up to +10)
Possessions: Great Axe +3 (13-24), Full Plate Armour +1, Ring of Protection +2,


The main concern continues to be cost; there are so many ways to boost armour class that the Great Axe fighter may see no advantage in a shield at all, but this is not too far off being reasonably balanced. The Great Axe fighter is ahead by about 5 points of average damage, and if he invests in Combat Expertise he can potentially get a similar AB to AC trade off. As an aside, hand a half weapons become a much better use of a feat, as such characters can potentially get the best of both worlds.

Now to the actual question at hand...

5) Having dispensed with iterative attacks it is only necessary for there to be one feat for two weapon fighting. When treated as an attack multiplier your best bet for keeping two weapon fighting under control is a hefty penalty to AB and D. Since we have increased the total possible AB when using the above fighting styles there is some leeway on that score, but a penalty of some sort remains the best solution:




Two Weapon Fighting
Prerequisite: Dexterity 14
Benefit: When making an attack with your offhand weapon in the same round as your primary weapon your attack penalty is reduced by 2.
Normal: When making an attack with your offhand weapon in the same round as your primary weapon you suffer a penalty to all attack rolls depending on weapon combination: Light and Light: −4, One Handed and Light: −5, One Handed and One Handed: −6.
Special: A fighter may select Two Weapon Fighting as one of his fighter bonus feats.



6) Do not apply a half strength penalty to the off hand in any case, but continue to require a full attack to make off hand attacks. If really desired, a feat like "Pounce" or "Mobile Two Weapon Fighting" can solve the issue.


Fighter Level 10 AB 10(16)
Attributes: Strength 23
Abilities: Power Attack (+10/+10)
Possessions: Short Sword +2 (9-14), Short Sword +2 (9-14)


A quick comparison of how these level 10 characters fare against around AC 30 or so should give a good idea of their relative merits:


(hit rate) x (average damage)

No Power Attack

Long Sword and Shield: [0.50 x 13.5 = 6.75] or [0.65 x 13.5 = 8.775]
Great Axe: [0.65 x 18.5 = 12.025]
Short Swords: [(0.35 x 11.5) + (0.35 x 11.5) = 8.05]

Power Attack for 5

Long Sword and Shield: [0.25 x 18.5 = 4.625] or [0.40 x 18.5 = 7.4]
Great Axe: [0.40 x 23.5 = 9.4]
Short Swords: [(0.10 x 16.5) + (0.10 x 16.5) = 3.3]


So, it can be seen that the two handed weapon is still the king, even when weapon and shield is allowed to keep pace with regard to hit bonuses and Power Attack is reduced to 1:1. The cause is the 1 times strength bonus to damage and larger damage die of the weapon. It does not seem like much of a difference, but 1d8+9 versus 1d12+12 means 5 points of average damage, which by Level 20 and Strength 30 has become 7 points of average damage (and using iterative or multiple attacks the gap just gets wider).

If we ignore the above suggested changes as regards the "two handed fighting" and "weapon and shield" feats we are still left in the same morass as regards relative equivalence between the two modes of combat, that is to say 3-7 average points of damage versus 1-2 points of AC. Unless that can be satisfactorily solved, then the issue with two weapon fighting cannot be resolved in the default game.

The D20 Weapon Specialisation and Weapon Focus feats suggest that 1 AB = 2 D. We can test that:

[Hit Probability x Damage]

0.05 x 4.5 = 0.225
0.05 x 6.5 = 0.325
0.10 x 4.5 = 0.450
0.10 x 6.5 = 0.650
0.15 x 4.5 = 0.675
0.15 x 6.5 = 0.975
0.20 x 4.5 = 0.900
0.20 x 6.5 = 1.300
0.25 x 4.5 = 1.125
0.25 x 6.5 = 1.625
0.30 x 4.5 = 1.350
0.30 x 6.5 = 1.950
0.35 x 4.5 = 1.575
0.35 x 6.5 = 2.275
0.40 x 4.5 = 1.800
0.40 x 6.5 = 2.600
0.45 x 4.5 = 2.025
0.45 x 6.5 = 2.925
0.50 x 4.5 = 2.250
0.50 x 6.5 = 3.250
0.55 x 4.5 = 2.475
0.55 x 6.5 = 3.575
0.90 x 4.5 = 4.050
0.90 x 6.5 = 5.850
0.95 x 4.5 = 4.275
0.95 x 6.5 = 6.175

So, it can be seen that at about 20% probability the Great Axe begins to outstrip the Long Sword. However, if you increase the numbers:

0.45 x 10.5 = 4.725
0.50 x 8.5 = 4.25

or

0.45 x 22.5 = 10.125
0.50 x 20.5 = 10.250

The difference becomes proportionally lower, and eventually reverses. So the value of D is subjective and depends on overall D. That being the case, it must be concluded that D is a very unreliable way to balance fighting styles.

Greenfaun
2009-06-03, 12:45 PM
I use the marilith for my example because she's the poster child for the potential fallout of any TWF fix. The problem also applies to the Thri-Kreen and numerous other critters.

The marilith is just the worst offender, due to six arms, six enchanted swords, and the BAB to make the most of iterative attacks.

