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Ginsu Master- A Rangers guide to TWF


Advice

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Ginsu Master: A Ranger’s Guide to Two Weapon Fighting

Often TWF is seen as a substandard build for a Pathfinder Character. Most critics site the fact it takes 5 feats to master, makes you MAD, splits weapon enchant wealth and requires constantly full attacking to outdo your 2handed buddies. For MOST classes this argument is valid. Buuuutt, Rangers are a special case. They can IGNORE twf perquisites so are not mad, plus they get the TWF feats earlier than other classes and have some class abilities to offset the penalties. With thrifty gear/spell selection and and some clever FE Selection we can make this style AWESOME. Not necessarily always better than a Fully optimized archer (and lets face it in Pathfinder, archery is king) but you can be an awesome contributor and you’ll look way cooler as you emerge from the melee, covered in the blood of your enemies.

I’m not saying this guide is THE most optimal way to build a Ranger. I’m saying if a TWF Ranger is what speaks to you, then here is an optimal way for a Ranger to TWF. So WHY TWF over Two handed? Well, firstly TWF is mostly worth it if you have some sort of free damage bonus you can apply to all your attacks. Hello, Favored Enemy and Quarry. Hello, Instant Enemy, Hello Guide Variant. Extra chances for burst damage via critical hits are tough to calculate but are a huge boost if you fight with High Crit weapons. These things coupled together can have your Ranger slicing and dicing with the best of them.

How do we eliminate the problems with TWF?
TWF’s suffer form the same problem as Monks. They NEED to be full attacking nearly all the time to be good, but poor tactics and smart enemies force movement which takes away your full attack. Thankfully, with the release of the APG, UM and UC these problems have been minimized for us. You just need to know where to look.
Make enemies come to you. If you can make enemies close with you, do it. They don’t get to full attack and you do.
Use your Animal Buddy. Some companions can trip, some can grapple and they are all faster than you. Use the AC to pin a foe so you can full attack him over and over.
Instant Enemy is your friend. Previously, against NON-FE rangers fell below the curve compared to other melee chars. Now against those NON-Favored foes, that are tough as hell, this spell lets you rock again.
Find a way to pounce. In 3.5 the Lions Pounce spell was a lifesaver from spell compendium solved your full attack worries. I’ll discuss 3.5 sources at the end. In PF there are 2 ways I know of to get Pounce for a ranger. I’ll discuss later.

The Guide to the Guide: In this Guide we will be discussing a lot of options, because Rangers have many choices. Therefore, in order to provide my advice on these choices, I'll be Color-coating and rating them.

ONE STAR * This is a choice I don't recommend – These aren’t the droids your looking for, Move along
TWO STARS ** This option is good, but not great
THREE STARS *** I recommend this option
FOUR STARS **** This is AWESOME!

Simple enough, like a movie review. So lets move into the Ranger skills and abilities that will help you become a Ginsu Master.

Favored Enemy ***: Now a +2 bonus right from 1st level, also, now gives a bonus to hit and will be your focus damage that makes TWF worth it. Favored enemy is circumstantial. It's vital you make good FE choices. Further you SHOULD stack your FE’s to get Bigger Bonuses on Common but Tougher opponents. Consult with your DM if before you play, but if you have no idea, you should pick-
1. Things you are highly likely to encounter frequently (so Dragons funnily enough are NOT a good choice unless in a Dragon Themed Campaign)
2. Things that will be a challenge across all levels (making Goblins a crappy choice)
A FE should meet both these Criteria. Using the Pathfinder adventure paths as a guide some thrifty choices are-
Humanoid (human). Number 1 encoutered race in 90% of Games, they’re everywhere and will often be BBEG’s (evil wizard, pally) or tough leveled NPC lieutenants.
Undead. Quite common, they run most CR’s and VERY common in certain APs. They often are a large number of them in evil, spooky areas. It’s not often you’ll encounter just one.
Outsider (evil). The Big Bad Evil Dudes. Evil Outsiders run the whole CR gamut from 1 to 20 and particularly mid to high levels are common baddies encountered.
Magical Beast/Monstrous Humanoid. These are all pretty common enemies, but if your DM will give you a suggestion, take it.

With no aid I’d normally stack FE like so:
Human +4
Undead +2
Evil Outsider +8
Magical Beast +2
Giant or Monstrous Humanoid +2
“How do I kick A$$ vs NON-FE?” Patience my Padawan, all will be revealed.

Wild Empathy **: Diplomacy for animals. The great thing is you get this (basically maxed out) for free, the bad thing is that it is based on CHA (a dump stat). Nevertheless, it is handy to have, and a great ability to use in conjunction with Charm Animal, allowing you to move the animal from your worst enemy, to your loving companion forever. I only mention this skill because it means you should never take FE: Animal. You have better options vs animals.

Combat Style ****: 5 bonus feats over 18 levels, what's not to like? Obviously we’re going with TWF here, but not in the order you suspect. I’ll get to it later.

Hunter's Bond ***: Now the Ranger gets a choice whether he wants an animal companion, or the ability to share his favored enemies with his allies. Get the animal companion every time. With a Standard Ranger, give particular Consideration to the Wolf.
It can TRIP foes when it attacks (giving them -4AC to hit), they flank with you (+2 to hit) and this helps you full attack more since they need to burn a Move action to stand up. Once standing on their turn, they can either use their standard to move away (which provokes another trip from the wolf) or make a single attack against either of you.
Either way, they don’t move and get either 1 or 0 attacks on you two. Between going LARGE at level 7, and some feats to burn on Ability Focus: Trip and the Animal Growth spell, the wolf will be tripping reliably for a long time. This gets less effective by level 13 but lasts longer than if a fighter does it (since the Large wolf can trip up to HUGE foes and an animal growth buffed wolf can trip Gargantuan foes). If playing a beastmaster ranger, the tiger is also worth considering because it gets POUNCE. Don’t forget the animal companion gets the same FE bonuses you do (and they apply to the trip attempt)

Woodland Stride **: Move through overgrown terrain (as long as it is natural) at full speed. This actually helps you TWF in Natural Terrain since you won’t be impeded from 5ft stepping. Foes will be.

Quarry *: Provides a small attack bonus and automatic critical confirming to one enemy per day (at 11th level). This is nice since we’ll be fishing for criticals (and getting more than the 2 handed guys), however, it takes a standard action to activate, which means that quite often, uses are limited. If your enemy attempts like to talk before a fight slap it on. Or use stealth to get close, use it while enemy is unaware, THEN attack.

Camouflage **: Granted at 12th level, this is basically Hide-In-Plain-Sight for all your favored terrains. Obviously this will be trumped when you get the real hide in plain sight, but until then, hide in plain sight is a nice ability to have. Awesome because it gives you buff time. Get your spells on before combat starts.

Hide in Plain Sight ***: Not granted until 17th level, Hide in Plain Sight means you can use stealth anywhere at any time. In an open field in daylight with a horde of guards specifically staring at you? No problem, goodbye. Again, the major use here is setting the battlefield to your liking before combat starts.

Improved Quarry ***: You can now use your Quarry ability as a free action, which suddenly makes this ability quite a bit more useful. Also, his bonuses double, and he only has to wait 10 minutes between new quarries, which means probably one quarry for every combat. This is freaking AWESOME. Late ability but it means you OWN your FE’s BIG time. If you stacked +8 on an FE that now became +16 (and works on Instant enemy)

Master Hunter ****: Cool ability. Won’t help you TWF but is a brilliant use of a standard action, if you have to move.

Spells ***: For anybody who gets these, this is a big advantage. The TWF Ranger loves his spells. They make you and your furry buddy better at killing stuff and gives you some out of combat stuff as well.

Recommended Skills:

Handle Animal ***: If you get an animal companion, and as mentioned before, you should, handle animal is very necessary for proper training. Furthermore a Ranger who doesn't have Handle Animal simply can't be a Ranger anymore, sorry.

Knowledge (nature) ***: Of the knowledge's you have, this will be the most useful. Lots of creatures are identified through the Knowledge (nature) skill. Knowledge (Dungeoneering) should be considered as a secondary option of you have the room.

Perception ****: Simply the most used skill in the game period. Also, what kind of scout doesn't have perception? This is absolutely the most useful skill, the most iconic skill, and your #1 priority. No Ranger should not have perception, are we clear?

Ride **: This is a definite maybe. If you plan on having your Ranger mounted (which is a viable option), then this is necessary, otherwise, it may be occasionally handy, but can be lived without, or with just a couple levels.

Stealth ****: I would max this out every time. Scouting requires you to be sneaky, so you have this as a class skill for a reason.

