Cleave vs Two-Weapon Fighting


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


This feels dumb to talk about, but I can't concieve the "why" behind it.

Why is Two-Weapon Fighting a Full-Round action?

I don't mean in general, I mean the initial two-weapon attack. It's already (without feats) -6/-10, or rescricted to light weapons at -4/-8. Why is it further penalized by being a full round action for 2 attacks at your full BAB?

This isn't even consistent with every exta attacks feature or ability. Cleave offers an additional attack just for hitting, albeit against a different target, and you take a -2 penalty to AC.

I'm not saying TWF in general be a standard action. The extra attacks from Improved and Greater TWF make sense as part of a full attack. The initial though I don't get it. Weighing them:

Cleave: Standard Action
Benefits
-Extra Attack
-Full BAB
Downsides
-Feats Required (Power Attack, Cleave)
-Penalty: -2 AC
-Cannot target one creature twice

Two-Weapon Fighting: Full Attack
Benefits
-Extra Attack with Offhand
-Full BAB (before penalties)
Downsides
-Penalties: -6/-10 base, reduced by light weapons and/or feat
-Half modifier on offhand damage
-Other offhand penalties (example: Power Attack)

TWF in general, offhand penalties are mentioned for most ways of improving damage. And yes, though their benefits are similar, Cleave and TWF are very different. I guess I just fail to see why TWF is so enormously penalized by removing the ability to do anything else on your turn, on top of attack roll penalties, damage modifier penalties, and in most cases, not having a free hand to use items, skills, spells, etc.

Was this a balance issue for something specific in the early core days of Pathfinder? A dated carry over from D&D 3.5? An attempt at realism in saying "You need to focus all your attention to attack two things simultaneously"? Or an oversight, adding TWF to full attacks when it would have been simply better to add "when making a full attack" to the Improved and Greater TWF feats instead?


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Cleave also requires that you declare it first (you can't declare it after hitting) and that the second enemy be adjacent to the first. That's a fairly heavy restriction. Original 3.5 Cleave (later brought back through yet another feat) let you keep making attacks as long as you dropped someone. Base Cleave basically just lets you hit two people standing next to each other (and only if you hit on the first attack and you take an AC penalty to do it).

TWF, by contrast, is just a free extra attack. Yes with penalties, but if you're counting something you need to take a feat to get (Cleave) then we have to assume you're taking the feat here too. Cleave can only double your damage by spreading it to a different target. TWF can just straight double your damage. And TWF doesn't harm "most" damage bonuses. Strength to damage and Power Attack and I think that's it? Favored Enemy, Sneak Attack, Weapon Training, Studied Target, Inspire Courage are all at full bonus. Heck, even the UBarb's Rage works just fine with TWF.

Then there's the mechanical/"realism" issues. TWF is "swinging both swords" (or whatever). Why can't we replace that with "swinging both claws"? If the rules started allowing TWF as a standard by default then how would we justify not getting all of your natural attacks as a standard as well? Natural Attack builds are strong enough without free pounce.

It sounds like you're trying to compare "big beefy warrior" to "big beefy warrior who we took away his greatsword and he's forced to use a couple daggers". Yes, the second one will be worse. By contrast compare "rogue with low str and two daggers flanking an opponent" and "rogue with low str and a greatsword flanking an opponent". Again, the second one is worse (unless that second target is also flanked) but now it's because Cleave is bad and TWF is good instead of vice-versa. Different characters benefit more or less from TWF and Cleave. Some quite significantly. Saying "Cleave is better than TWF" is always going to require "for this specific build".


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Cleave also requires that you declare it first (you can't declare it after hitting) and that the second enemy be adjacent to the first. That's a fairly heavy restriction. Original 3.5 Cleave (later brought back through yet another feat) let you keep making attacks as long as you dropped someone. Base Cleave basically just lets you hit two people standing next to each other (and only if you hit on the first attack and you take an AC penalty to do it).

Yes, adjacent is an additional aspect not technically considered. My bad, and yes it is an improvement from 3.5's version. Two-Weapon Fighting however does also require declaration to use, which is how you apply the penalties. Someone holding 2 weapons is not TWF unless they declare they are.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
TWF, by contrast, is just a free extra attack. Yes with penalties, but if you're counting something you need to take a feat to get (Cleave) then we have to assume you're taking the feat here too. Cleave can only double your damage by spreading it to a different target. TWF can just straight double your damage. And TWF doesn't harm "most" damage bonuses. Strength to damage and Power Attack and I think that's it? Favored Enemy, Sneak Attack, Weapon Training, Studied Target, Inspire Courage are all at full bonus. Heck, even the UBarb's Rage works just fine with TWF.

Yes. You are right it is a flat double. There are specific instances of half on off-hand (generally Str-based feats and abilities, which are the majority when talking about melee damage, so yes, Str to damage applies from your point). All of your mentioned abilities though, with the acception of Studied Target, would (or in Sneak Attack's case, could) apply to Cleave, or Great Cleave.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Then there's the mechanical/"realism" issues. TWF is "swinging both swords" (or whatever). Why can't we replace that with "swinging both claws"? If the rules started allowing TWF as a standard by default then how would we justify not getting all of your natural attacks as a standard as well? Natural Attack builds are strong enough without free pounce.

All of those natural attacks would still be at appropriate penalty. My TWF character is actually an unarmed, so there are kicks and punches available, however how much she can do is still limited. Choosing any 2, if a character had say a bite and 2 claws, one is the primary attack, and the second is secondary (off hand), so you could pick a combination and still be limited as any other. Additionally, Pounce declares the use of a Charge action, and a Charge action on it's own declares a single melee attack. RAW, having an off hand attack as part of a standard attack action with 2 weapons would not allow someone charging to make two attacks. So they would not get free Pounce, and would still need to get it by normal means. The logic here is flawed, unless I'm overlooking something?

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
It sounds like you're trying to compare "big beefy warrior" to "big beefy warrior who we took away his greatsword and he's forced to use a couple daggers". Yes, the second one will be worse. By contrast compare "rogue with low str and two daggers flanking an opponent" and "rogue with low str and a greatsword flanking an opponent". Again, the second one is worse (unless that second target is also flanked) but now it's because Cleave is bad and TWF is good instead of vice-versa. Different characters benefit more or less from TWF and Cleave. Some quite significantly. Saying "Cleave is better than TWF" is always going to require "for this...