This is just off the top of my head, but how about giving MWF the full iterative attacks, but with this limitation:

"The creature using MWF may only bring up to half its weapons/appendages (round up) to bear on a single target. If there is no additional target to attack within range, the rest of its attacks are lost."

This means that MWF will never be worse than TWF vs. a single target, but will only really shine when fighting multiple opponents. It's hard to say whether it's balanced, exactly, but it's strategically interesting and at least somewhat realistic.

ericgrau
2009-06-03, 03:27 PM
I agree with allowing two attacks in a standard action, to help TWFers keep up in that regard, but they really aren't slouching in the full attack damage department.

Then the problem is easily solvable with a single feat: quick draw. Wield weapon in two hands, charge, the next round quick draw the other and full attack.

'Course that assumes everyone agrees on the problem the way flyingpoo sees it and they don't. Many agree that there is a problem, but not on what that problem is. I find it mildly amusing to see threads about solving a problem before even determining what that problem is.

My theory is that any concept longer than a sentence is too complicated to become popular. i.e., no one actually knows what the problem with TWF is or if there even is a problem, or if it's overpowered or if it's actually the thumb wrestling federation, but they heard that one sentence repeated so many times that they jumped on board and are ready to talk at length about the problem and fixing it. Now as for stepping back and examining the matter carefully and figuring out the details, where's the fun in that? Let's go straight to the conclusions.

Yora
2009-06-03, 03:52 PM
I havn't played enough high-level games to see how two-handed wielding and two-weapon fighting work at that stage.
But I think the apparent problem many people see is, that with a greatsword and Power Atack, you can do insane amounts of damage, while at the same time several hits with one-handed and light weapons don't come nearly as close to it. When you only have one attack, it's even much worse, because the first hit with a two-handed weapon is the main damage output, and a one-handed unpowered attack is just a fraction of the full attack potential.
And the really high Dex requirement makes it difficult to have sufficient strength to add to hit and damage rolls.

So here are some thought from me:

- Power Attack is too powerful. Adding twice the substacted number to damage with two-handed weapons is too much. I'd reduce it to 1.5, the same as for the strength bonus to damage with two-handed weapons. Pathfinder RPG has the addition, that you can substract only a number as high as your strength modifier. That would penalyze the weaker (because of dexterous) two-weapon fighter still more, but I think if you're about to go to Dex 17 or 19, you're not going to power attack anyway. So this might be another good addition.

- Two-weapon fighting takes lots of feats. Which is true. I think making it a single feat and apply your normal BAB progression to both hands (with the -2 penalty) seems just fine.

- Light weapons have punny base damage. It does not make THAT big a difference, but I think on the long run, dealing 1d8+1/2 Str with your off hand is still better than dealing 1d6+1/2 Str. So I introduced the Twin Weapon Style feat. If you use two weapons of the same type (like longswords), you only get the penalty to hit as if the off-hand weapon was light. So in the case of longswords, the rules would be exactly the same as for a two-bladed sword.
Another possible feat would allow you to deal full Str to damage with your off-hand instead of the only half. For the STR 14 Fighter, that's still just +1 damage, but combined with other small impovements, it might be worth it.

- Two-handed weapons deal much more damage on a standard attack. Also true. When a two-weapon fighter can deal almost as much damage with his 4 attacks as the two-handed fighter does with two attacks, he sucks when both get only one single attack that round. Option A is to make two attacks as a single standard attack. That could be a default trait of the revised Two-Weapon Fighting skill.
Option B would be to radically overthink fighting while moving. I like the idea that every character starts the game with the effect of Spring-attack. You can make your standard attack during any point of your movement. With the new revised Spring Attack feat, you can make ALL your attacks at any point of your movement as you like. Isfreak mention something along this line at the top of the page. I think Iron Heroes had a rule like that, where you could reduce your movement for attacks. Somethink like making one attack counting as 5ft of the total movement.
Not too much use for big solo-monsters, but I think it's highly valuable if you have lots of weak enemies and want to play a very mobile fighter. And it applies to ALL fighters, so they get a little bonus against spellcasters. ;) Of course, this doesn't work so well with a Scouts skirmish ability.

And regarding the marilith: I think the real killer is the six attacks at +25. Lots of attacks at +15 and +10 don't make THAT much of a difference when you fight them.

Mark Hall
2009-06-04, 12:31 AM
A version I heard worked like this:

Two-weapon fighting carried no penalties to strike. You rolled a single attack, and both damages, and took the better of the two (and added full strength bonuses).

Thus, if you were using a longsword and a dagger, and scored a hit, you rolled a d8 and a d4, and took whichever weapon came up higher. Usually, this would be the longsword, but sometimes that d4 would beat the d8. It raised your average damage, without really affecting your maximum damage.

This method was balanced against two-handed weapons (which did more damage) and sword and board (which gave an AC bonus); since this was pre-WD&D's "strength and a half on two-handed weapons" and lower strike bonuses from strength, it worked out pretty well (consider that a 12 strength negates the benefit of a small shield in WD&D, whereas a 17 was needed in AD&D).