These skills are most relevant to the TWF ranger because they allow buff time. Ride is an exception and should be taken if you wanna go Mounted Skirmisher.

Favored Class Bonus: Either add HP to yourself or to your animal buddy.

Animal Companion Choices: Your bond should be an animal companion, here are your choices:

Cheetah/leopard ****: Not any faster than a horse or camel, and the damage is poor. However, has a great Dex which means that you can get weapon finesse for a nice chance to hit. Also the sprint ability gives it short range bursts of speed that will be impressive. Agile maneuvers will allow you to use the dex modifier towards combat maneuvers, and these get a trip attack with a successful bite attack. Gets scent as well, which is handy to have. Prone enemies are easy to hit enemies and will be full attacked more often.

Horse ***: If you plan to be a mounted Ranger, this is likely your best choice. Horses are actually pretty tough in combat with decent STR scores and large size. At 7th level it will become war trained as well. The horse also has scent, making it just as good at tracking by scent as a dog. Horses, like dogs, are going to be welcome in any city. A good choice IF you intend to go Mounted Skirmisher. (remember companions can be dismissed for others so you could have something else earlier and get the Horse when you get the Skirmisher feat)

Wolf ***: Very iconic choice, and very competitive with the Cheetah/Leopard. Stats are very similar and both have the tripping ability. Both advance similarly at 7th level as well. The Wolf does not have the sprinting ability, and it uses the single attack rather than the triple attack, so in the end, probably slightly weaker EXCEPT for the fact it will go a size larger than the Cheetah. This means it gets size bonuses to Trip and can trip bigger foes.

Ability Scores:

Now, as a TWF ranger having to comptete with those 2 handed warriors for damage means we need to pump STR big time. Cause we’re Rangers we can ignore those crappy dex requirements for TWF and we get Medium Armor so DEX should start at 14 and no higher. CHA is a dump stat and we get 6 skill points per level so INT doesn’t matter much. While we don’t offensively cast we need a 14 to get our Highest level spells
I’d Prioritise STR>WIS>CON>DEX>INT>CHA

Race:

When choosing Race you want something that is going to boost your your Strength or Wisdom. A movement score of 30 is definitely a primary, because we need to close and stay close so we can Full Attack more (TWF remember).

Half Elf ****: The ability bonus can be put in STR, and low light vision is good for Scouting. The skill focus feat is nice for stealth or perception (if you put it in perception that will stack with the racial +2 bonus). The elven immunities are decent as well. The multiclass bonus may be helpful too depending on your build. Alternatively the APG weapon Prof feature is nice to get either a Katana or Falcata Prof (since TWF’s count on crits to boost damage)

Half Orc ***: The ability bonus can be put in STR, and Darkvision is very helpful (better than low light in dungeons when scouting). Not much else specifically suited to the role, but that alone makes the Half Orc a decent choice.

Elf **: We don’t care much about the Dex or INT bonus (except it helps us dump those points at Char creation), and Con penalty sucks, since we like melee. Low Light vision is very helpful, as are the bonuses to Perception and enchantment. The Spellcraft and Spell DC bonuses likely won't have much impact. This would be an average choice, but the APG racial alternatives for attack bonuses against Orcs and the ‘FREE’ critical focus favored class option redeem it a lot. Not Bad.

Human ****: +2 goes into DEX, and the bonus feat is very handy, especially at low levels. The extra skill point will come in handy. Having no special vision type hurts, but it isn't the end of the world, eventually you can get spells that will do the job. At very high and very low levels, I think this is the best choice. At mid-later levels, but before you get the darkvision spell, you may find the lack of special vision to be a liability.

Dwarf**: The Bonus to WIS and CON is great for saving on a Point Buy, we don’t care about CHA. +2 vs spell saves rocks, BUUUTT the speed penalty is a big deal. If you wanna play a dwarf closing and Pinning a foe is Vital so you’ll be a little more reliant on your animal to trip/grapple foes for you.

Gnome/Halfling*: Small Size, Small Weapons, low speed and no stat boost to anything we care about. NO.

Feats:

Well, naturally you are going the TWF route, so some of your feats will come from that, but beyond the combat style feats, we need to find ways to full attack more often. Fortunately, there are plenty of choices:

TWF ***: The Start of your TWF journey. Unfortunately I’m recommending you take it at 2nd level and be a 2hander for level 1. Next feat will explain why.

Doubleslice*: This feat kinda sucks. You need a MASSIVE strength score to see more than one or two points of Damage increased to your offhand attacks only. The only reason a TWF’er takes this is as a Preq for Two Weapon Rend. Guess what? Rangers can take TWR without the Preq, so skip it till your level 18 bonus feat. That’s when your Magically enhanced strength score and 3 offhand attacks makes it actually worth it, besides, you’ll have all the other good feats by then.

Quickdraw**: Never a bad feat to take, but there are better choices. Loses it’s usefulness once you can afford a glove of storing.

Improved Shieldbash**: An ok selection. If your going weapon and shield I still prefer the TWF combat style over shield style. The shield feats don’t have DEX preqs so stick with the TWF style and use your regular feats for the shield feats.

ITWF***: Next step in the TWF chain. Still fairly likely to hit and at the level you take it, it’s what makes your full attacks better than the 2handed guys.

Two Weapon Defense**: Not worth a feat. Gives a +1 Shield AC and there are better feats in the chain to take.

Two Weapon Rend***: Now We’re talking. 1d10 plus 1 ½ your Str bonus when you full attack is great. Unlike other classes you didn’t need Doubleslice to get it. Take it at 10th level.

Gtr Two Weapon Fighting**: Completing the TWF chain. Taken at 14th level when you can stack enough to hit bonuses to make it stick.

Big Game Hunter***: This feat is Awesome for a level 9 feat. Check the Bestiary, the majority of foes CR9 or above are large or Bigger. This is basically Wpn Fcs and Wpn Spl for Both Weapons you wield reguardless of type.

Weapon Focus **: If you have a weakness in hitting, it's all the -2 to hit penalties, so even a +1 is handy on your main weapon

Stepup**: If an enemy 5ft steps away from you, then you can 5ft step next turn and still full attack. However it’s use in threatening casters IS useful

Following Step***: A better feat. If an enemy moves more than 5ft away, they burned a move action and provoked an AOO for leaving a square you threaten. If they only moved 10ft away, you can still full attack next round or 5ft step then full attack, if they moved 15ft. Also good for staying close to a polearm user or inside a big creatures reach.

Improved Critical ***: If your wielding either a Scimitar/Kukri or Katana or Falcata/Kukri (and you should) this is awesome. By the time your high level and wearing boots of speed, that’s 8chances to crit.

Critical Focus *: By itself nothing special, but it opens up all the nice critical options.

Staggering/Blinding/Sickening Crit**: You’ll be Critting a lot, so adding a Status effect is nice, but guess what? Only Stunning Critical Stops foes from Moving/acting. You need to PIN foes to full attack every round. I usually stop at staggered, if I take it at all.

Dazing Assault***: Now THIS is a feat. -5 to all your attacks in exchange for a always on save or lose effect. Yes please. NOTE- This will cripple your DPR unless you’ve got to hit bonuses running to negate it. So IF you’re flanking with your wolf and you took Outflank and have a menacing weapon or foe is prone- Hell yes! Fighting an evil outsider or an Instant Enemy- Hell yes! Fighting any FE and have Quarry Up- OH HELL YEAH!
Note- most people rule 1 save per attack action.
Full Attack- 1save
AOO- 1save
Standard Action Attack- 1save

Other Feats you may want to consider:

Mounted Combat/Trick Riding/Mounted Skirmisher***: A long term investment but awesome at level 14 when you can Pull it off. Stay Mounted and full attack all the time.

Combat Reflexes***: If your smart you took a tripper animal buddy and Dazing assault. Use the extra AOO’s when the enemy stands to attempt more dazes.

Teamwork Feats

Coordinated Charge***: Freaking Awesome. You and your buddy get this and you get free immediate action moves around the battlefield, when it’s not your turn. This allows you to use your buddies charge to let you close. Then you full attack when it’s your turn.

Outflank***: TWF carries a -2 to hit, so grabbing a +4when you flank is great and the extra AOO’s are awesome.

Precise Strike**: OK effect, but the are better teamwork feats above.

Human 15 point stat buy

Str (+2 racial): 18 (10)
Dex: 14 (5)
Con: 13 (3)
Wis: 13 (3)
Int: 8 (-2)
Cha: 7 (-4)

Raise the CON at level 4, the WIS at level 8, the rest to Str. With a +5 Manual of Str and a belt of Physical Perfection, you’ll get a Strength score of 32. Favored Bonus to HP is Decent and 6skills per level.