I do not disagree with the "for this" statement. A low Str character cannot take Cleave (min 13 for PA), and a low Dex character cannot take TWF feats to reduce penalties. Cleave is not going to be good for everyone, and nor will TWF be. The point I am making and wondering about is Full Attacks. Any instance where you recieve extra attacks, is a full attack, except when it isn't in Cleave's case, and likely a few others it is simply the most common culprit. Initial Two-Weapon Fighting, full BAB, 1 extra attack that needs declaration and has penalties, is a full attack, which means if I make the choice to play a two weapon character, I need.

-To likely be using light weapons, which tend to have lower damage dice
-To take a feat to lower my penalties
-Take 2 additional feats to properly full attack with my build, which require a Dex of 17/19
And in exchange.
-I cannot reposition and apply my full strength
-Cannot enter a combat and get the drop with any multi-hitting ability
-Cannot draw a weapon if I throw it since I am denied a move for throwing/hitting with 2
-Have my hands full (natural/unarmed excluded) so I cannot use an item. Even two handed weapons you can remove 1 hand without dropping something

Two-Weapon Fighting as it is, feels stiff. Even if the extra attack took your Swift Action, but not being able to move and double-strike feels dumb. You highlighted some of my issues, yes there is clearly some stacking like Sneak Attack which could get pretty aggressive. There should never be a "must have" option for every character. However, I think there could have been better and more game-healthy ways to address these issues, rather than gimp a broad character option.


Isaac Zephyr wrote:
All of those natural attacks would still be at appropriate penalty. My TWF character is actually an unarmed, so there are kicks and punches available, however how much she can do is still limited. Choosing any 2, if a character had say a bite and 2 claws, one is the primary attack, and the second is secondary (off hand), so you could pick a combination and still be limited as any other.

That isn't how Natural Attacks work.


Isaac Zephyr wrote:

Yes, adjacent is an additional aspect not technically considered. My bad, and yes it is an improvement from 3.5's version. Two-Weapon Fighting however does also require declaration to use, which is how you apply the penalties. Someone holding 2 weapons is not TWF unless they declare they are.

...

Yes. You are right it is a flat double. There are specific instances of half on off-hand (generally Str-based feats and abilities, which are the majority when talking about melee damage, so yes, Str to damage applies from your point). All of your mentioned abilities though, with the acception of Studied Target, would (or in Sneak Attack's case, could) apply to Cleave, or Great Cleave.

...

All of those natural attacks would still be at appropriate penalty. My TWF character is actually an unarmed, so there are kicks and punches available, however how much she can do is still limited. Choosing any 2, if a character had say a bite and 2 claws, one is the primary attack, and the second is secondary (off hand), so you could pick a combination and still be limited as any other. Additionally, Pounce declares the use of a Charge action, and a Charge action on it's own declares a single melee attack. RAW, having an off hand attack as part of a standard attack action with 2 weapons would not allow someone charging to make two attacks. So they would not get free Pounce, and would still need to get it by normal means. The logic here is flawed, unless I'm overlooking something?

...

I do not disagree with the "for this" statement. A low Str character cannot take Cleave (min 13 for PA), and a low Dex character cannot take TWF feats to reduce penalties. Cleave is not going to be good for everyone, and nor will TWF be. The point I am making and wondering about is Full Attacks. Any instance where you recieve extra attacks, is a full attack, except when it isn't in Cleave's case, and likely a few others it is simply the most common culprit. Initial Two-Weapon Fighting, full BAB, 1 extra attack that needs declaration and has penalties, is a full attack, which means if I make the choice to play a two weapon character, I need.
-To likely be using light weapons, which tend to have lower damage dice
-To take a feat to lower my penalties
-Take 2 additional feats to properly full attack with my build, which require a Dex of 17/19
And in exchange.
-I cannot reposition and apply my full strength
-Cannot enter a combat and get the drop with any multi-hitting ability
-Cannot draw a weapon if I throw it since I am denied a move for throwing/hitting with 2
-Have my hands full (natural/unarmed excluded) so I cannot use an item. Even two handed weapons you can remove 1 hand without dropping something

Two-Weapon Fighting as it is, feels stiff. Even if the extra attack took your Swift Action, but not being able to move and double-strike feels dumb. You highlighted some of my issues, yes there is clearly some stacking like Sneak Attack which could get pretty aggressive. There should never be a "must have" option for every character. However, I think there could have been better and more game-healthy ways to address these issues, rather than gimp a broad character option.

3.5 Cleave is not universally better or worse. It's better or worse for specific builds. The super reach build benefits way more from old Cleave than new Cleave (as you can attack more targets). New Cleave is better at higher levels as it's unlikely you'd be able to drop appropriate opponents in a single attack but you should be able to hit them. I only pointed out you need to declare Cleave because you said "Cleave offers an additional attack just for hitting" which sounds like you don't need to. It's entirely possible to say you're cleaving, miss, and thus get no benefit and still keep the penalty.

The point of that list was you said "offhand penalties are mentioned for most ways of improving damage". That's wrong. There's lots of sources of damage that aren't affected by TWF and could potentially double your damage on a single target with TWF. That they also apply to Cleave is irrelevant, Cleave is never single target. Great Cleave also comes with the same restriction as Cleave, adjacent only.

Yeah, you're missing that I'm saying you cannot justify TWF as a standard without some tortured logic to prevent two claw attacks as a standard. Especially since claw blades exist. Catfolk puts on a few little pieces of metal and suddenly attacks twice as fast. And then where do you draw the line? You suggest they pick two attacks, but why? What if they have four arms, do they get four attacks? Strap a blade to their mouth and get three? Boot blade, barbazu beard, boulder helm? Do those characters get to pick an extra natural attack because they have more weapon attacks? The reference to pounce is because pounce allows you to full attack on a charge. If a natural attack build can always make all of their natural attacks as a standard action that's basically the same thing (move + full attack).

Ranger and Monk bonus feats can be taken without meeting the prereqs. Some other class abilities also grant feats that way. It's entirely possible to have a 10 Dex TWF Ranger. On the list of extra attacks without a full attack, AoOs (and anything that provoke them: Greater Trip and Overrun (for you) and Reposition, Drag, and Bull Rush (for your allies), Vicious Stomp, Come and Get Me, Panther Style, Snake Fang, Crane Riposte), Spiked Destroyer, and Cleave. Notice the pattern? Feats and class abilities can grant abilites not universally available. That a feat grants the ability to make an extra attack in specific circumstances sounds fine to me.

