Why does two handing a weapon make you even weaker?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


So I just noticed since you add 1.5*str modifier to your weapon when you two hand it compared to when you just one hand it...

If you have 7 str you go from -2 for you bonus to damage with a longsword in one hand, to -3 bonus to damage with a longsword in both hands. I'm confused. Is your swing less powerful because you used two hands to try and support the weight of the weapon?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's Strength bonus, not modifier.

Liberty's Edge

Chemlack, bonus and modifier are typically interchangeable, hence the confusion. Ultimately, for good sense, I'd leave it at -2, as you're right -3 makes no sense. The rule is not written with weak characters in mind.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'll take SKR's word on it.


A bonus is positive, a modifier is either positive or negative. If it states bonus, as such...

Strength (Str) wrote:
Damage rolls when using a melee weapon or a thrown weapon, including a sling. (Exceptions: Off-hand attacks receive only half the character's Strength bonus, while two-handed attacks receive 1–1/2 times the Strength bonus. A Strength penalty, but not a bonus, applies to attacks made with a bow that is not a composite bow.)

...then the penalty is not increased by 50%.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Chemlak and Cerberus nailed it.


So this is about the differences between bonuses and penalties. Bonuses multiply, penalties...usually don't, right?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not really. It's because when the rules talk about a "bonus", it refers to a positive modifier (+0 or greater), when the rules refer to a "penalty", it means a negative modifier (technically +0 or lower), and when the rules mention a "modifier", it means any modifier, whether positive or negative.

For the rule to function the way the OP thought, it would need to say "multiply the Strength modifier by 1.5". It doesn't.


Chemlak wrote:
I'll take SKR's word on it.

Well, except that the sentence in question was not written by SKR, or anyone else on Paizo's payroll, for that matter.

I think it should only be a -2, Tweet probably didn't include an exception for characters with less than 10 strength because he didn't expect people with low strength to be making a lot of melee attack rolls (aside from touch spells, which can't be two-handed anyways).


Maybe go the other way then? That is . . .

STR: 14 +2 = +3 with power attack.
Str 7 -2 = -1 with power attack.


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137ben wrote:


Well, except that the sentence in question was not written by SKR, or anyone else on Paizo's payroll, for that matter.

Uh... what? The link Chemlak provided leads to this post.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

It says "bonus," not "modifier," so it never drops below +0.

(I've done my best to hammer the writers into saying "bonus" when they mean "it's always going to be +0 or better," or when using "modifier" has the possibility of making no sense, such as "you can use this a number of times per day equal to your Charisma modifier," which would mean you could have negative uses per day. So trust whether it says "bonus" or "modifier" to mean exactly that. :))

If you weren't aware, SKR refers to Sean K Reynolds. The man who I just quoted who said that a bonus never drops below +0, like I just bolded.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Or you could simply understand that you cannot power attack with a strength of 7. You have to have a strength of at least 13 to activate power attack, period.

Shadow Lodge

Tempestorm wrote:
Or you could simply understand that you cannot power attack with a strength of 7. You have to have a strength of at least 13 to activate power attack, period.

Power attack =/= two handing a weapon.

Getting the damage bonuses and attack penalties of Power Attack takes a feat and Str 13.

Wielding a weapon in two hands (and getting 1.5xStr instead of Str to damage) only requires a non-light melee weapon.


Ipslore the Red wrote:
137ben wrote:


Well, except that the sentence in question was not written by SKR, or anyone else on Paizo's payroll, for that matter.

Uh... what? The link Chemlak provided leads to this post.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

It says "bonus," not "modifier," so it never drops below +0.

(I've done my best to hammer the writers into saying "bonus" when they mean "it's always going to be +0 or better," or when using "modifier" has the possibility of making no sense, such as "you can use this a number of times per day equal to your Charisma modifier," which would mean you could have negative uses per day. So trust whether it says "bonus" or "modifier" to mean exactly that. :))

If you weren't aware, SKR refers to Sean K Reynolds. The man who I just quoted who said that a bonus never drops below +0, like I just bolded.

Uh, yes, I know who SKR is. He also didn't write the rule being referred to in the OP:

rules for strength, CRB and PHB wrote:
(Exceptions: Off-hand attacks receive only half the character's Strength bonus, while two-handed attacks receive 1–1/2 times the Strength bonus. A Strength penalty, but not a bonus, applies to attacks made with a bow that is not a composite bow.)