Level 1: Feats: Power attack/Combat Reflexes: At this level the character is a 2 handed Wielder. With a Breastplate he has a 18 AC, and 12 HP (for first level not too bad). His to hit with his Greatsword is +4, and damage is 2d6+9 (pretty good). Now it sucks to not be a TWF straight up but I explained why Doubleslice is a Bad feat to take this early.

Level 7: Add feats: TWF, Stepup, Following Step, Bonded Companion and ITWF. CON has been increased to 14 at level 4: Equipment: Now the character is using a Scimitar and a Kukri (to max crit chances. If you went Half-elf, the racial options allow you to take proficiency in Katana or Falcata). Now he can constantly stay adjacent to foes who don’t move more than 15feet away and when he and his Buddy can get a flank the wolf is tripping (imposing the -4 to AC and granting AOO’s) When he full attacks he’ll be outdoing the two hander. Not having doubleslice at this level is costing you 2 points of damage only on your offhand attack.

NOW, I’m gonna tell you why we went with NON-Matched weapons.
If you purchase a glove of storing, you can sheathe and unsheathe your Kukri as a free action on your turn. So walk around with just your Scimitar/Katana/Falcata out. If you get attacked, Move to close and 2hand attack that sucker. Next round (when your adjacent) you can unsheathe your Kukri and TWF full attack, then sheathe again at the end of your turn. Repeat. Now if the enemy provokes and AOO or Moves, you’re two handing and when you full attack you are TWF’ing. At no stage now, does a two handed guy outdamage you

Keep those feats concentrating on melee, as you level look to get Coordinated Charge for you and your pet (as it acts as a Pseudo Pounce ability), Outflank will keep you and your buddy hitting. Dazing assault will have them save or Losing every round.

Suggested Feat Tree:
1-Combat Reflexes, Power Attack
2-TWF
3- Stepup
4-Hunter's Bond (Wolf)
5- Bonded Companion
6-ITWF
7- Following Step
8
9- Big Game Hunter
10- Two Weapon Rend
11- Dazing Assault
12
13- Coordinated Charge
14-Gtr Two Weapon Fighting
15- Outflank
16
17-Heavy Armor Prof
18- Doubleslice
19- Favored Defense
20

TWF Rangers and Spellcasting:

Spellcasting is an important part of the Ranger package. It is enhancement of his current abilities (and many of the Rangers spells specifically work in this manner) and provide utility and animal buffs to boot. Good Spells for a TWF ranger are

1st-Level Ranger Spells

Hunter’s Howl: Make all foes in range +2 FE? Awesome.
Alarm: I like this more for Rangers than for other casters. Who but a Ranger is going to be scouting alone, and need to take a rest without a rotating watch? Level 7 is when you can get a full 8 hours (Thank you new Ranger-caster level mechanics!).

Animal Messenger: I also like this more for Rangers than for other classes. The Animal Messenger spell again works specifically well for a scout getting information back to his allies quickly and efficiently. Also note this is early entry, Druids and Bards get this as a 2nd level spell.

Charm Animal: Want a new pet? Maybe that Dire Bear over there...Start with Charm Animals to make it friendly, then Wild Empathy to make it helpful, and now it "woves you fowever". Handy enough? In addition, animals and high will saves just don't go together.

Endure Elements: Allows you to endure hot or cold climate, but does not provide any energy resistance. Potentially useful in circumstantial circumstances. Good to have on the list, but something you won't want to memorize unless you know you'll need it.

Entangle: Probably the best Druid spell for its level. Not early entry, but still very handy. Excellent battlefield control, and can also be used for a quick getaway when scouting.

Jump: Gives a flat bonus to jump checks with acrobatics. Not the kind of bonus that has you leaping in a supernatural manner (you likely won't clear the high wall for example). Honestly, I can't see the point of using a memorization slot for the very off chance you'll need it, and by the time you could memorize it, the need will likely have passed or an alternative found.

Longstrider: Increase your base speed by 10 feet. Mechanically inferior to expeditious retreat? Nope, look at the duration, this is a hour per level kind of buff. Cast this when you begin your day of adventuring, and depending on level, it may last the whole day. By the way, extra movement for scouts and skirmishers is very handy to have.

Magic Fang: Turns one natural weapon magical (+1 enhancement) for 1 min/level. The main use is for your animal companion or a summoned animal to be able to bypass DR/magic. That is pretty circumstantial, but perhaps handy occasionally.

Resist Energy: My personal favorite spell for dealing with energy attacks (because it has no limit before it disappears), and not only does the Ranger get it, they get it early entry. In addition, the new mechanics for caster level serve you well here.

2nd-Level Ranger Spells
Barkskin: A decent duration buff that's value will largely depend on the availability of magic items in your campaign. Natural Armor doesn't stack, so if you have magical items that provide the bonus, this isn't much use, if not, it's a valuable AC boost with a decent duration.

Protection from Energy: This isn't my favorite energy protection (see Resist Energy above), but it does overlap with the latter for increased protection, and it is early entry.

Spike Growth: Ahhh...now we're talking. Intended as an inconvenient trap spell, in fact, this spell is battlefield control. Choose the squares to be affected, and those moving over make a saving throw or are slowed. Not as good as slowing like the spell slow, but still, halving their movement. There's some minor damage as well. Also, the squares you trap are DC 27 search check to reveal, and unless your enemies are using Search during a battle, that means they won't see what's coming. A good way to slow down fast moving enemies.

Wind Wall: Wind Wall is an effective battlefield control spell, even for Wizards who get this at 3rd level. However, also note that Wizards use this spell to block conventional weaponry while they fire spells through it. You however rely on conventional weaponry. Instead use this so the wizard doesn't have to, then leap into melee.

3rd-Level Ranger Spells

Instant Enemy: You got there. Love it, use it and get a pearl when you can afford it. Allows you to treat that Great Red Wyrm as your best FE. Even better if your DM allows it to work with Quarry.

Darkvision: This is late entry, which hurts (and not sure why?). However, Ranger's can benefit greatly from this spell when scouting pure-darkness environments. The duration is good as well.

Magic Fang, Greater: This spell increases the value of the enhancement of Magic Fang, but even more importantly, has 60 times the duration. You probably want to memorize this every day (at least once) for your animal companions natural weaponry.

4th-Level Ranger Spells
Animal Growth: This should not be confused to be "enlarge person" for animals. The bonuses an animal gets with this spell are pretty impressive. It will turn your animal companion from a slight boost to your combat ability, to the main attraction. At one minute/level, this isn't an all day buff, but it will last at least one combat, and maybe a few.

Bloodsworn Retribution: AWESOME spell, lasts until oath is completed bonus to hit saves, skill checks in relation to the oath

Commune with Nature: This divination spell gives you information about the surrounding natural area, including where there is water, what kind of life exists, etc. You can use this (with reduced range) in natural caverns as well, to find out if the cave in inhabited by Orcs or a Red Dragon. Potentially useful, and early entry for the Ranger.

Cure Serious Wounds: Your "best" healing spell. Late entry, and not worth memorizing in my opinion. Rangers just aren't magical healers beyond the cure light wounds wand.

Freedom of Movement: I'm wary about the wording of this spell, it's vague, and I've had arguments with my GM in the past whether things like an Air Elementals vortex, Gust of Wind, or other factors that technically could be considered to hinder movement. However, the value of this spell is certain regardless of the interpretation just from the examples given in the spell description alone.

Tree Stride: First of all, this spell trumps "Tree Shape" giving you absolutely no reason to use that spell ever. However, the main purpose of this spell it to give you the ability to teleport short ranges. Alone, not all that great, but being able to do it as often as you like for 1 hour/level is all kinds of useful. Travel across the world in a couple days, scout out far distances, make quick escapes, unfortunately, you can't cast this on anyone else, which is the biggest drawback for actual gameplay use.

Equipment Choices for your Ranger:

Armor:

Breastplate: Breastplate may not be full plate but it is a solid armor. Good AC bonus with decent Dex bonus and non-crippling ACP. Masterwork it, then Mithril it.

Mithril Full Plate: The great AC hope for the TWF’er

Weapons:

Bane: A cheap but awesome enchantment for one of your lesser FE’s (say Undead or Human), get it on both weapons for pure ownage.

Holy: +2d6 damage to the most common enemies

Menacing: Great buff for you and allies and only need it on one weapon, go offhand.

Ghost Touch: Incorporal Foes are not common, but Ranger’s don’t have a lot of options for such foes so get it on your main weapon and 2 hand it.