Your list of complaints is mitigated or fixed by new stuff that's been published since Core. Or even in Core, in the case of Quick Draw and Double Slice. There's even an archetype that does most of what you want (two attacks as a standard, two attacks on an AoO).

"broad character option"? It's always been niche. That's why it's needed a feat to not be awful since... forever? Well, proficiency slots back in the day. Oh, and you needed to be ambidextrous (as that added more penalties).

This is starting to look less like a question or comparison and more like a complaint about your very specific build. TWF takes a full round action because certain builds can use it much better than others to spike their damage with no restrictions. Especially at lower levels. Cleave will never be the cause of a boss dying. TWF might.


Gisher wrote:
Isaac Zephyr wrote:
All of those natural attacks would still be at appropriate penalty. My TWF character is actually an unarmed, so there are kicks and punches available, however how much she can do is still limited. Choosing any 2, if a character had say a bite and 2 claws, one is the primary attack, and the second is secondary (off hand), so you could pick a combination and still be limited as any other.
That isn't how Natural Attacks work.

You're right. Core Rules and Univeral Monster Rules for Pathfinder already divide them into primary and secondary attacks, reduced by the multi-attack feat. These replace itterative BAB attacks, which means they are still a full attack action, and not by definition TWF.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Yeah, you're missing that I'm saying you cannot justify TWF as a standard without some tortured logic to prevent two claw attacks as a standard. Especially since claw blades exist. Catfolk puts on a few little pieces of metal and suddenly attacks twice as fast. And then where do you draw the line? You suggest they pick two attacks, but why? What if they have four arms, do they get four attacks? Strap a blade to their mouth and get three? Boot blade, barbazu beard, boulder helm? Do those characters get to pick an extra natural attack because they have more weapon attacks? The reference to pounce is because pounce allows you to full attack on a charge. If a natural attack build can always make all of their natural attacks as a standard action that's basically the same thing (move + full attack).

Why, because Two-Weapon Fighting specifies one additional off hand attack. That's not twisting logic it's read as written. Natural attacks, read as written, replace itterative BAB, making them a full attack action either way you slice it. A character with 4 arms likely has their own benefits listed with that trait, and should be written with balances in check. Someone "Zolo-ing" with three blades, still only gets to add 1 off-hand attack for Two-Weapon Fighting. You keep comparing natural attack creatures, but they play by their own rules. You're bridging a connection between them as I did Cleave and TWF, because they are similar. Removing the TWF statement from Full Attacks and adding it instead to the additional off-hand feats so that the first only off hand attack could be part of a standard would not have bearing on multi-natural attacking, unless they only had 2 natural weapons, as it is specified as it is, as one off hand attack.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Ranger and Monk bonus feats can be taken without meeting the prereqs. Some other class abilities also grant feats that way. It's entirely possible to have a 10 Dex TWF Ranger. On the list of extra attacks without a full attack, AoOs (and anything that provoke them: Greater Trip and Overrun (for you) and Reposition, Drag, and Bull Rush (for your allies), Vicious Stomp, Come and Get Me, Panther Style, Snake Fang, Crane Riposte), Spiked Destroyer, and Cleave. Notice the pattern? Feats and class abilities can grant abilites not universally available. That a feat grants the ability to make an extra attack in specific circumstances sounds fine to me.

I'm fully aware. Power Attack on a 9 Str Vigilante is something I considered. And I get it. TWF at it's core is not a feat. It can be modified with feats, but is something available to anyone. I was comparing it to Cleave because Cleave is the exception to the base rule presented by Full Attacks, which state any time one recieves extra attacks, it is full round. And Cleave is not class specific as well. I'm not so much arguing Cleave, I believe it's fine, I'm making the arguement to why swinging one greatsword, or two shortswords is a different action. (Sub those weapons however you like, I just picked 2 that have the same theoretical damage output)

Bob Bob Bob wrote:

"broad character option"? It's always been niche. That's why it's needed a feat to not be awful since... forever? Well, proficiency slots back in the day. Oh, and you needed to be ambidextrous (as that added more penalties).

This is starting to look less like a question or comparison and more like a complaint about your very specific build. TWF takes a full round action because certain builds can use it much better than others to spike their damage with no restrictions. Especially at lower levels. Cleave will never be the cause of a boss dying. TWF might.

Yes, it takes feats to not be terrible, and multiple feats to scale into higher levels. And the root of my complaint is not based around a specific build. It goes to full attack actions in general and my feeling that they are part of the reason martial characters are so dissatisfying to play in late levels. About needing to preplan feats and be useless without them on some characters, which I don't think should ever be the case.

There are still the restrictions of needing feats to not be terrible, limiting the weapon selection you can use it with, and restricting getting those feats to either specific classes or characters who need to devote every resource to it. The spike yes, applies to some early but there are still restrictions.

The greatest abuses, which I'm gonna say Sneak Attack, could be made healthier by limiting it to one time per round, or per target per round, even as it is though, applying it twice on a flat footed target with the proposed TWF standard, would be 2d6 extra damage, if after their penalties they could manage both hits. Level 3 4d6, which is nice. Level 4 though a wizard is still doing that same amount with 1 shocking grasp. An attack against touch AC all the time.

All my examples have been CRB only, so yes, perhaps future publications have more abusable combinations, or addressed the issue with an archtype or feat. I don't agree with an archtype or class as an answer though. That's saying "this class is the only one that can X", and two-weapon fighting should not be said X.


Again, claw blades. A catfolk puts little metal tips over their claws (changing them from natural to light manufactured) and under your proposed system suddenly gets two attacks instead of one with a standard action. That makes no @#$%ing sense. You ask why you can't swing two shortswords as fast as a single greatsword, I'm asking why (under your new system) you can't swing two claws as fast as you swing two shortswords. Under the old system it's simple, they're both full round actions. Under your proposed new system one is significantly faster.

Also every indication is that four-armed characters get one main and three off-hand attacks. Marilith is always the easy example for this.

Again, I listed a dozen ways to get extra attacks outside of a full attack. Absolutely none of them are part of the base rules. Every single one requires a feat or class ability. Why should TWF be different? What's so special about TWF that it should give free extra attacks as a standard action? You can't swing two swords as fast as one sword because we no longer have weapon speeds and all swords are treated the same. A Titan Mauler can swing two greatswords as fast as a rogue and their two daggers. So I think full-round action is just fine. Also, again, there's an archetype that gives this ability (Two-Weapon Warrior). It takes 9 levels, so clearly this is a signficant amount of training Paizo thinks it requires. Personally, I think it's not enough. Two weapon fighting isn't a real fighting style in the real world because it's bad. It's overrepresented in media so I don't mind them throwing it a bone but it's not good.

