Wielding two weapons, but not Two Weapon Fighting


Rules Questions

Sczarni

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While designing a martial character and trying to decide whether I want to do one of the many tried and true fighting styles, I came across an idea. What if you have a long sword in one hand and a trident in the other? The idea is you never "Two Weapon Fight" and attack with both weapons at once, but rather, threaten all the squares with a reach and a non-reach weapon. And make wizards/archers LOATHE you in the early levels by attacking them with the non-reach weapon and having the reach weapon on standby when they 5-ft shift into an unfortunately threatened zone.

Is there some sort of ruling that would say that I get negatives or whatever? Not that my normal DM reads into rulings, but for me, I like to have the knowledge of my kosherness. Because I'm 85% certain that if you dual-wield, like short swords or whatever, and you run up to a guy and make a single attack...that you are not penalized for having a weapon in the other hand on this attack. The penalty kicks in when you attack with both weapons, and not with one weapon at a time.

Alright, so I re-checked the weapons and the trident doesn't have reach. A shame! But there's a third party feat that allows for 1 handed spears and whatever. Feat

So we'll say I took this feat and can have a ranseur in one hand and a sword in the other. Are there any penalties to holding two weapons and using only one at a time?


Crayfish Hora wrote:
So we'll say I took this feat and can have a ranseur in one hand and a sword in the other. Are there any penalties to holding two weapons and using only one at a time?

There are not. A shield is also a weapon and doesn't impact your attack bonus* - as long as you don't do two-weapon fighting with it.

*Tower shield and Weapon Finesse have their unique AB penalties for wearing a shield - which are not TWF related.

Quote:
Alright, so I re-checked the weapons and the trident doesn't have reach. A shame! But there's a third party feat that allows for 1 handed spears and whatever. Feat

In case you can't rely on 3pp: As a Medium sized creature you can always equip Small reach weapons. It results in a -2 penalty to AB for the reach weapon, but that's a fair price in my opinion.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In general, so long as you only attack with one weapon, it doesn't matter what you hold in the other hand. Be it a wand, a dagger ready to be thrown, or a backup weapon, or anything else. In the Pathfinder system, there is no penalty for using your off hand to wield a weapon. Personally, I (as a DM), may or may not be tempted to apply some sort of penalty. Say half strength bonus or double penalty or such, but that's all house ruling.

As for holding a reach weapon in the other hand.. The classic example is the whip. Or cheat and use a small sized weapon, which at one size category lower is considered a one handed weapon, but somehow manages to keep the same reach. Personally, I consider this the same thing as using a cheat code in a video game and bad sportsmanship, and would definitely house rule penalties for any player brazen enough to try to demand something like this, but might be talked into it with a cool enough backstory style persuasion...

Also, see the Titan Mauler archetype second level ability, Jotungrip

I remember something about a feat that lets you hold two handed weapons in one hand, but that may have been from a different system. 3.5, maybe...


1) No, there is no penalty. What your trying to do is fine.
2) In 3.5 a reach weapon had to be the correct size to grant a benefit, but that does not seem to be true in pathfinder for some reason.
3) There are a variety of weapons that do not have to be held. Monks and Brawlers can kick. Fighters and Barbarians can wear armor spikes, Dwarves can get attacks with helmets, Half-orcs can BITE, etc.

So, instead of trying to use a hobbit spear (1d6) at a penalty (-2) and a longsword (1d8), go with something like a Lucerne Hammer (1d12 with Reach) and some Armor Spikes (1d6, don't have to be held)

Edit: This magic item can bump the base damage of the spikes up to a d8, and causes 1d2 bleed.
Demonspike Pauldrons

Other Options would be:
Use a whip with the Improved Whip Mastery Feat

Use a Kusarigama though this one can be a bit shifty, so talk to your DM about how they think it works first.


Also, there is a Paizo feat that allows you to use a Polearm and a Shield. You can attack with a shield, and with some spikes they can be quite scary weapons. Usable by fighters at level 1.

Shield Brace

Darkwood Heavy Shield (No Armor check penalty)
Bashing

Also Net and Trident works...

Net Adept


there are no penalties for wielding 2 weapons. It is only when you attempt to get an extra attack that penalties incur.

That said, I doubt your original premise., at least as a raison d'etre. Few people play pvp, so usually it is a dm. And most mods, archers or wizards will have a screening force.

Even when they do not, taking a move and eating an aoo isn't usually that big a deal.

Finally, there are more generic that are more generally useful: such as extra movement, boots of striding and springing etc.

That said, play what you like, and have fun!


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Trident isn't a reach weapon.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Once your BAB reaches +6 you can attack with two weapons and still not be "Two-weapon Fighting". Just use one weapon for your primary attack and the other for your iterative.