Keen: You can get it from a feat but if you didn’t take it, probably better than any energy for the price. We’re counting on crits, remember?

Pearl of Power, 3rd level: A bit pricey, but worth it for another Instant Enemy spell.

Amulet of Natural Armor: Not super important, as you can cast Barkskin, but, still worth it

Handy Haversack: If you don't know why you want this, you've obviously never played D&D before.

Belt, Stat bonus: For the switch hitter, Str is prime, Dex secondary.

Headband, Stat bonus: Probably Wisdom is your best choice, for spellcasting, survival, and perception

Boots of Speed: Mainly for the Switch Hitter, all two-handed-weapon fighters should want this unless they have their own personal mage

Any Suggestions for a 3.5 Game?

Sure-
Two Weapon Pounce (PHB2) lets you twf on a charge and get TWR.
Leap Attack- This will also really buff your TWF charges.

With those feats the glove of Storing Trick is not required.

Spells-(SPL COMPENDUIM)-
Rhino’s Rush double the total damage of your TWP, Leap Attack. Scary.
Hunter’s Eye- Coupled with Magical Knack, this adds 6d6 Sneak Attack Damage when you flank.
Lion’s Charge- You get Pounce, Nuff Said.


Comments welcome.

It's a wall of Text now, I know, but I'll get it cleaned up and into a Google doc soon.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Looking forward to a more thorough read!

Minor nitpick: I would think crediting TM for his insights and providing whole passages might be a thing to consider.

Ruyan.


from 3.5 conseider oversized TWF, if you are a half elf you can use two katanas with only a -2 penalty to hit


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
STR Ranger wrote:

Comments welcome.

It's a wall of Text now, I know, but I'll get it cleaned up and into a Google doc soon.

I just made a twf ranger with a newer player for the current game. Lots of good stuff here, very useful. I'll make sure she reads it. Good work.

Lavachild


Is combat reflexes really that useful? With a Dex of 14, you are only getting 1 extra AoO per turn... (EDIT: I've reread it and it is "additional attacks of opportunity per round equal to your Dexterity bonus", which makes it 2. Better, but I'm still not convinced it is the most optimal choice)

I'd add a mention to antagonize as a nice feat against enemies. If you can get your intimidate high enough, you can make them come at you and then make a full round the next turn (not to mention how useful it is against casters)

And are you planning on including archetypes?


RuyanVe wrote:

Looking forward to a more thorough read!

Minor nitpick: I would think crediting TM for his insights and providing whole passages might be a thing to consider.

Ruyan.

Crap. That's what I get for Working late on it and posting at 2am, my time.

Full credit and thanks to Treantmonk for providing the format and inspiration for the guide.
I'll make an acknowledgement at the start of the Google doc version when I post it.


Drothmal wrote:

Is combat reflexes really that useful? With a Dex of 14, you are only getting 1 extra AoO per turn... (EDIT: I've reread it and it is "additional attacks of opportunity per round equal to your Dexterity bonus", which makes it 2. Better, but I'm still not convinced it is the most optimal choice)

I'd add a mention to antagonize as a nice feat against enemies. If you can get your intimidate high enough, you can make them come at you and then make a full round the next turn (not to mention how useful it is against casters)

And are you planning on including archetypes?

Combat Reflexes IS good because your add your whole dex bonus to the Number of AOO's you can take. So you get 3max.

Your Wolf/Leopard flank partner is a tripper and you should take Outflank.

That can create quite a few AOO's. 1 when the foe stands up, one if he tries to move away, another from Outflank. More if the foe tries to cast (and you'll threaten because you took Following Step).You can live without it but you'll find yourself missing opportunities.

Antagonise is in the same class as Leadership. Uber and I'm yet to meet a DM who allows it. I'll add it to the Google doc though.

Oversize TWF is a great feat for Fighters who could stack WF, Wspl, Gtr WF, Gtr Wspl and weapon training on both weapons. Rangers have access to none of that bar WF. FE and Big Game Hunter work no matter what you wield so Oversize TWF is a waste on a ranger.

A Katana/Katana vs Katana/Kukri is only 3 points of DPR better on 3 of your 8 attacks.
If you want to stack wpn fcs you can, but you burned 2feats to improve your hit. I think between FE, Flanking, Outflank, Prone Enemies, and Menacing on a Wpn you'll get enough bonuses to make your attacks hit.

Shadow Lodge

I can think of two things that make the half-orc better than mentioned above:

1. They get the Orc Double Axe. I know you're trying to max numbers of crits, but it's a decent choice, in my experience.

2. They can get Toothy. That's just one more attack in their full attack.

The Exchange

STR Ranger wrote:
... Human ****: +2 goes into DEX...

Based on your text, and your example character, I think you mean STR here, correct?

STR Ranger wrote:
... Level 7: Add feats: TWF, Stepup, Following Step, Bonded Companion and ITWF...

Do you mean Boon Companion from Seekers of Secrets? It may help if you quote where Feats and such come from (at least for any outside of the Core Rulebook). If you don't mean Boon Companion, then you probably do need to mention it... ;)

Expanding on what InVinoVeritas says, I'd have a think about double weapons too. Half-orcs can get the orc double axe, or even the dire flail (with the APG Chain Fighter alternate racial trait) for 'free', for example. Those two don't particularly mesh with your 'crits are everything' philosophy, but the trip quality on the dire flail, for example, can help you make all your attacks full attacks (which is the basic goal it seems) without needing a trip-based animal companion. Also with a double weapon you get full benefit from Weapon Focus and the like. The double-chained kama from UC is another interesting (if exotic) option - a ranged trip followed by many full round double attacks if done right.

As for more 'crit based' weapon choices, if you're going UC then the wakizashi is probably a better choice than the katana - using two of the same weapon is generally better than mix and matching (due to Weapon Focus and the like), and the damage difference is a mere 1 point, on average. As you mention, TWF is generally built around damage bonuses rather than base damage - base damage is a secondary concern, and at a 1pt average difference I'd rather get the most out of my Feats, personally.

With such a character I'd worry a little about defensive measures - his AC pretty much sucks for a melee guy - but that's hardly unique to this style of build, and the right magic will cover him nicely.

All in all a nice guide - thanks for sharing!


InVinoVeritas wrote:

I can think of two things that make the half-orc better than mentioned above:

1. They get the Orc Double Axe. I know you're trying to max numbers of crits, but it's a decent choice, in my experience.

2. They can get Toothy. That's just one more attack in their full attack.

I forgot about the Orc Double Axe. Since you get it for free that bumps them to decent. Since you can 2hand the Weapon when you move and TWF with it from level 1.

Negates the need for the Glove of Storing.

That same ability goes to the half elf as well who could get it at level 1 too. Or the Double Longsword (did that make the transition? I'll have to check the PFSRD)

Anyway,Half orc will get a bump.


If you're going to add archetypes, I'd like to point out that the Guide is absolutely fantastic for dual wielding.


The knock on TWF is damage, and all your feat selections have already been looked it by most of us. They crit more, but it does not make up for that the TWF is, and TWFing even with a ranger won't boost DPR. I like TWF for the coolness aspect, but it is what it is.

I would also suggest recommending kukris


&quot;ProfPotts" wrote:
STR Ranger wrote:
... Human ****: +2 goes into DEX...

Based on your text, and your example character, I think you mean STR here, correct?

STR Ranger wrote:
... Level 7: Add feats: TWF, Stepup, Following Step, Bonded Companion and ITWF...

Do you mean Boon Companion from Seekers of Secrets? It may help if you quote where Feats and such come from (at least for any outside of the Core Rulebook). If you don't mean Boon Companion, then you probably do need to mention it... ;)

Expanding on what InVinoVeritas says, I'd have a think about double weapons too. Half-orcs can get the orc double axe, or even the dire flail (with the APG Chain Fighter alternate racial trait) for 'free', for example. Those two don't particularly mesh with your 'crits are everything' philosophy, but the trip quality on the dire flail, for example, can help you make all your attacks full attacks (which is the basic goal it seems) without needing a trip-based animal companion. Also with a double weapon you get full benefit from Weapon Focus and the like. The double-chained kama from UC is another interesting (if exotic) option - a ranged trip followed by many full round double attacks if done right.

As for more 'crit based' weapon choices, if you're going UC then the wakizashi is probably a better choice than the katana - using two of the same weapon is generally better than mix and matching (due to Weapon Focus and the like), and the damage difference is a mere 1 point, on average. As you mention, TWF is generally built around damage bonuses rather than base damage - base damage is a secondary concern, and at a 1pt average difference I'd rather get the most out of my Feats, personally.