Linking to a forum post by someone who didn't write a particular rule doesn't explain what that rule says.

Now, if you want to talk about interpreting rules SKR wrote, then by all means, link to the author's own interpretation!
If you want to talk about a rule that Johnathon Tweet wrote, SKR doesn't have anything beyond one reader's interpretation. Which, as I said, is an interpretation I agree with. But that's all it is.


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TIL: Every rule in the book is A.) Worked on by a single person B.) Is signed by that person (so we know exactly who worked on it) and C.) Dev input clarifying an already clear rule is worthless.


Bonus is a positive number.
Penalty is a negative number.
Modifier is the number whether it is positive or negative.

If you add 1 1/2 times your strength BONUS to something, you only do so if it is positive (see above: bonuses are positive).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ninijo wrote:

So I just noticed since you add 1.5*str modifier to your weapon when you two hand it compared to when you just one hand it...

If you have 7 str you go from -2 for you bonus to damage with a longsword in one hand, to -3 bonus to damage with a longsword in both hands. I'm confused. Is your swing less powerful because you used two hands to try and support the weight of the weapon?

Why would you be trying to be a two handed fighter with 7 str? odds are you're encumbered just from trying to carry those two weapons?


LazarX wrote:
Ninijo wrote:

So I just noticed since you add 1.5*str modifier to your weapon when you two hand it compared to when you just one hand it...

If you have 7 str you go from -2 for you bonus to damage with a longsword in one hand, to -3 bonus to damage with a longsword in both hands. I'm confused. Is your swing less powerful because you used two hands to try and support the weight of the weapon?

Why would you be trying to be a two handed fighter with 7 str? odds are you're encumbered just from trying to carry those two weapons?

The OP is talking about wielding one weapon with two hands--there is no second weapon involved. You are correct on the general point, namely, that the designers probably didn't expect many melee combatants to have less than 10 strength.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
137ben wrote:
Chemlak wrote:
I'll take SKR's word on it.

Well, except that the sentence in question was not written by SKR, or anyone else on Paizo's payroll, for that matter.

I think it should only be a -2, Tweet probably didn't include an exception for characters with less than 10 strength because he didn't expect people with low strength to be making a lot of melee attack rolls (aside from touch spells, which can't be two-handed anyways).

So, if I'm reading this right, you're saying that because Jonathan Tweet wrote the word bonus, he didn't know if he meant modifier or bonus or the difference between the two in the game rules? And that even if he did mean "modifier", the fact that we're talking about Pathfinder and we have a Pathfinder designer on record as saying "bonus means positive modifier" that in this case the terminology used is ambiguous?

I'm... yep, I'm at a loss for words.


Chemlak wrote:
So, if I'm reading this right, you're saying that because Jonathan Tweet wrote the word bonus, he didn't know if he meant modifier or bonus or the difference between the two in the game rules?

Huh? How could you possibly get that from anything I wrote? Did you even read it?

AFAIK, the rules don't make a distinction between "strength bonus" and "strength
modifier". "bonus means positive" isn't part of the rules AFAIK (and if it is, please point out where it says that to me:) )

SKR specified that he tells his writers to use "bonus" to only mean positive, so I think it is safe to assume that any rule written by SKR or someone working under him will only use "bonus" to mean "positive bonus".

The rule being discussed in this thread is neither of those, though--it was not written by SKR, or anyone on Paizo's payroll, or even in a project that SKR was connected to. His interpretation of a rule that he didn't write is just that--an interpretation by a reader.

Once again, it is an interpretation I agree with.

I'm still not sure what it is you are trying to get at...

Lantern Lodge

It's kinda of implied...

Does it make sense to have a -2 bonus to your dexterity? No, the word bonus means Bonus means: "something welcome and often unexpected that accompanies and enhances something that is itself good" (second definition from Google, first one referred only to money).

Second, game terms are as such:

PH wrote:
Penalty: Penalties are numerical values that are subtracted from a check or statistical score. Penalties do not have a type and most penalties stack with one another
PH wrote:
Bonus: Bonuses are numerical values that are added to checks and statistical scores. Most bonuses have a type, and as a general rule, bonuses of the same type are not cumulative (do not “stack”)—only the greater bonus granted applies.

