Two-Weapon Fighting, Multiple attacks through high BAB, and Choice


Rules Questions

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Weirdo wrote:
Making an off hand attack (with an off hand weapon) is incompatible with wielding a weapon in two hands, even if you free up the physical hand, per armour spikes FAQ. So you can attack the caster first with the kukri but you cannot get bonus damage from two-handing the longsword. I think someone referenced a Dev comment saying that the off hand is only occupied for the number of attacks you make with your off hand weapon and you could two-hand your last iterative(s) with the longsword, but that's not RAW.

Wellllllll.... for the sake of accuracy, I feel compelled to point out that, based on my discussion with the Devs, you "technically" can TWF using a 2-h weapon and an off-hand... but it is incredibly involved and complex and not nearly how most people think you can do it so they said, as a general rule of thumb, just boil it down to "you can't". However, for those interested...

Each time you attack with a weapon wielded in two hands (either a 2-h weapon or a 1-h weapon in 2 hands), it "eats" your next potential off-hand attack. So if you had GTWF (3 off-hands) and made 2 attacks with a Longsword wielded in 2 hands, you have your last off-hand remaining so you could make an off-hand attack at BAB-10 (you "lost" your BAB and BAB-5 off-hands that round). Conversely, if you make an off-hand attack, you acquire a "main-hand debt" and make a number of main-hand attacks one-handed equal to the number of off-hand attacks you made. So say you have 1 off-hand and 3 iteratives. You make your first off-hand as your first attack and then are obligated to make your first main-hand attack one-handed. However, since you are now out of off-hand attacks to make, you are free to two-hand your main-hand weapon for the remaining 2 iterative attacks.


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Given that Paizo first made a widely-hated ruling about free actions, and then nerfed weapon cords in order to deal with the problem of TWF pistoleros (1) when an interpretation of the rules that interleaved primary and off-hand attacks would have sufficed... I really don't think they intend that primary and off-hand attacks to necessarily be interleaved.

(1) They made all their attacks with one hand, reloading with the other, then switched -- it was important that they could do the whole routine with each hand before switching because they recovered the gun as a swift action.

Shadow Lodge

Thanks for the link, I was on my phone and copy-paste wasn't working.

I am ambivalent about the armour spikes FAQ but wanted to point out that while attacking with your off hand weapon first can be a tactical advantage, it doesn't by the current official rules (of which FAQ is a part) allow you to start two-handing halfway through the attack sequence. This is relevant if anyone is worried about the effect it will have on gameplay.

threemilechild, good point on RAI for interleaving, though I personally think the weapon cord needed to be tweaked anyway given how cheap and effective it is as a defense against disarming.

Kazaan wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Making an off hand attack (with an off hand weapon) is incompatible with wielding a weapon in two hands, even if you free up the physical hand, per armour spikes FAQ. So you can attack the caster first with the kukri but you cannot get bonus damage from two-handing the longsword. I think someone referenced a Dev comment saying that the off hand is only occupied for the number of attacks you make with your off hand weapon and you could two-hand your last iterative(s) with the longsword, but that's not RAW.
Wellllllll.... for the sake of accuracy, I feel compelled to point out that, based on my discussion with the Devs, you "technically" can TWF using a 2-h weapon and an off-hand... but it is incredibly involved and complex and not nearly how most people think you can do it so they said, as a general rule of thumb, just boil it down to "you can't". However, for those interested...

Thanks for the details, but I did indeed raise that point; see bold. The idea intrigued me when you mentioned it earlier. I would allow it in my game assuming it didn't slow down play too much.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Don't worry. There is no RAW to support that FAQ. It was specifically noted that it was based off of "unwritten rules" by Developers.

Yes there is. If you used all your regular attacks to attack with a 2h weapon then you can't make extra off-hand attacks, with any weapon. If you did, you'd be getting an unfair adavantage over regular TWF by being able to use a 2h weapon in place of a one-handed weapon as your main hand attack, with probably better damage, an extra 1/2 STR bonus to damage and whatever other bonuses 2h weapons have over one-handed weapons.

This is not something they pulled out of their... shoes, it's something that should have been written since D&D 3.0, it's a detail that never got explicetly written and now they are finally doing so, so there is basis in the context of the rules we already know for it.

It's not as if they wrote on the FAQ "From now on, dwarfs have burrow speed".

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Kchaka wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Don't worry. There is no RAW to support that FAQ. It was specifically noted that it was based off of "unwritten rules" by Developers.

Yes there is. If you used all your regular attacks to attack with a 2h weapon then you can't make extra off-hand attacks, with any weapon. If you did, you'd be getting an unfair adavantage over regular TWF by being able to use a 2h weapon in place of a one-handed weapon as your main hand attack, with probably better damage, an extra 1/2 STR bonus to damage and whatever other bonuses 2h weapons have over one-handed weapons.