With such a character I'd worry a little about defensive measures - his AC pretty much sucks for a melee guy - but that's hardly unique to this style of build, and the right magic will cover him nicely.

All in all a nice guide - thanks for sharing!

Editing error. I did mean Str for the Stat adjustment.

I also meant Boon Companion. I'll reference sources in the Google Doc version (I did reference the 3.5stuff, in the meantime there is the PFSRD)

Dire Flail is Good. I'll mention it in the Half-Orc entry.

The Wazaikashi on the other hand, I'm not sold on. Yes, stacking WF is nice but it is a Light Weapon and so cannot be 2handed with the Glove of Storing Trick. Part of the Build philosophy is to vanish away the offhand weapon and 2 hand your primary if you have to move. That way the 2handed guy isn't out damaging you on standard or full attacks.
This would make all double weapons superior if it wasn't for the Crit factor
A staff would be good if it's crit range didn't suck.

In any case they are viable directions and good variations on the base build in the guide. One thing the Non-Matched weapons (Scimitar/Kukri or Falcata/Katana with Kukri) has over double weapons is if you get disarmed, you only drop 1 of your blades, rather than your only one.
Likewise if you are grappled or swallowed your light offhand weapon can be used. A double weapon cannot.

The AC thing isn't that bad. A 14Dex ranger with a Belt of Physical Perfection and Piecemeal armor (or Mithral Fullplate if you take Heavy Armor Prof) Can rock an AC of 39. 43 vs the +8FE/Instant Enemy with Favored Defense.

Shadow Lodge

Ellington wrote:
If you're going to add archetypes, I'd like to point out that the Guide is absolutely fantastic for dual wielding.

Yup, that's the path I've been choosing. A Toothy Half-Orc Double Axe wielding Guide/Skirmisher/Horizon Walker.

The Double Longsword, Dwarven Urgrosh and Dire Flail made the transition. If you're looking for crits, the Gnome Hooked Hammer made it as well; a half-elf could take a Medium-sized Hooked Hammer. Another versatile possibility would be the Meteor Hammer; also, the Double Chained Kama can grant reach and trip.

(I've actually always been a fan of the Urgrosh for its brace ability, but for standard TWF, I'd stick with the Double Longsword, Double Axe, or Hooked Hammer.)


wraithstrike wrote:

The knock on TWF is damage, and all your feat selections have already been looked it by most of us. They crit more, but it does not make up for that the TWF is, and TWFing even with a ranger won't boost DPR. I like TWF for the coolness aspect, but it is what it is.

I would also suggest recommending kukris

Never said TWF was superior to 2handing or Switchitter. I said IF a person is sold on TWF, then here's a guide to get the most out of it.

The glove of storing trick or a double weapon means a 2hander won't outdamage you (a most DM'S will let you use a weapon cord for the same effect from level 1, but that's stretching RAW, so it's not in the guide)

TWF does start outdamaging the 2hander at level 10, when Two Weapon Rend comes online. It never looks back from there. The feat cost is high, certainly but worth it for a lot of people who love the fighting style.


InVinoVeritas wrote:
Ellington wrote:
If you're going to add archetypes, I'd like to point out that the Guide is absolutely fantastic for dual wielding.

Yup, that's the path I've been choosing. A Toothy Half-Orc Double Axe wielding Guide/Skirmisher/Horizon Walker.

The Double Longsword, Dwarven Urgrosh and Dire Flail made the transition. If you're looking for crits, the Gnome Hooked Hammer made it as well; a half-elf could take a Medium-sized Hooked Hammer. Another versatile possibility would be the Meteor Hammer; also, the Double Chained Kama can grant reach and trip.

(I've actually always been a fan of the Urgrosh for its brace ability, but for standard TWF, I'd stick with the Double Longsword, Double Axe, or Hooked Hammer.)

Ok, The list on weapons is Long enough It'll get it's own section in the Google Write up.

Thx

The Exchange

I see your point on two-handing a non-light weapon when the situation demands it, and it's a good point too - versatility is a good thing.

On the other hand, with a heavy Feat investment into TWF you're going to be wanting to TWF as much as possible, so any time you're not then you're missing a trick - which is, I know, a nebulous sort of a statement to be making, but I guess I mean you're only two-handing as a last resort anyway. Also, what's to stop you carrying more that the two melee weapons? The Glove of Storing thing is okay, but you mention the Quick Draw Feat in your guide, which really seems the better option if you're going the weapon-swapping route: round 1 Quick Draw your greatsword (or whatever) and charge the bad guys, round 2 drop the greatsword and Quick Draw both wakizashi (or whatever) - maximising both your modes of attack. Sure, enchanting the 'spare' weapon is a costly concern, but you're hoping not to be using it much anyway. If the rest of the guide is working for you, then it really should only be the first attack versus each opponent when you're restricted from TWF. YMMV, but it's probably worth considering... or just stick to double-weapons.

AC on this build is pretty much rock-bottom for any melee type - the Favoured Defense Feat is your only real boost beyond any standard-issue AC (and at a maximum +5 AC Vs one Favoured Enemy at level 20 - it only grants half your FE bonus as AC - it scales... but not brilliantly). Like I mentioned, it's hardly unique to this type of build - the idea is usually to do so much DPR that the other guy never gets to attack anyway, and there are spells which can help too of course, but again it may be worth mentioning. With the hit they take to accuracy TWF types tend to not use Combat Expertise and Fighting Defensively, and (of course) losing the shield means a potential -7 odd AC too. TWF with a shield can be awesome, but really only straight Fighters can spare the Feats to take it all the way.

In your spells section I'd maybe mention lead blades (works on all the melee weapons you're carrying at once) and the various aspect spells (aspect of the wolf in particular pretty much rocking for the build you propose), as well as chameleon stride (boosts Stealth and grants concealment until you're within 5ft of the target) from the APG.

All IMHO, as always! :)


STR Ranger wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

The knock on TWF is damage, and all your feat selections have already been looked it by most of us. They crit more, but it does not make up for that the TWF is, and TWFing even with a ranger won't boost DPR. I like TWF for the coolness aspect, but it is what it is.

I would also suggest recommending kukris

Never said TWF was superior to 2handing or Switchitter. I said IF a person is sold on TWF, then here's a guide to get the most out of it.

The glove of storing trick or a double weapon means a 2hander won't outdamage you (a most DM'S will let you use a weapon cord for the same effect from level 1, but that's stretching RAW, so it's not in the guide)

TWF does start outdamaging the 2hander at level 10, when Two Weapon Rend comes online. It never looks back from there. The feat cost is high, certainly but worth it for a lot of people who love the fighting style.

Really? Now I will admit I have yet to do the math past level 10, but I don't agree. I will throw up a TWF fighter, and a power attacking fighter.

Weapons of choice are falchion, and kukri.
15 pb, core book, agp, and ultimate combat.

I will be back in in a few minutes.

PS:I just noticed this is ranger only. I might be in for a challenge. Level 12.


wraithstrike wrote:
STR Ranger wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

The knock on TWF is damage, and all your feat selections have already been looked it by most of us. They crit more, but it does not make up for that the TWF is, and TWFing even with a ranger won't boost DPR. I like TWF for the coolness aspect, but it is what it is.

I would also suggest recommending kukris

Never said TWF was superior to 2handing or Switchitter. I said IF a person is sold on TWF, then here's a guide to get the most out of it.

The glove of storing trick or a double weapon means a 2hander won't outdamage you (a most DM'S will let you use a weapon cord for the same effect from level 1, but that's stretching RAW, so it's not in the guide)

TWF does start outdamaging the 2hander at level 10, when Two Weapon Rend comes online. It never looks back from there. The feat cost is high, certainly but worth it for a lot of people who love the fighting style.

Really? Now I will admit I have yet to do the math past level 10, but I don't agree. I will throw up a TWF fighter, and a power attacking fighter.

Weapons of choice are falchion, and kukri.
15 pb, core book, agp, and ultimate combat.

I will be back in in a few minutes.

PS:I just noticed this is ranger only. I might be in for a challenge. Level 12.

Don't Compare different Classes. Apples vs Oranges.

Compare a Level 10 or 12 TWF Ranger (With ITWF and Two Weapon Rend) to a level 10 or 12 Two Handed Ranger. Same Strength. Compare without FE and With FE +4. Rember my guide suggestion also notes Big Game Hunter and using a Wolf for a Flank.

Should probably be 20pt buy since that's PFS standard.

You'll find on a Standard move + attack the 2handed guy up by 1-3 points.
Both would be Power Attacking. TWF guy two hands a Scimitar (Katana if Half Elf) and the 2handed guy would be using a Falchion (Katana if Half elf)

Full Attack and Two Weapon Rend will start to have the TWF ranger pulling ahead.