Crayfish Hora wrote:
Is there some sort of ruling that would say that I get negatives or whatever? Not that my normal DM reads into rulings, but for me, I like to have the knowledge of my kosherness. Because I'm 85% certain that if you dual-wield, like short swords or whatever, and you run up to a guy and make a single attack...that you are not penalized for having a weapon in the other hand on this attack. The penalty kicks in when you attack with both weapons, and not with one weapon at a time.

The penalty kicks in when you try to get an extra attack by using TWF.

FAQ wrote:

Multiple Weapons, Extra Attacks, and Two-Weapon Fighting: If I have extra attacks from a high BAB, can I make attacks with different weapons and not incur a two-weapon fighting penalty?

Yes. Basically, you only incur TWF penalties if you are trying to get an extra attack per round.
Let's assume you're a 6th-level fighter (BAB +6/+1) holding a longsword in one hand and a light mace in the other. Your possible full attack combinations without using two-weapon fighting are:
(A) longsword at +6, longsword +1
(B) mace +6, mace +1
(C) longsword +6, mace +1
(D) mace +6, longsword +1
All of these combinations result in you making exactly two attacks, one at +6 and one at +1. You're not getting any extra attacks, therefore you're not using the two-weapon fighting rule, and therefore you're not taking any two-weapon fighting penalties.
If you have Quick Draw, you could even start the round wielding only one weapon, make your main attack with it, draw the second weapon as a free action after your first attack, and use that second weapon to make your iterative attack (an "iterative attack" is an informal term meaning "extra attacks you get from having a high BAB"). As long as you're properly using the BAB values for your iterative attacks, and as long as you're not exceeding the number of attacks per round granted by your BAB, you are not considered to be using two-weapon fighting, and therefore do not take any of the penalties for two-weapon fighting.
The two-weapon fighting option in the Core Rulebook specifically refers to getting an extra attack for using a second weapon in your offhand. In the above four examples, there is no extra attack, therefore you're not using two-weapon fighting.
Using the longsword/mace example, if you use two-weapon fighting you actually have fewer options than if you aren't. Your options are (ignoring the primary/off hand penalties):
(A') primary longsword at +6, primary longsword at +1, off hand mace at +6
(B') primary mace at +6, primary mace at +1, off hand longsword at +6
In other words, once you decide you're using two-weapon fighting to get that extra attack on your turn (which you have to decide before you take any attacks on your turn), that decision locks you in to the format of "my primary weapon gets my main attack and my iterative attack, and my off hand weapon only gets the extra attack, and I apply two-weapon fighting penalties."

Sczarni

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The small sized reach weapon is actually a very neat idea. My gaming group doesn't really wield oversized weapons or undersized for that matter, unless it involves guns. But all this information is great.


Sarissa and spiked gauntlet.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

you would incur the TWF penalty wielding two weapons whether you attack with them or not the wording on TWF is if you wield a second weapon in your offhand you may make a second attack. When fighting this way (a weapon in each hand) you suffer a -6 penalty to attack rolls whether you attack or not same goes if you wield a shield but wish to perform a shield bash with it ect ect.

see swashbuckler picaroon they have a archetype feature that gives them weapon finesse and two weapon fighting at level one for this reason when wielding a pistol/light weapon

also think if you attack with the longsword in your turn and later in the round try and attack with the reach weapon that counts as two weapon fighting as your attacking with weapon wielded in your offhand and as such penalties would apply to your longsword attack

thats my interpretation of the rule anyway

TLDR the main wording specifically calls out wielding not attacking as the source of the penalty the bonus attack is the benifet for wielding a second weaponand taking the penalty

Grand Lodge

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DanielBaker wrote:

you would incur the TWF penalty wielding two weapons whether you attack with them or not the wording on TWF is if you wield a second weapon in your offhand you may make a second attack. When fighting this way (a weapon in each hand) you suffer a -6 penalty to attack rolls whether you attack or not same goes if you wield a shield but wish to perform a shield bash with it ect ect.

see swashbuckler picaroon they have a archetype feature that gives them weapon finesse and two weapon fighting at level one for this reason when wielding a pistol/light weapon

also think if you attack with the longsword in your turn and later in the round try and attack with the reach weapon that counts as two weapon fighting as your attacking with weapon wielded in your offhand and as such penalties would apply to your longsword attack

thats my interpretation of the rule anyway

TLDR the main wording specifically calls out wielding not attacking as the source of the penalty the bonus attack is the benifet for wielding a second weaponand taking the penalty

This is objectively wrong. You only take the TWF penalty while taking the extra attack, not just for wielding 2 weapons. Read the FAQ posted above by Gisher for proof.