So your solution to "martial characters are terrible" is "limit their bonus damage sources". I hope you realize that's the opposite of helpful.

There is no one class you need to play to do TWF. Again, my sources of bonus damage covered Ranger, Rogue, Slayer, Bard, and Fighter. We can also add Cavalier, Paladin, UBarb, Cleric, Warpriest, I've probably missed a few. Warpriest is especially good with sacred weapon. You just can't take a character that already exists and decide to do TWF. Not every class is equally good at every option.

Look, if you just want to complain the system screws martial characters there's like a dozen caster/martial disparity threads around here somewhere. Go complain in one of those.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
I've probably missed a few.

Avenger Vigilantes can be quite good at twf, since you get pounce at level 12, you have a static damage boost in Lethal Grace for finesse twfers, and if you want to twf with a shield you can skip all the dex requirements for the twf feats.

But as for the argument in the thread, my question is "why does two-weapon fighting need to be good?" I've played versions of this game where two-weapon fighting was not very useful, and it was fine. It seems like historically two-weapon styles were about parrying and counterattacks not "swing more bits of sharp metal to make more attacks". Rules are pretty consistent is "if use a standard action to attack, you get to make one attack" unless you have something that specifically says otherwise. Since "two-weapon fighting" is a thing anybody can do without the feats that make you better at it, it's best not to break that rule.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Again, claw blades. A catfolk puts little metal tips over their claws (changing them from natural to light manufactured) and under your proposed system suddenly gets two attacks instead of one with a standard action. That makes no @#$%ing sense. You ask why you can't swing two shortswords as fast as a single greatsword, I'm asking why (under your new system) you can't swing two claws as fast as you swing two shortswords. Under the old system it's simple, they're both full round actions. Under your proposed new system one is significantly faster.

I'm not saying two claws cannot be two weapon fighting. TWF can still be used with natural weapons, the difference I pointed out is how the core rules handle natural multi-attacks with natural weapons. Claws or weapons, the rules remain consistent. TWF: extra off hand attack, Natural Multiattack: replace BAB on full attack.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Also every indication is that four-armed characters get one main and three off-hand attacks. Marilith is always the easy example for this.

The Marilith has a unique monster ability, Multiweapon Mastery (Ex), which means it does not take penalties for fighting with multiple weapons. It is also a monster and not a player option, and monsters tend to have unique scaling and balances. Their full attack in their entry still only multi-attacks with one weapon. However it's two attack options both use all six weapons, and a tail slap. As a CR 17, having 7 attacks makes sense for a creature of that difficulty to be a challenge for 4-5 PCs of that level.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Again, I listed a dozen ways to get extra attacks outside of a full attack. Absolutely none of them are part of the base rules. Every single one requires a feat or class ability. Why should TWF be different? What's so special about TWF that it should give free extra attacks as a standard action? You can't swing two swords as fast as one sword because we no longer have weapon speeds and all swords are treated the same. A Titan Mauler can swing two greatswords as fast as a rogue and their two daggers. So I think full-round action is just fine. Also, again, there's an archetype that gives this ability (Two-Weapon Warrior). It takes 9 levels, so clearly this is a signficant amount of training Paizo thinks it requires. Personally, I think it's not enough. Two weapon fighting isn't a real fighting style in the real world because it's bad. It's overrepresented in media so I don't mind them throwing it a bone but it's not good.

And I'm not saying TWF should not require feats to not be bad. I'm saying -6/-10 without feats and the limit of light weapons is plenty without making it also full round. Yes, there are no weapon speeds, yes if you built it hard enough you could swing double greatswords in very specific cases. One archtype for one class is not an acceptable solution. If it took 9 levels but was an option anyone could in theory take, fine. But as the rules stand, a boxer is a two weapon fighter, and throwing a one-two punch means he's gotta root himself to do it.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
So your solution to "martial characters are terrible" is "limit their bonus damage sources". I hope you realize that's the opposite of helpful.

That's a generalization of what I said. Even as it stands, we'll give this theoretical rogue all the two weapon feats via magic. He gets 6 sneak attacks against one target for +10d6 each. You're right, that can burst down a boss after considering damage reduction or hardness. That's yes, unhealthy, and in the current rules without changes. Making the first two attacks standard wouldn't change the pre-existing toxicity and power curve of that specific issue, and it doesn't make a lot of sense he can drop down and hit a target in 6 different weak points in a fell swoop. The problem you presented was less with what I'm suggesting and more with sneak attack's damage being relatively unrestricted. If he can drop in, deal the +10d6 twice with his high bonus and escape, which would be viable if the first attack of TWF was part of a standard action, it would not unbalance the system as it is. However, that doesn't mean I don't think you're right in that some combinations may be better than others.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
But as for the argument in the thread, my question is "why does two-weapon fighting need to be good?" I've played versions of this game where two-weapon fighting was not very useful, and it was fine. It seems like historically two-weapon styles were about parrying and counterattacks not "swing more bits of sharp metal to make more attacks". Rules are pretty consistent is "if use a standard action to attack, you get to make one attack" unless you have something that specifically says otherwise. Since "two-weapon fighting" is a thing anybody can do without the feats that make you better at it, it's best not to break that rule.

Even the historical comparison isn't there though. Not without a variety of feats anyway. And yes, 3.0 TWF was terrible. Even 5e went the road of TWF using your bonus action for the second attack. My comparison again is the boxer. Two fists is TWF by this system. The boxer cannot throw a one two punch and back off or retreat. A rogue cannot quick stab with a pair of daggers and back off. Swinging both weapons as one theoretical attack after running at someone is not available. If feels clunky based on rules more than realism. My problem I guess is more with full attacks in general more than TWF, though TWF's extra hit on top of it's penalties, restrictions and feat semi-requirements feels like over-punishing.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Again, claw blades. A catfolk puts little metal tips over their claws (changing them from natural to light manufactured) and under your proposed system suddenly gets two attacks instead of one with a standard action. That makes no @#$%ing sense.

Sure it does.

The catfolk gets full strength and full power attack bonuses to each claw because he's putting his full weight into each swing. And thus also suffers no AB penalty.