ProfPotts wrote:

I see your point on two-handing a non-light weapon when the situation demands it, and it's a good point too - versatility is a good thing.

On the other hand, with a heavy Feat investment into TWF you're going to be wanting to TWF as much as possible, so any time you're not then you're missing a trick - which is, I know, a nebulous sort of a statement to be making, but I guess I mean you're only two-handing as a last resort anyway. Also, what's to stop you carrying more that the two melee weapons? The Glove of Storing thing is okay, but you mention the Quick Draw Feat in your guide, which really seems the better option if you're going the weapon-swapping route: round 1 Quick Draw your greatsword (or whatever) and charge the bad guys, round 2 drop the greatsword and Quick Draw both wakizashi (or whatever) - maximising both your modes of attack. Sure, enchanting the 'spare' weapon is a costly concern, but you're hoping not to be using it much anyway. If the rest of the guide is working for you, then it really should only be the first attack versus each opponent when you're restricted from TWF. YMMV, but it's probably worth considering... or just stick to double-weapons.

AC on this build is pretty much rock-bottom for any melee type - the Favoured Defense Feat is your only real boost beyond any standard-issue AC (and at a maximum +5 AC Vs one Favoured Enemy at level 20 - it only grants half your FE bonus as AC - it scales... but not brilliantly). Like I mentioned, it's hardly unique to this type of build - the idea is usually to do so much DPR that the other guy never gets to attack anyway, and there are spells which can help too of course, but again it may be worth mentioning. With the hit they take to accuracy TWF types tend to not use Combat Expertise and Fighting Defensively, and (of course) losing the shield means a potential -7 odd AC too. TWF with a shield can be awesome, but really only straight Fighters can spare the Feats to take it all...

I'll note the low AC, Lead Blades is good, I'll add it.

Aspect of the Wolf struck me as freaking awesome at first. The only real problem is it competes for Instant enemy slots and by the time you get it, your buddy Cujo, should be tripping Huge foes for you. I'll note it.


STR Ranger wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
STR Ranger wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

The knock on TWF is damage, and all your feat selections have already been looked it by most of us. They crit more, but it does not make up for that the TWF is, and TWFing even with a ranger won't boost DPR. I like TWF for the coolness aspect, but it is what it is.

I would also suggest recommending kukris

Never said TWF was superior to 2handing or Switchitter. I said IF a person is sold on TWF, then here's a guide to get the most out of it.

The glove of storing trick or a double weapon means a 2hander won't outdamage you (a most DM'S will let you use a weapon cord for the same effect from level 1, but that's stretching RAW, so it's not in the guide)

TWF does start outdamaging the 2hander at level 10, when Two Weapon Rend comes online. It never looks back from there. The feat cost is high, certainly but worth it for a lot of people who love the fighting style.

Really? Now I will admit I have yet to do the math past level 10, but I don't agree. I will throw up a TWF fighter, and a power attacking fighter.

Weapons of choice are falchion, and kukri.
15 pb, core book, agp, and ultimate combat.

I will be back in in a few minutes.

PS:I just noticed this is ranger only. I might be in for a challenge. Level 12.

Don't Compare different Classes. Apples vs Oranges.

Compare a Level 10 or 12 TWF Ranger (With ITWF and Two Weapon Rend) to a level 10 or 12 Two Handed Ranger. Same Strength. Compare without FE and With FE +4. Rember my guide suggestion also notes Big Game Hunter and using a Wolf for a Flank.

Should probably be 20pt buy since that's PFS standard.

You'll find on a Standard move + attack the 2handed guy up by 1-3 points.
Both would be Power Attacking. TWF guy two hands a Scimitar (Katana if Half Elf) and the 2handed guy would be using a Falchion (Katana if Half elf)

Full Attack and Two Weapon Rend will start to have the TWF ranger pulling ahead.

Scimitars are not light weapons, and would incur additional penalties. The kukri has the same threat range, and only does 1 point less base damage from the weapon. It is better than the scimitar unless you know of some feat in UC or the APG that makes a scimitar into a light weapon. I will have the wolf there. I plan to be fair about this since I like TWF'ers thematically myself.

edit:I will move it up to 20 pb.


Re-read the Weapon suggestion in the Guide.

Best options are to:
Pair a Scimitar/Kukri (Offhand Weapon IS light so only -2/-2)
Build uses Big Game Hunter, NOT weapon focus,
since Big Game Hunter is +1 to hit and +2 to damage all Large or Bigger Creatures, taken at level 9. Most Bestiary Monsters of CR9 or above are large or Bigger. It works for both hands no matter what weapon you wield.

The Idea is to 2hand the Scimitar when you move and only use the Kukri when you full attack (which should be alot, if you use the Wolf effectively)
or
If you want to use weapon foccus, use a Half-Elf with the Weapon Prof racial ability for a Double longsword. Again, can be 2handed on a move and TWF with on a full attack.

The Exchange

While instant enemy is undoubtedly an awesome spell for a Ranger, it's not going to be your go-to spell in a lot of fights. It's a single-target spell with a 1 minute / level duration, so it's the proverbial bee's knees for taking on the BBEG and the like, but against groups of bad guys, or anyone you think you can drop pretty quickly anyway, it's self-limiting. In many combats you'll be better off going for a more generic self-buff, like the aspect type spells, where you get the benefits no matter which, or how many, bad guys you happen to take on. Then again, sometimes you'll actually be fighting your FE anyway, so instant enemy won't be needed.

Interestingly (or not, YMMV) instant enemy is actually a lot better if you take the group-based Hunter's Bond instead of the animal companion - granting your whole team up to a +5 bonus against the BBEG is something they'll be pleased to have (although generally I'd agree that, as long as you're allowed to take the Boon Companion Feat, the animal companion is the better choice out of the two Core Hunter's Bond options).


Here is the Link to the Google Doc.

I'll be sprucing it up over the next few days.
I'll update it has new feats/spells etc come to light.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1C2GesnbrAAvmShN7aBLK83BCqP-jDJIcdSFnSJy lpKA/edit?hl=en_GB

The Exchange

Link... if it helps any...


Quote:

Best options are to:

Pair a Scimitar/Kukri (Offhand Weapon IS light so only -2/-2)
Build uses Big Game Hunter, NOT weapon focus,
since Big Game Hunter is +1 to hit and +2 to damage all Large or Bigger Creatures, taken at level 9. Most Bestiary Monsters of CR9 or above are large or Bigger. It works for both hands no matter what weapon you wield.

I can run the numbers with and without Big Game Hunter in play if you like. What feats do you want to replace?

Here is what I am using so far:
1 Iron Will
1 Improved Init
2B TWF
3 Double Slice
5 Quick Draw
6 ITWF
7 Step up
9 Improved Critical (Kukri)
10 GTWF
11 Two Weapon Rend

edit:It was not even close. That extra attack from GTWF is the icing on the cake.

The TWF guy ends up with 125 ish, and the THW guy came in with about 86 DPR.

The wolf brings about 35 when a favored enemy is involved and flanking, but only accounts for 10 DPR otherwise.

I will have to check the numbers later. I thought it would be within 10 DPR either way.


I'd run:
1-Combat Reflexes, Power Attack
2-TWF
3- Stepup
4-Hunter's Bond (Wolf)
5- Bonded Companion
6-ITWF
7- Following Step
8
9- Big Game Hunter
10- Two Weapon Rend or GTWF

VS

1-Combat Reflexes, Wpn Focus: Naodachi
2-Power Attack
3- Stepup
4-Hunter's Bond (Wolf)
5- Bonded Companion
6-Cleave
7- Following Step
8
9- Big Game Hunter
10- Dreadful Carnage

That way they both use Ranger Combat Styles and are Crit fishers.
Make it vs a Large Foe. Remember the WOlf is Large at this level.
Wolf feats
1- Iron Will
2- Imp Iron Will
5- Power Attack
8- Light Armor Proficiency
10- Ability Focus: Trip

Also could you work out if GTWF or TWRend is worth more here. I prefer TWR cause it's a sure thing vs an attack that MIGHT hit.


Re-checked Aspect of the Wolf.

It's so-so. Ok at 13 when you get it, but the Enhancement bonuses won't stack with the belt you'll be getting soon.

Also most Large or Smaller creatues can fly by now, you aren't wielding a trip weapon (so no enhancement bonus to the check) and unless you're enlarged, you can trip Large foes only.

Where your LARGE wolf, if appropriately kitted out can trip Large foes easily for you and up to huge.

Like I said, ok when you get it, but not for long.