This is not something they pulled out of their... shoes, it's something that should have been written since D&D 3.0, it's a detail that never got explicetly written and now they are finally doing so, so there is basis in the context of the rules we already know for it.

It's not as if they wrote on the FAQ "From now on, dwarfs have burrow speed".

Nope. Based off unwritten rules. See here.

Note that two weapon fighting has the exact same wording in 3.5, and it was noted explicitly, to work.

There was a 3.5 FAQ, and everything. Oh, and a number of the guys working for Wizards back then, work for Paizo now.

So, yes, pulled out of their "shoes", with "unwritten rules" as their reason.


What you want is a quote from a official book saying specifically something like "you can't make off-hand attacks if you have already used your regular attacks to attack with a 2h weapon".

It's true, there is no such specific official quote, but what I could do is quote Every Single Rule About Two-Weapon-Fighting, Two-Handed Weapons, One-Handed Weapons, Light Weapons, etc, and if you read and understand most of it, it should be clear, in the rules, why you can't attack like that. It's as clear as a US$ 10,00 bottled water.

So, no, they did not pull that out of the blue, this rule was already there, in the context of rules as a whole, just not explicitly written. You can say it's based on unwritten rules, but you can't say the FAQ is not supported by RAW, it's the opposit, that FAQ IS supported by RAW, just not explicitly.


Kchaka wrote:

What you want is a quote from a official book saying specifically something like "you can't make off-hand attacks if you have already used your regular attacks to attack with a 2h weapon".

It's true, there is no such specific official quote, but what I could do is quote Every Single Rule About Two-Weapon-Fighting, Two-Handed Weapons, One-Handed Weapons, Light Weapons, etc, and if you read and understand most of it, it should be clear, in the rules, why you can't attack like that. It's as clear as a US$ 10,00 bottled water.

So, no, they did not pull that out of the blue, this rule was already there, in the context of rules as a whole, just not explicitly written. You can say it's based on unwritten rules, but you can't say the FAQ is not supported by RAW, it's the opposit, that FAQ IS supported by RAW, just not explicitly.

That's basically the problem people have; they can't distinguish the difference between RAW/RAI from the difference between explicit/implicit. They conflate Explicit with meaning RAW in the same way people conflate "attractiveness" with "appearance" when considering the Charisma ability score. Just because it isn't explicit doesn't mean it isn't written. Implicit meaning relies on what is actually written, it's just written in an implicit manner rather than an explicit manner. It isn't explicitly written, "A dead character cannot take actions" but it is implied because a dead character takes on the unconscious condition and an unconscious character cannot take actions. Likewise, while it isn't explicitly written that making an attack with a weapon wielded in two hands (either a 2-h weapon or a 1-h in 2 hands) subsumes an off-hand attack, it is fully implied by how the various TWF rules are written. The only thing the FAQ did was take the implicit message of those rules and explicitly state it for the benefit of those who failed to grasp the implied rule. By "unwritten", what the Devs really meant was "implied"... they just used a term that they felt wouldn't be so hard to understand; "implication" might not be in the functional vocabulary of the intended audience.


I understand why there is confusion, however the rules are actually quite simple:

Quote:
If you get multiple attacks because your base attack bonus is high enough, you must make the attacks in order from highest bonus to lowest. If you are using two weapons, you can strike with either weapon first.

Thus:

1) The attacks you gain from having a high BAB must be taken in a high to low order. This is the only requirement in the rules, and does not apply to any other type of extra attack.
Note that while Improved Two Weapon Fighting has a prerequisite of +6 BAB and allows an additional attack at a -5 penalty, this is not a BAB-granted extra attack - it just happens to have similar resulting numbers. If it had a prerequisite of +8 BAB and granted an additional attack at a -7 penalty, would this be easier to see?

2) If you're using <more than your simple iterative based attack(s)>, you can strike with <any of these weapons> first.
Yes, this means you can mix and switch up all of your attacks, as long as you obey 1). You can even insert offhand and natural attacks between your BAB based iterative attacks, and if you really wanted to, could make these extra attacks in any attack bonus order. There are some forum comments suggesting that once you start attacking with a weapon, you must perform all its attacks before moving on to another, but the rules don't actually cover this directly.

3) Concerning use of two-handed weapons during full attacks: it gets a little murky here, but generally when you use a two-handed weapon you consume one use of your main hand attack(s) and one use of your offhand attack(s). There's a thread somewhere where someone from paizo talks about this, although my explanation is derived from his comments, not a direct quote. (actually, blackbloodtroll posted the link above)

I also suggest reading this thread:
Two-weapon-fighting with a two-handed weapon and a weapon that does not require hands


Kazaan wrote:
By "unwritten", what the Devs really meant was "implied"...

What they meant was what they said. If it was truely meant to be implied, then it does an extremely poor job of it as the 3.5 devs read those same rules and came to the a conclusion contrary to what you think it say/implies.