But if he swaps to manufactured weapons he swings more quickly and tries to flurry -- this is why he can fit in iterative attacks at higher levels. However, he gets a -2 AB penalty to all attacks, needs an additional feat to avoid massive upfront penalty, and only gets 50% damage from strength/power attack on his offhand.

There's your rationale -- natural weapons get full strength/PA and no AB penalty.

I'm running two campaigns right now with a house rule that you CAN take an attack with each weapon (if dual-wielding) whenever a 2H would get an extra attack (which means as a standard action, as an AoO, or during Haste). So far only one PC is dual-wielding (a rogue).


It's just not worth addressing everything else wrong here, so I'm just going to do this one:

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
And I'm not saying TWF should not require feats to not be bad. I'm saying -6/-10 without feats and the limit of light weapons is plenty without making it also full round

Because we're not talking about -6/-10. For one thing, "limited to light weapons" means it's -4/-8. TWF does not exist in a vacuum. It exists within the totality of the other rules (feats, archetypes, etc.). By your standards archery is awful because you always have a -8 to attacks and weak damage and two-handing is the "best" but still takes forever to kill an enemy (no damage bonuses or Power Attack). Only they're not, because feats and class features exist and are used. Nobody except the foolhardy and desperate use TWF at -6/-10. If you're going to complain about something you cannot intentionally hobble yourself to "prove" how bad it is.


Weapon trick for 2wf gives you your standard action both weapon swing.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Weapon trick for 2wf gives you your standard action both weapon swing.

Point. Player Companion books are generally up to GM's discretion for use, and I think the pre-reqs are a bit much (Double Slice and Improved Vital Strike, that's devotion of 5 total feats to the action, plus a requisite of BAB 11. However some class options could get you those a little faster, or at reduced cost). But it's attainable, and a viable answer to the issue presented within the current confines of the game.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Because we're not talking about -6/-10. For one thing, "limited to light weapons" means it's -4/-8. TWF does not exist in a vacuum. It exists within the totality of the other rules (feats, archetypes, etc.). By your standards archery is awful because you always have a -8 to attacks and weak damage and two-handing is the "best" but still takes forever to kill an enemy (no damage bonuses or Power Attack). Only they're not, because feats and class features exist and are used. Nobody except the foolhardy and desperate use TWF at -6/-10. If you're going to complain about something you cannot intentionally hobble yourself to "prove" how bad it is.

I've never implied to be thinking of it in a vacuum. You're twisting logic. I've referenced, other rules, feats, and character options. You're failing to see the point I'm making in that the base rule is flawed. You're throwing a dozen or more specific instances as they apply by your understanding, and I have shot them down with rules reference that exist.

By my standards, I believe all full attacking is terrible, regardless of weapon. I believe for the health of the game and all martial characters, there need to be fewer, better options, and less of a miriad of thousands of sub-par feats to slog through, figure out which base 11 (without class options) work for you and need to plot your way through them to not be useless during certain level ranges. I believe Spring Attack and Shot on the Run should both not be feats, and instead just how the game works. Why does my weapon connecting with something stop me dead? If I want to keep going, an opportunity attack is coming my way, but it would be my choice to take it. And I believe full attacking, left as it is, should not be a full round action. The lot of itterative attacks should just be something earned. Spellcasters already get enormous boosts in damage to standard action spells, why does a fighter need to stop dead to get the most of their damage?

Yes, by my logic, a character with a high base could run through a crowd, making 4 attacks against 4 targets on the way (and if not drop them than take 3 opportunity attacks along the way). Or 2 on one, drop him and run across the room to deal 2 to another.

Would that break the game as it is? I don't think so. But it would diversify the options a martial, or even some spellcasters had, and make them feel better in the later halves of this game we choose to play.

For the current arguement we are engaged in. Yes, class features exist, and yes, if a character wanted to use TWF they would likely be taking all the options they could to get the most out of it. The point I am making with using the absolute base is making the point that there is devotion already needed to make it not as terrible. Whether it be selecting a specific feat 1st level, or playing a specific class. You need to devote a section of your character's growth to making an option not terrible, versus flat making it better, like Cleave. I use a two handed weapon for example because of the easy comparison to total base damage, when not considering class features. Greatsword: 2d6+1.5 Str, 2 Shortswords: 1d6+Str + 1d6+0.5 Str. This yes, is a vacuum. Yes, you have brought up at least one class feature which I agree, would be strong. Strong enough to become the only option were my current proposed idea the standard? No. With rogues alone, ranged is still very good, not needing to risk AoO or putting you in threat range. And many of the options available like Charge, and Vital Strike specify one attack, and therefore with their current RAW would not be influenced. These considerations are outside of the realm of my current hypothsized proposal.

Science needs a set standard for the control group. I chose base TWF, no adjustments because it opens the floor that this is not a human or 3rd level character who benefits only. I'm not proposing a class feature change, or changing a feat with unachievable prerequisites. This is a base option that when asking new players and GMs, makes no sense, as it is a rule, to which in the same book it was published as seemingly a footnote, there are acceptions. Like Cleave. "A character who can make more than one attack must use the Full Attack action to get more than one attack per round." -PCRB, Multiple Attacks. "If you get more than one attack per round because your base attack bonus is high enough, because you fight with two weapons or a double weapon, or for some special reason, you must use a full round action to get your additional attacks." -PCRB, Full Attack.

I do not believe, choice of weapon should lock a character into losing all their mobility to use their preferred weapon(s), whatever they may be. Needing to devote the entirety of a character to use a weapon, means you're not playing a character anymore, you're playing that weapon, and until level X when you have all the required abilities for your weapon, you don't contribute and have less fun. And for as much as I enjoy the complexities of character building in this game, playing a weapon only, is not fun for many players, and being useless is also not fun.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Isaac Zephyr wrote:

This feels dumb to talk about, but I can't concieve the "why" behind it.

Why is Two-Weapon Fighting a Full-Round action?

I don't mean in general, I mean the initial two-weapon attack. It's already (without feats) -6/-10, or rescricted to light weapons at -4/-8. Why is it further penalized by being a full round action for 2 attacks at your full BAB?

This isn't even consistent with every exta attacks feature or ability. Cleave offers an additional attack just for hitting, albeit against a different target, and you take a -2 penalty to AC.

I'm not saying TWF in general be a standard action. The extra attacks from Improved and Greater TWF make sense as part of a full attack. The initial though I don't get it.