STR Ranger wrote:

I'd run:

1-Combat Reflexes, Power Attack
2-TWF
3- Stepup
4-Hunter's Bond (Wolf)
5- Bonded Companion
6-ITWF
7- Following Step
8
9- Big Game Hunter
10- Two Weapon Rend or GTWF

VS

1-Combat Reflexes, Wpn Focus: Naodachi
2-Power Attack
3- Stepup
4-Hunter's Bond (Wolf)
5- Bonded Companion
6-Cleave
7- Following Step
8
9- Big Game Hunter
10- Dreadful Carnage

That way they both use Ranger Combat Styles and are Crit fishers.
Make it vs a Large Foe. Remember the WOlf is Large at this level.
Wolf feats
1- Iron Will
2- Imp Iron Will
5- Power Attack
8- Light Armor Proficiency
10- Ability Focus: Trip

Also could you work out if GTWF or TWRend is worth more here. I prefer TWR cause it's a sure thing vs an attack that MIGHT hit.

I noticed you don't have improved critical for your ranger. I will drop use a keen +1 scimitar and keen +1 kukri. This should not take long.


If you take improved crit for the kukri you can take the money used for keen and make the kukris +2 for more damage. The scimitar is making you do less damage. That 1 point of base weapon damage is not worth it.

As for TWR or GTWF using your feats.

favored enemy bonus + flanking animal companion with both feats and no power attack DPR=101.62

No GTWF 92.55

No TWR 87.36

It seems TWR is more valuable since you lose more when it is not there.

Back to the two kukris vs kukri and one scimitar.
If I just use two +2 kukri, and drop cleave or step up to get "improved critical (kukri)" the DPR goes to 108.70 vs the 101.62 that is at the top of this post.


I'd LOVE to drop the Scimitar and just go two Kukri.
Problem is, your DPR for Standard Attacks drops WAAAYY down.

You CANNOT 2 hand a small weapon.

So let's say you have to move (and with a smart enemy, It'll happen)

as a Scimitar/Kukri Wielder you can sheathe the Kukri into your glove of storing, then 2handed Power Attack (with 1 1/2Str added to damage and a 1to3 PA ratio) as you move in.

or
As a Kukri/Kukri wielder
Move in an make a single 1handed PA (only adding str to damage and getting a 1to2 PA ratio)

Scimitar Dude wins.

The OPTIMUM solution here is a Double Weapon. Take improved Crit Double longsword. But with a smaller crit range =/= anyway.

Maybe take Improved Crit: Scimitar, since that is your main weapon.
Fight with a +2 Scimitar and a +1 Keen Kukri


Quite an interesting guide! I always have thought twf rangers were second rate, but this does have an interesting appeal to me. I most definitely will be bookmarking and forwarding the google doc.


STR Ranger wrote:

I'd LOVE to drop the Scimitar and just go two Kukri.

Problem is, your DPR for Standard Attacks drops WAAAYY down.

You CANNOT 2 hand a small weapon.

So let's say you have to move (and with a smart enemy, It'll happen)

as a Scimitar/Kukri Wielder you can sheathe the Kukri into your glove of storing, then 2handed Power Attack (with 1 1/2Str added to damage and a 1to3 PA ratio) as you move in.

or
As a Kukri/Kukri wielder
Move in an make a single 1handed PA (only adding str to damage and getting a 1to2 PA ratio)

Scimitar Dude wins.

The OPTIMUM solution here is a Double Weapon. Take improved Crit Double longsword. But with a smaller crit range =/= anyway.

Maybe take Improved Crit: Scimitar, since that is your main weapon.
Fight with a +2 Scimitar and a +1 Keen Kukri

I meant to mention this last time, but there is no double longsword. There is a two-bladed sword which has the same stats a double longsword would have if it existed, but you need a feat to take it, and I don't know if it is worth a feat, but it might be for what you want to do.

PS:you actually got less DPR with power attack activated when TWF'ing. I did not account for party buffs though, and I am sure that would change things in a real game.

If you only get one round of full attacks before the bad guy falls then the scimitar has an advantage, but if the monster can make it to round 2 you are better off with the kukris since the standard action from the scimitar did not do enough to take him anyway. I doubt he will take two full rounds of attacks if he is the favored enemy.


Oh one thing, you mention that double weapons are good, but only mention the double weapons that require an exotic weapon proficiency! Don't forget that while it's kinda a dinky weapon, the quarterstaff does count!

Edit: ah I reread your posts and did see you mentioned here, perhaps it's worth mentioning in the google doc.


Quote:
you aren't wielding a trip weapon (so no enhancement bonus to the check)

This doesn`t apply. The FAQ has been updated.

Trip delivered by any weapon (incl. UAS) uses the attack bonuses appropriate to that weapon.

STR Ranger may not be emphasizing as much himself, but half the point of the 2-handed stance for non-Full Attacks is NOT just single Attack Actions (/Cleaves, etc) but ATTACKS OF OPPORTUNITY.

AoO maximization seems to be ignored in it`s contribution to DPR, but just one look at the DPR olympic spreadsheet numbers for vanilla extra attacks show that 1 AoO easily can equal about 40% of your Full Attack DPR.

I like the double knives on a chain thing... Reach is a great way to get more Full Attacks (or more productive ones, vs. multiple opponents) as well as AoO`s (I`m not sure if that weapon allows that though). I would also consider using both a standard Reach weapon (2Handed) and Armor Spikes or UAS as off-hand weapon, along with the Lunge Feat (again, useful for any build to get more effective Full Attacks) you can potentially use both `normal` reach UAS/Armor Spikes and the Reach Weapon, while having the capability of each individual weapon (re: AoO`s, etc, which Reach weapons are great at).


The Quarterstaff CAN be used that way. I didn't mention it because a dual wielder should be looking for crits.

Incidently, thank fully I play a 3.5 Compatable Game at home.
Much easier to make TWF work with the Two Weapon Pounce Feat from PHB2

Here's my home build:

1-Combat Reflexes, Power Attack
2-TWF
3-Big Game Hunter
4-Hunter's Bond (Wolf)
5-Bonded Companion
6-ITWF
7-Two Weapon Pounce (3.5)
8
9-Improved Critical (Scimitar)
10-Two Weapon Rend
11-Dazing Assault
12
13-Coordinated Charge
14-Gtr Two Weapon Fighting
15-Leap Attack
16
17-Outflank
18-Doubleslice
19-Favored Defense
20


Quandary wrote:
Quote:
you aren't wielding a trip weapon (so no enhancement bonus to the check)

This doesn`t apply. The FAQ has been updated.

Trip delivered by any weapon (incl. UAS) uses the attack bonuses appropriate to that weapon.

The bolded area is not correct.

blog wrote:

Page 199 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook says, “When you attempt to perform a combat maneuver, make an attack roll and add your CMB in place of your normal attack bonus. Add any bonuses you currently have on attack rolls due to spells, feats, and other effects. These bonuses must be applicable to the weapon or attack used to perform the maneuver.” That last sentence implies that some weapons apply their bonuses on combat maneuver checks, and some do not. So how do you know which weapons do? The answer depends on what kind of combat maneuver you’re attempting, and in some cases what kind of weapon you’re using.

Disarm, sunder, and trip are normally the only kinds of combat maneuvers in which you’re actually using a weapon (natural weapons and unarmed strikes are considered weapons for this purpose) to perform the maneuver, and therefore the weapon’s bonuses (enhancement bonuses, feats such as Weapon Focus, fighter weapon training, and so on) apply to the roll.

In short -->It doesn't say you can use weapons that don't have the trip feature to trip -- it's saying that natural weapons and unarmed strikes are considered weapons for the purposes of trip attempts... meaning any bonus on them would be added to the trip attempt.

You still need the trip quality to add all bonuses to the attack roll if it is a manufactured weapon. If it is a natural weapon or unarmed strike then you get the bonuses with those also.
If the weapon is manufactured, but does not have the trip quality then you can trip with it, but you don't get to add all the bonuses you would for a normal attack.

edit:for clarity.

edit2:I am incorrect.

Sean Reynolds wrote:
In other words, you can make disarm, sunder, and trip checks with any weapon, and you apply your bonuses (enhancement bonus, Weapon Focus, and so on) to the disarm, sunder, or trip combat maneuver roll.


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STR Ranger wrote:


Incidently, thank fully I play a 3.5 Compatable Game at home.

In that case the Valenar(an elf) Double Scimitar is a great pickup for anyone playing an elf.

The Exchange

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Sleeping on this, I'll recant my comment that sword-n-board TWF is really for Fighters only, since after a bit of thought it seems that the TWF Ranger may be the guy to pull it off after all.