Since this new implication is #1 different than the previous offical reading and #2 not written anywhere but just an agreed to assumption by the current devs, the term unwritten rule sounds like a perfectly valid way of describing it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Kchaka wrote:

What you want is a quote from a official book saying specifically something like "you can't make off-hand attacks if you have already used your regular attacks to attack with a 2h weapon".

It's true, there is no such specific official quote, but what I could do is quote Every Single Rule About Two-Weapon-Fighting, Two-Handed Weapons, One-Handed Weapons, Light Weapons, etc, and if you read and understand most of it, it should be clear, in the rules, why you can't attack like that. It's as clear as a US$ 10,00 bottled water.

So, no, they did not pull that out of the blue, this rule was already there, in the context of rules as a whole, just not explicitly written. You can say it's based on unwritten rules, but you can't say the FAQ is not supported by RAW, it's the opposit, that FAQ IS supported by RAW, just not explicitly.

No. The text is exactly the same in 3.5, and it was a valid combo.

See here, Page 53.

You can download it here, as well.

Same wording. Some of the same developers. New ruling.

Why new ruling?

"Unwritten Rules".


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Kchaka wrote:

What you want is a quote from a official book saying specifically something like "you can't make off-hand attacks if you have already used your regular attacks to attack with a 2h weapon".

It's true, there is no such specific official quote, but what I could do is quote Every Single Rule About Two-Weapon-Fighting, Two-Handed Weapons, One-Handed Weapons, Light Weapons, etc, and if you read and understand most of it, it should be clear, in the rules, why you can't attack like that. It's as clear as a US$ 10,00 bottled water.

So, no, they did not pull that out of the blue, this rule was already there, in the context of rules as a whole, just not explicitly written. You can say it's based on unwritten rules, but you can't say the FAQ is not supported by RAW, it's the opposit, that FAQ IS supported by RAW, just not explicitly.

No. The text is exactly the same in 3.5, and it was a valid combo.

See here, Page 53.

You can download it here, as well.

Same wording. Some of the same developers. New ruling.

Why new ruling?

"Unwritten Rules".

Actually it has happened before, PFRPG is backwards compatible with 3.5 but doesn't flow the same FAQs, there have been multiple cases of same text but not same "results" in the "new" game. The moment it happened once, any and all previous standing "rulings" were tossed out the window to be fair.

3.5 had absolutely nothing to do with PFRPG as far was what did or didn't work.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I show the evidence.

Developers explicitly noting it was "unwritten rules".

Still, no matter what, I am told that I, and so many before me, made these up.

The rules are written there. They just happen to be hidden between the lines, and only the "smart" players see them.

Including the "smart" players, who had a very different opinion before.

I can't read these "unwritten rules" between the lines.

I am not the augur, who knows the future of rules change, and cannot summon the invisible words within the rules, to spell out all that is hidden to me.

I cannot blind myself to the past, crushing my ears, and pretend that it was always this way.

So, forgive me, if I am nauseated by these revelations.


I'm not saying I'm any smarter than you, I'm pointing out the fact that there have been numerous reversals or changes from 3.5 to PFRPG with the copy pasted backward compatible rules. Pathfinder at its core is a compiled set of house rules that the Paizo crew published. Once they said "no it doesn't work that way anymore" the first time, everything that was remotely a "very area" was open to be interpreted differently. No 3.5 FAQ or ruling was valid anymore.

I will also say you are probably overreacting to the fact that things don't work the way they did just because the previous editions FAQ said they did. RAI, implication, "unwritten rules" are all the same. You don't like it, we get that, I seriously doubt you get ill over it. And if you do, I would think this game is the least of your worries.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Maybe, just the "it was always clearly evident" stance makes me truly ill.

The smug, matter-of-factly assertion, that not only was it always considered RAW, but it was silly to have ever thought otherwise.

That self-righteous crap drives me nuts.

This is not simple online ranting. I have clearly stated my opinion on the matter, whenever it has come up, at any game. Be it home, PFS, convention, or otherwise.

I will follow it. I will never acknowledge it as written rules though.

Only as a FAQ, that, should be noted as it really is... Errata.


We are aware of your opinion on this topic, BBG.

You inform us of it at every opportunity.

You frequently open threads that, intentionally or not, create opportunities to inform us again.

Which is why you end up in these discussions so often.

You can post that you hate "unwritten rules" as much as you like.

Just be aware that others opinions are just as valid and they are free to post them as often as they like as well. And they will.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I am aware there are other valid opinions, but the assertion that said opinion/s are the only valid opinion/s, immediately invalidates anything that was stated.

My opinion is not the only valid opinion, except in the case, that there cannot be only one.

As with law, it can be interpreted differently, and different rulings, can greatly change how a law works, even though the language never changed.

Who knows? This might change too.

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