An important consideration: TWF will not impinge on a character's ability to get iterative attacks when their BAB is high enough. Cleave, as a standard action and always a standard action, will do so because it will prevent the character from making attacks as a full round action.

So, yes, for certain situations cleave is a better strategy than TWF, but for other situations, TWF is better.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Isaac Zephyr wrote:

This feels dumb to talk about, but I can't concieve the "why" behind it.

Why is Two-Weapon Fighting a Full-Round action?

I don't mean in general, I mean the initial two-weapon attack. It's already (without feats) -6/-10, or rescricted to light weapons at -4/-8. Why is it further penalized by being a full round action for 2 attacks at your full BAB?

This isn't even consistent with every exta attacks feature or ability. Cleave offers an additional attack just for hitting, albeit against a different target, and you take a -2 penalty to AC.

I'm not saying TWF in general be a standard action. The extra attacks from Improved and Greater TWF make sense as part of a full attack. The initial though I don't get it.

An important consideration: TWF will not impinge on a character's ability to get iterative attacks when their BAB is high enough. Cleave, as a standard action and always a standard action, will do so because it will prevent the character from making attacks as a full round action.

So, yes, for certain situations cleave is a better strategy than TWF, but for other situations, TWF is better.

That is an excellent point I didn't consider. That makes a very big difference in terms of their individual utilities (and it's nice to not be arguing an opinion).

Comparing the two, yes that ring true. TWF will more or less always add to a full attack, even if the first bonus attack was part of standard. It makes Cleave into a choice. Surrounded, do I lock into Cleave/Great Cleave to keep a steady BAB, so long as I hit? Or do I take the itterative attacks against a single opponent? TWF always has the option to single focus, and can chain into the rest of a full attack, so base Cleave to TWF is really comparing apples to oranges.

I guess the larger concern, and comparing them was why Cleave got the exception. Why can I Cleave and leave when no one else can?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Isaac Zephyr wrote:


TWF always has the option to single focus, and can chain into the rest of a full attack, so base Cleave to TWF is really comparing apples to oranges.

It's still comparing apples, but it's like picking the right apple for the application. I wouldn't cook with Red Delicious apples - they wouldn't be able to take the abuse and would turn to mush. Cooking would be better with Braeburn or Pink Lady because they'll keep more of their structure.

The same basically goes with combat options.


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To be honest, cleave can be workable, you just have to be a dwarf and go about as all in on the style as a TWF character does.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
It sounds like you're trying to compare "big beefy warrior" to "big beefy warrior who we took away his greatsword and he's forced to use a couple daggers". Yes, the second one will be worse

Heh.

A fighter with a pair of kukri is the highest sustained DPR build in the game starting ~11th level.

Ryan Freire wrote:
To be honest, cleave can be workable, you just have to be a dwarf and go about as all in on the style as a TWF character does.

Cleave is very workable, especially once you can use Vital Strike while cleaving.


Balkoth wrote:
There's your rationale -- natural weapons get full strength/PA and no AB penalty.

Just gonna say right here, this is only sometimes true. For Primary natural weapons you always get full BAB, full Strength Bonus. This is the typical go-to nat weapons for PCs (stuff like bite and claws.) But for Secondary natural weapons, they are always at BAB-5, and only get 1/2 Strength, though Multiattack can reduce the BAB penalty to -2. And then characters that only have a single natural attack (like a creature with just a bite, but not including a creature with just a pair of claws) instead adds 1.5x Strength to damage.

As a note though, natural weapons do not "replace BAB on full attack" as at least one person has said. Natural Weapon attacks are completely separate from iteratives, with all natural attacks being able to be made in a full attack regardless of your BAB, and in fact can (provided the limb is not used for anything else, like the hand for a Claw instead using a Sword) be used along-side iterative attacks. In this case they are all treated as Secondary attacks. If anything they're actually closer to the off-hand attacks you make with TWF, in that when used with normal attacks they take a penalty to attack bonus and only give 1/2 your Strength Bonus.

EDIT: Added a bit.


Two weapon fighting has a couple of advantages you are forgetting. The first is that you can attack the same target with both attacks. Cleave requires you to attack separate targets. Second is that with two weapon fighting you can gain more attacks as you level up. A higher level character using two weapon fighting can get a lot of attacks in a single round. And again they can all be used vs the same target.

With cleave you can only attack any specific target once. This means it works well against things you can easily kill, but is useless vs tougher targets. Even when you take great cleave this does not change. Cleave lets a high level character cut down a bunch of low level threats, but does not work vs a single tough opponent.

I don’t know about you but I don’t think it is worth spending 3 feats for my 10th level fighter to be able to mow through a horde of 1st level orcs. On the other hand the10th level ranger using two short swords is going to be able to take down some pretty tough creatures. If he is attacking his favored enemy he will go through them lice mincemeat.

Sovereign Court

You are forgetting another thing: tactics. From rogue viewpoint: flanking is the most often way to sneak attack, and with cleave, sneak attacking both targets is ridiculously hard(not of you're orc rogue, though, but this is only one case).

Overal, cleave is similar to vital strike. You get more damage than from usual attack as standard action, but you get less damage compared to fullround unless you build focus is cleaving, in which case they are awesome and cool(According to my experience, killing 3 orcs with single cleave at lvl 5 is ridiculous). The only really huge positive side of cleave is free move action, which makes you quite mobile in combat.


I wonder what would happen if you'd made Cleave work on non-adjacent but in-range and make TWF have a Standard action version where you can strike twice the same opponent (both with a level 6 requirement or similar). Would this really break anything?


Errant Mercenary wrote:
I wonder what would happen if you'd made Cleave work on non-adjacent but in-range and make TWF have a Standard action version where you can strike twice the same opponent (both with a level 6 requirement or similar). Would this really break anything?

That's more or less what I'm saying. When you consider the prereqs for TWF penalties, and other associated feats to make it "not terrible" as people put it, it is about 5/6 levels to use. And honestly, when you look at the late game, it really doesn't seem to break anything. Seem being key word though, there may be outliers.


Cleave is a feat that doesn't USUALLY define an entire style of combat. It just provides an additional option in the right circumstances, and only applies when enemies are bunched in specific ways,and only when you don't want to full attack. It isn't meant to be compared to Two Weapon Fighting, which is a dedicated combat style for full attacking. You might as well compare cleave to archery.

In fact, there's nothing stopping a two weapon fighter from also taking Cleave. They won't hit quite as hard if they aren't two-handing a greatsword, but cleaving with both hands on long sword on rounds you need to move, and then Quickdrawing your offhand weapon on the next round leads to a flexible melee fighter indeed.