The key is using the Combat Style Class Feature to skip the high Dexterity pre-requistites (as mentioned in the guide). The advantage of going shield bash + weapon TWF is three-fold:

1. You can mitigate your low AC issues.

2. The Shield Slam and Shield Master Feats make it a mechanically better method of TWF.

3. A heavy spiked shield with the magical bashing quality does a base 2d6 damage. The lead blades spell boosts that to 3d6. So it's the only real way for the base damage on your primary TWF weapon to equal the base damage on the two-handed guy's primary weapon - which means you've got less ground to make up (damage-wise) with your extra attacks from TWF than you usually do. You loose out on critical threat range, but that isn't such a big deal until you start to hit effects which trigger on a critical at higher levels.

Oh, and as a cosmetic extra...

4. You don't have to switch your weapon style between level 1 and level 2 - it's sword and board all the way, baby, yeah! ;)

So, basic Feat choices...

1. Improved Shield Bash
2. Two Weapon Fighting (Combat Style bonus Feat)
3. Power Attack
4. N/A
5. Boon Companion
6. Improved Two Weapon Fighting (Combat Style bonus Feat)
7. Shield Slam
8. N/A
9. Shield Focus (or something else...)
10. Two Weapon Rend (Combat Style bonus Feat)
11. Shield Master
12. N/A
13. Teamwork Feat (you and your animal companion both get a Feat at this level, so you can co-ordinate on your Feat choice. Since you're TWF you're all about adding bonus damage to every attack, so Precise Strike would seem like your best choice here)

Going merely on Wealth By Level (and the 'no more than half your wealth in one item' rule) you could have a +1 bashing spiked heavy shield as early as level 5.

For your off-hand weapon a vanilla shortsword or kukri isn't bad, but if you can swing an Exotic Weapon Proficiency Feat (and have a DM who's on-board) then the sawtooth sabre (counts as a light weapon for TWF purposes and has the stats of a longsword) is a great choice, the aklys (1d8 base damage, plus ranged trips) is interesting, or the wakizashi (1d6 with an 18-20 threat range) if you're worried about criticals.

One other thought, I'd suggest that the Ride Skill is pretty important from level 7 on up, since by then your wolf buddy will be big enough for you to ride when you want to... and falling off is an embarrasment... ;)


I'm not sure that Boon Companion should do anything at all for this build. It's one of those feats that's meant for a multiclass character, to allow him to get more mileage out of his levels -- a 7 ranger/4 fighter would have the animal companion of an 11 ranger, but an 11 ranger will have the animal companion of... an 11 ranger.

calculated as though your class were four levels higher, to a maximum bonus equal to your character level.


A rangers animal companion is normally treated on the companion table as ranger level -3

The feat bumpsit to your full ranger level.

Sovereign Court

Opinion on Skirmiser archetype? With a boon companion boosted animal companion it seems worth it to me (especially as I might be able to skimp on wisdom a little). TWF Guide/Skirmisher is very appealing to me.


To settle the boon companion thing, check Sean's post here.

Now a question:
You say that two weapon rend is a very good feat but from the way i read it you don't get the power attack bonus only the STR bonus, am i reading it wrong or the STR bonus makes this feat good enough.


2WpnRend isn`t an independent attack, it`s just bonus damage, so Power Attack wouldn`t apply to it, only STR increases.

re: A heavy spiked shield with the magical bashing quality does a base 2d6 damage,
Paizo has clarified that the spike is it`s own weapon, so bashing quality on the AC side of the shield doesn`t affect the spike damage. you can still have both spike and normal shield bash (to have different damage type options, different enhancements) but they are no longer the same weapon.

Sword and Board is definitely still workable, and you can switch around your `mainhand` weapon as is most effective - Crits only become more effective than Base Damage at higher levels. You can even use 2 shields if you want to, optimizing on weapon focus, etc, though the Crit rate/modifier is what sucks there... But a Shield+Falcata combo seems very viable... I would even suggest a 1 level dip in the Thunderstriker Fighter Archetype to get rid of the buckler attack penalty when using a 2-Handed weapon, which lets you use the 2wf/2hander switch-hitter strategy that STR Fighter described, giving up AC when you choose to get more STR bonus.

I would also say: never pick up Greater 2WF, it just isn`t really worth it IMHO, at that level/BAB there are lots of other great Feats.

The Exchange

Quandary wrote:

re: A heavy spiked shield with the magical bashing quality does a base 2d6 damage,

Paizo has clarified that the spike is it`s own weapon, so bashing quality on the AC side of the shield doesn`t affect the spike damage. you can still have both spike and normal shield bash (to have different damage type options, different enhancements) but they are no longer the same weapon.

Well darn! ;)

But yeah - I see the game balance point there (otherwise everyone would be doing it!).

Quandary wrote:
I would also say: never pick up Greater 2WF, it just isn`t really worth it IMHO, at that level/BAB there are lots of other great Feats.

Actually I'd think a TWF Ranger may be one of the few characters that can make GTWF work, if they stack all their Favoured Enemy bonuses on one FE (and they really should if they're going TWF and trying to get as many stacked bonuses as possible - especially with the 'spamming instant enemy' advice in the guide). The hefty -10 penalty to hit seem less hefty if you're rocking a +10 bonus to hit from your FE Class Feature already.

... I'd still take Two-Weapon Rend first though, given the choice...


leo1925 wrote:

To settle the boon companion thing, check Sean's post here.

Now a question:
You say that two weapon rend is a very good feat but from the way i read it you don't get the power attack bonus only the STR bonus, am i reading it wrong or the STR bonus makes this feat good enough.

It's 1d10 (5.5)+ 1 1/2Str Mod

If you start with 17Str and Pump it to at least 20, then a Belt of Physical Perfection 6 that's 17damage per full attack

It gets even better with a +4tome of gainful exercise
adding 20per full attack.


STR Ranger wrote:
leo1925 wrote:

To settle the boon companion thing, check Sean's post here.

Now a question:
You say that two weapon rend is a very good feat but from the way i read it you don't get the power attack bonus only the STR bonus, am i reading it wrong or the STR bonus makes this feat good enough.

It's 1d10 (5.5)+ 1 1/2Str Mod

If you start with 17Str and Pump it to at least 20, then a Belt of Physical Perfection 6 that's 17damage per full attack

It gets even better with a +4tome of gainful exercise
adding 20per full attack.

After putting it that way i guess that the feat might be good for someone having a lot of feats, like a fighter or a ranger.


If the guide is followed reguardless of race your final attack routine will be (approximately)

Damage Exercise.

AT 20
STR 19 (24) +Belt of Physical Perfection 6= 30
DEX 15
CON 14
INT 9
WIS 14
CHA 7

Feats as per guide (human)

Attack: Taking Two weapon Fighting and full power attack into account
Final Full Attack is
BAB20 + 7(STR) +3(Belt of Physical Perfection) +5(wpn enhancement) -6(PA) -2(twf) =27/27/22/22/17/17/12 (With Scimitar/Kukri +5)
(All attack values +2 vs Human and 2d6 extra damage for Bane and another +4 from FE)
Special: Vs Large Creatures (+1 Hit, +2 Damage)
AOO (2Handed): 29 (24 with dazing assault)

Note: All attack values for Melee
Hasted 28/28/28/23/23/18/18/13
Hasted vs Large29/29/29/24/24/19/19/14 (+2 damage)
Haste/Menacing Flank 32/32/32/27/27/22/22/17
Haste/Menacing Flank vs Large 33/33/33/28/28/23/23/18 (+2 damage)
Haste/Menacing Outflank 34/34/34/29/29/24/24/19
Haste/Menacing Outflank vs Large 35/35/35/30/30/25/25/20 (+2 damage)

AOO'S
Hasted 30/Flanking 36 (25 with dazing assault/31 if the AOO comes from Outflank)

Damage Primary= +5, Holy, Human Bane, Keen, Frost Scimitar
D6+ 5(wpn enhance) +10(str,belt) +2d6 (holy) +1d6 (cold)+12(PA)= ave 41/43 vs Large

Secondary +5 Holy, Keen, Human Bane, Menacing Kukri 34/36vs large offhand
TWR= D10+ 1 ½ x STR Mod (15)


Anyone who wants to crunch the DPR on that will find the numbers pretty sweet (the only 'Buff' is Haste from Boots and FE where appropriate)

That doesn't account for the animal pal, which youre less reliant on at high levels.

Now a Scimitar/shield user actually has better of hand attack bonuses but Crits less. I may expand the guide to include it. With a Quickdraw light shield and Quickdraw feat you would not need the glove of storing.

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