The key words here are ADDED and SUBTRACTED. Bonuses are ADDED, therefore they are positive.

quote=PH Glossary]Ability Score Bonuses
Some spells and abilities increase your ability scores. Ability score increases with a duration of 1 day or less give only temporary bonuses. For every two points of increase to a single ability, apply a +1 bonus to the skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability.

Here, it clearly implies that bonuses are positive.

Finally, there is NO WHERE in the rules where bonuses apply to anything negative. The word Penalty is used instead, or modifier.

Lantern Lodge

So, to connect dots:

Bonuses cannot be negative.
Multiplying a bonus of 0 = 0, no matter what you multiply by
Therefore, you cannot be penalized for using a weapon with two hands.

Silver Crusade

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According to the 3.0 PHB, written by Jonathan Tweet, in the glossary starting on p.275:-

Bonus: A positive modifier to a die roll.

Penalty: A negative modifier to a die roll.

Modifier: Any bonus or penalty applying to a die roll. A positive modifier is a bonus, and a negative modifier is a penalty.

On p.119, under the heading 'Damage-Wielding a weapon two-handed':-

'...you add one and one half times your Strength bonus'.

On p.117, in the 'Combat Basics' full page sidebar:-

'...If you're wielding a weapon with both hands, add one and a half times your Strength modifier to the damage (if it's a bonus).'

So the d20 game engine has consistently used this way of calculating Str bonus/modifier to weapon damage.

Incidentally, even though Mr. Tweet wrote the 3.0 PHB, SKR wrote the 'Powerplay' bits of advice mixed among Skip Williams' Sage Advice at the back of the book.

This whole issue isn't even in doubt.


Under Ability Scores under Generating a Character

PRD wrote:

Determine Bonuses

Each ability, after changes made because of race, has a modifier ranging from –5 to +5. ... The modifier is the number you apply to the die roll when your character tries to do something related to that ability. You also use the modifier with some numbers that aren't die rolls. A positive modifier is called a bonus, and a negative modifier is called a penalty.


I'll second the suggested houserule that two-handing a weapon halves the strength penalty associated with it.


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I stand corrected. Y'all are right:)
And I'm glad you are right, since that makes a lot more sense.


137ben wrote:
Chemlak wrote:
So, if I'm reading this right, you're saying that because Jonathan Tweet wrote the word bonus, he didn't know if he meant modifier or bonus or the difference between the two in the game rules?

Huh? How could you possibly get that from anything I wrote? Did you even read it?

AFAIK, the rules don't make a distinction between "strength bonus" and "strength
modifier". "bonus means positive" isn't part of the rules AFAIK (and if it is, please point out where it says that to me:) )

SKR specified that he tells his writers to use "bonus" to only mean positive, so I think it is safe to assume that any rule written by SKR or someone working under him will only use "bonus" to mean "positive bonus".

The rule being discussed in this thread is neither of those, though--it was not written by SKR, or anyone on Paizo's payroll, or even in a project that SKR was connected to. His interpretation of a rule that he didn't write is just that--an interpretation by a reader.

Once again, it is an interpretation I agree with.

I'm still not sure what it is you are trying to get at...

If it's in Pathfinder, it's been written by pathfinder staff. *Some* rules happen to be the same than in 3.5. Even *most* rules. But every rule in the PF corebook, is written by the PF staff. If SKR(or whoever wrote that part) was thinking about using a negative modifier to be increased with 2h combat, he would had used "modifier", instead of "bonus", because that's his interpretation of what "bonus" means.

The fact that Tweet wrote it before isn't relevant, because every rule was revised to be added into pathfinder. If SKR would had wanted it to be used with negative modifiers, he would had changed the word "bonus" to the word "modifier". He choosed to keep the word "bonus", for a reason

Shadow Lodge

Thread Title wrote:
Why does two handing a weapon make you even weaker?
Because you have a 7 Strength and shouldn't be in melee, and two-handing a weapon that gets Strength to damage makes you look like a fool compared to the 7 Strength wizard who just literally bent reality?
Tempestorm wrote:
Or you could simply understand that you cannot power attack with a strength of 7. You have to have a strength of at least 13 to activate power attack, period.
Wanna Bet?:
Ranger wrote:
Two-Handed Weapon: If the ranger selects two-handed weapon style, he can choose from the following list whenever he gains a combat style feat: Cleave, Power Attack, Pushing Assault, and Shield of Swings.

Emphasis mine.

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