Solariel Sunleaf wrote:

You are forgetting another thing: tactics. From rogue viewpoint: flanking is the most often way to sneak attack, and with cleave, sneak attacking both targets is ridiculously hard(not of you're orc rogue, though, but this is only one case).

The Gang Up feat makes it significantly easier to flank.

Even more so if the rogue happens to be riding a mount.


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JRq3ywFhF3BsJH1tTj5JgRhN2gvwiyUaLUgvDYv -gCI/edit?copiedFromTrash

The author of the guide focuses on the ranger there, but his basic strategy of using a scimitar two handed for any round you need to move is sound for many builds. He's not focusing on splatbook content, and he recommends taking Cleave in there even as a weapon fighter.


The fact that Cleave has to be declared is the real tragedy here. Once you take the feat, it should just be on every standard attack. But I digress.

TWF is a full round action as a penalty for being stupid and fighting with two weapons. That only happens in bad television. It's a fantasy game and you have every right to make it as stupid as you want, in the case of TWF, that stupidity is penalized via limited action economy and an enormous feat tax.

Fun aside: a two level dip in Fighter/Corsair gets you Cleave without the prerequisites.


VoodistMonk wrote:
TWF is a full round action as a penalty for being stupid and fighting with two weapons.

Are you implying the same thing is true of any fighting style that uses more than a single attack roll?

E.g. Pretty much anything except Vital Strike.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
VoodistMonk wrote:
TWF is a full round action as a penalty for being stupid and fighting with two weapons.

Are you implying the same thing is true of any fighting style that uses more than a single attack roll?

E.g. Pretty much anything except Vital Strike.

Absolutely not! I just really like casting shade on TWF. Lol. Melee characters have a rough go already, the entire game's movement and action system is archaic and rigid, and going through the hoops to TWF like on the movies just makes it worse than whatever Stephen Seagal movie you watched to get the dumb idea in the first place.

It's hard enough to build an effective 2H fighter, using strength, power attack and furious focus, charge smash, repeat. Simple as it gets, every other feat goes to correcting the terrible movement limitations of the game... And a fighter still doesn't have access to enough feats to actually move better than a quadriplegic.


VoodistMonk wrote:
TWF is a full round action as a penalty for being stupid and fighting with two weapons. That only happens in bad television.

Untrue. Some chinese Dao were constructed as a double set, with each hilt taking up half a full circle so the fit in one scabbard. Sai as well, though used more defensively for disarming, were also historically weilded in pairs. And fencers also use parrying daggers.

Dual weilding guns, is being stupid, and only happens in television, as it's been proven you really can't aim and focus on two targets with most traditional firearms, and the kickback ruins accuracy.


The sai was also traditionally used in the garden. The dao and butterfly swords are a fine example of swords designed to be used as a pair.

As far as the mechanics of the game are concerned, though. It has to have drawbacks associated with using two swords, otherwise there would be no reason to only carry one. Everyone would always choose twice as many attacks for twice the damage. But the fact remains that a rapier paired with a defensive dagger does not produce more damage than a Greatsword, nor is it easier to learn to fight with a pair of dao.

Any field hand who has chopped wood, even once, can pick up a Greatsword and understand immediately how to attack with it. That's why it's a total of two feats to master the use of. Same field hand picks up a pair of butterfly swords and he has a lot more he needs to learn. It takes longer, as in a full round action, because you have to pick out two targets in the same time the guy with the Greatsword has to pick out one. You have to keep track of two weapons instead of one. I mean that in the actual swing, in your attack, do you have room to swing two swords, make sure the one on the left doesn't hit your friend, make sure the one on the right doesn't hit the tree branch... It being a full round action makes perfect sense.


VoodistMonk wrote:

As far as the mechanics of the game are concerned, though. It has to have drawbacks associated with using two swords, otherwise there would be no reason to only carry one. Everyone would always choose twice as many attacks for twice the damage. But the fact remains that a rapier paired with a defensive dagger does not produce more damage than a Greatsword, nor is it easier to learn to fight with a pair of dao.

Any field hand who has chopped wood, even once, can pick up a Greatsword and understand immediately how to attack with it. That's why it's a total of two feats to master the use of. Same field hand picks up a pair of butterfly swords and he has a lot more he needs to learn. It takes longer, as in a full round action, because you have to pick out two targets in the same time the guy with the Greatsword has to pick out one. You have to keep track of two weapons instead of one. I mean that in the actual swing, in your attack, do you have room to swing two swords, make sure the one on the left doesn't hit your friend, make sure the one on the right doesn't hit the tree branch... It being a full round action makes perfect sense.

There are plenty of downsides though. Significant penalties (without feats), only being able to draw one weapon at a time (without feats), not having a free hand to use skill, items or spells. Plus there are beneficial off-hand items like shields, spell focuses, magic items etc. That you give up in exchange for two weapons. Plus, as you've pointed out, pretty much no double-light weapon combination equates to the damade of a two-handed weapon.

There are also single-weapon feats, and abilities that use a single attack, like cleave, which don't work eith two weapon fighting. Even spring attack, which feels like it should be prime with my rogue scenarios, specifies a single attack. There would still be plenty of reason to still use a single melee weapon, even if TWF's main attack was standard.

And fine and dandy as attacking two targets can be difficult, it doesn't apply to attacking one. A boxer is a prime example of a, by Pathfinder's system, two weapon fighter, who cannot even throw a one-two punch and back retreat. Many real-life dual weild styles employ a feint-into-attack strategy, using the first weapon to open defenses, and he second to strike, but doing that is a full-round action, locking them down. I'm not saying let two-weapon fighters all do combat maneuvers into attacks (without feats anyway), but it feels overly restrictive, when as I can point out, many of the things that so called "abuse it", by the game system don't really apply.

Now point of interest, Weapon Trick: Dual Strike exists, implying training into it. However, I do have 2 issues with it. The first is the prerequisite of Improved Vital Strike. Considering you cannot use vital strike at all with the ability, this makes it a tax feat which makes the requisite level for the ability 11th minimum, with 4 required feats. My second is for that same amount you can get all three two-weapon feats, and more, making the full attack actually worth while. Whether you're a two-weapon fighter, or vital strike character, Dual Strike is really a bad option, as by 11th you're generally going to be doing more full attacks anyway.

And I got on a small rant... My bad. TLDR version, in early levels, the full round action is a tax in my opinion, even if it would be stronger in some cases, and by late levels you've either gone down the full TWF road for the 6 attacks on full, or having 2 attacks on standard would be so trivial it wouldn't affect anything.


The problem isn't the full round action. The problems are absolutely the stupid movement rules. Everyone should be able to move and attack without feats, standard. If you want to move after your attack, make it a feat with no prerequisites. If you want to full attack on a charge, with the benefits of charging, make Pounce a feat with minor prerequisites. Dodge and Mobility shouldn't be prerequisites for anything, but you should be able to take them if you want their benefits. That solves a lot of issues right there.


VoodistMonk wrote:
The problem isn't the full round action. The problems are absolutely the stupid movement rules. Everyone should be able to move and attack without feats, standard. If you want to move after your attack, make it a feat with no prerequisites. If you want to full attack on a charge, with the benefits of charging, make Pounce a feat with minor prerequisites. Dodge and Mobility shouldn't be prerequisites for anything, but you should be able to take them if you want their benefits. That solves a lot of issues right there.

THANK YOU! Someone else who gets it!

Even so, spring attack can still be a feat cause it prevents AoO. But yeah, Dodge and Mobility feel a lot like tax feats. They're good in their own right, but they make a lot of, in my opinion, basic actions inaccessible until level 5-ish. Said basic actions should be doable with the penalty of an opportunity attack, and if you want mobility to lessen it, then it is a choice, not a necessity for play.


Seeing some misinformation and assumptions about the historical aspects of weapons and their use, here's a bit on that:

For anyone mentioning TWF is unfeasable. It is dumb in Pathfinder implementation but there has been use for it hitorically, albeit always niche. Examples include kali stick fighting in the philipines, sword and dagger dueling in Europe (for example, one of the reasons during the Flandes wars the british prefered to duel the spaniards to pistols), Miyamoto Musashi, chinese butterfly swords, sais, and a bunch of others.
The take home lesson from these is that they either used a side weapon as a defense/parry and execution tool or they are prominent in low armoured environments (duels, martial arts) and rather uncommon in battlefields.
Pathfinder penalises the use of different weapons when using WTF when it is inspired by styles that almost exclusively use different weapon combinations.

Furthermore just cause you cut wood with an axe doesnt make you good with a greatsword; probably one of the hardest swords to use without getting absolutely butchered if you are a rookie agaisnt a proficient opponent. It is not the reason for anything regarding feats or action time in Pathfinder, that is up to bad fantasy tropes handed down from d&d, literature and media. Do twf styles generally take more practice? Probably but depends on what you are comparing and be assured game designers didnt think of this very deeply (like how many arrows are we shooting a round again?).

I'm in total agreement that the issue here is the mobility, or lack of. I'd happily sacrifice sacred cows. However, I dont think pounce for everything is the solution, rather making Cleave, Vital Strike, Spring Attack, TWF as a standard action, and other stuff, be viable instead. Unchained revised action economy does this relatively well in the mid levels too.


Oh man, I am aware that dual wielding has had its place in history. I also know that in reality the greatsword is difficult to master.

This game makes 2H weapons as easy to master as chopping kindling, and when you need so many feats just to move in any capacity on the battlefield, TWF is significantly less appealing because of its silly prerequisites. So taking two feats to master the greatsword, and trying to get enough movement to well move is pretty much all even a fighter can afford.

Being any class that doesn't have a bonus feat at every level or gives you TWF feats without prerequisites is almost impossible to think about because you are completely stationary on the battlefield.


Errant Mercenary wrote:
I'm in total agreement that the issue here is the mobility, or lack of. I'd happily sacrifice sacred cows. However, I dont think pounce for everything is the solution, rather making Cleave, Vital Strike, Spring Attack, TWF as a standard action, and other stuff, be viable instead. Unchained revised action economy does this relatively well in the mid levels too.

I'll have to check out the revised action economy. Downside though, you have to get a whole table playing by Unchained rules, which can be harder on newer players.

And good lord yes, mobility is the issue. It's probably one of the stiffest things I find with Pathfinder, and is the first I bring up when talking about changes. I even brought up a whole other thread about it after all the arguement over natural attacks in this one (which as I proved, play by their own rules, which negated the arguement, yet it still went on...).

I digress though. Honestly, if I could move, make an attack, and keep moving, taking whatever penalties may be incurred, be is moving half-speed with Acrobatics, or taking an opportunity attack. Or with the stiff movement move, and make a full attack, or full attack kill an opponent and start off to join the rest of my combatants... I would be happy.

As it stands though, we cannot. And I find TWF overly penalized (like Touch-range spells and ranged attacks against creatures within 5 feet). I used Cleave as an example as it is the exception to the Full Attack rule "whenever you recieve extra attacks...it is a Full Round action". The opposite way on a power curve, I could compare Vital Strike as so.

Vital Strike: 2x Weapon dice for Standard

Two-Weapon Fighting: +1 Offhand attack at -2/4/8/10 (depending on feats/weapon) with main hand penalty of -2/4/6 for Full Attack

Cleave: +1 attack against adjacent foe on hit for Standard

Now thinking on it, maybe we're interpreting Cleave wrong. Perhaps RAI, Cleave is a Full Attack. Perhaps much like TWF, it needs to be declared you are using it, which is a standard action, implying like any itterative attack, you can change your mind, but if you take the extra attack, as Full Attack says, it's a full attack. Two-weapon fighting also needs to be declared before you make your first attack, and can be cancelled out of if you say, kill the target (which good lord I need to drill into my tablemates. We have two Two-Weapon fightees and they both keep rolling 2d20s at the same time and doing both attacks at once. Saves time but kills their options).

Also, this comparison is looking at all three on their own, certain optikns get more out of each option. 2x dice on a greatsword is enormously different than two light weapon attacks. Two sneak attacks on one target is different from a cleave sneak to one and flat to a second. There are benefits to all three, but for what it gives, TWF feels just that bit more restrictive, for seemingly no reason. Even if the off-hand attack used your swift action somehow, and later TWF feats were full, it would feel like a comfortable middle.


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For a fantasy game, TWF is numbing and stagnant. You suffer more in your imaginary character than you do in your mundane real life. Lol.

I still think Cleave should be always active on every standard attack once you have the feat. Declaring Cleave is pathetically nerfing.

Melee fighters need everything you can give them just to stay relevant. Give a dog a bone.

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