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DanielBaker wrote:

you would incur the TWF penalty wielding two weapons whether you attack with them or not the wording on TWF is if you wield a second weapon in your offhand you may make a second attack. When fighting this way (a weapon in each hand) you suffer a -6 penalty to attack rolls whether you attack or not same goes if you wield a shield but wish to perform a shield bash with it ect ect.

see swashbuckler picaroon they have a archetype feature that gives them weapon finesse and two weapon fighting at level one for this reason when wielding a pistol/light weapon

also think if you attack with the longsword in your turn and later in the round try and attack with the reach weapon that counts as two weapon fighting as your attacking with weapon wielded in your offhand and as such penalties would apply to your longsword attack

thats my interpretation of the rule anyway

TLDR the main wording specifically calls out wielding not attacking as the source of the penalty the bonus attack is the benifet for wielding a second weapon and taking the penalty

That is not correct. As I said in the post that led to the FAQ, and in the FAQ itself which backed what I said, the penalty is not for holding(wielding) a 2nd weapon. The penalty is for the extra attack.


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DanielBaker wrote:

you would incur the TWF penalty wielding two weapons whether you attack with them or not the wording on TWF is if you wield a second weapon in your offhand you may make a second attack. When fighting this way (a weapon in each hand) you suffer a -6 penalty to attack rolls whether you attack or not same goes if you wield a shield but wish to perform a shield bash with it ect ect.

see swashbuckler picaroon they have a archetype feature that gives them weapon finesse and two weapon fighting at level one for this reason when wielding a pistol/light weapon

also think if you attack with the longsword in your turn and later in the round try and attack with the reach weapon that counts as two weapon fighting as your attacking with weapon wielded in your offhand and as such penalties would apply to your longsword attack

thats my interpretation of the rule anyway

TLDR the main wording specifically calls out wielding not attacking as the source of the penalty the bonus attack is the benifet for wielding a second weaponand taking the penalty

Wield has no meaning in PF. Sometimes it means "attack with" (see Defending property), and sometimes it means "hold in hand" (see Slashing Grace). There is no way to know which definition is in play with any usage of the word, so you cannot base any argument on that word.


DanielBaker wrote:

you would incur the TWF penalty wielding two weapons whether you attack with them or not the wording on TWF is if you wield a second weapon in your offhand you may make a second attack. When fighting this way (a weapon in each hand) you suffer a -6 penalty to attack rolls whether you attack or not same goes if you wield a shield but wish to perform a shield bash with it ect ect.

see swashbuckler picaroon they have a archetype feature that gives them weapon finesse and two weapon fighting at level one for this reason when wielding a pistol/light weapon

also think if you attack with the longsword in your turn and later in the round try and attack with the reach weapon that counts as two weapon fighting as your attacking with weapon wielded in your offhand and as such penalties would apply to your longsword attack

thats my interpretation of the rule anyway

TLDR the main wording specifically calls out wielding not attacking as the source of the penalty the bonus attack is the benifet for wielding a second weaponand taking the penalty

As others have stated, this is not correct.

Think about it - this means that as soon as you put armor spikes on your armor (or your shield) you would incur TWF penalties. Not so.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
DanielBaker wrote:

you would incur the TWF penalty wielding two weapons whether you attack with them or not the wording on TWF is if you wield a second weapon in your offhand you may make a second attack. When fighting this way (a weapon in each hand) you suffer a -6 penalty to attack rolls whether you attack or not same goes if you wield a shield but wish to perform a shield bash with it ect ect.

see swashbuckler picaroon they have a archetype feature that gives them weapon finesse and two weapon fighting at level one for this reason when wielding a pistol/light weapon

also think if you attack with the longsword in your turn and later in the round try and attack with the reach weapon that counts as two weapon fighting as your attacking with weapon wielded in your offhand and as such penalties would apply to your longsword attack

thats my interpretation of the rule anyway

TLDR the main wording specifically calls out wielding not attacking as the source of the penalty the bonus attack is the benefit for wielding a second weapon and taking the penalty

As others have stated, this is not correct.

Think about it - this means that as soon as you put armor spikes on your armor (or your shield) you would incur TWF penalties. Not so.

Moreover the text in question also says may make another attack before going on to describe the penalties. No attack, the clause listed after the word may does not apply.


I've done a similar thing with a dwarf fighter. Dwarven Dorn Dergar and a boulder helmet.


Perfect Tommy wrote:
Sarissa and spiked gauntlet.

Sarissa and Armor Spikes!


Crayfish Hora wrote:

While designing a martial character and trying to decide whether I want to do one of the many tried and true fighting styles, I came across an idea. What if you have a long sword in one hand and a trident in the other? The idea is you never "Two Weapon Fight" and attack with both weapons at once, but rather, threaten all the squares with a reach and a non-reach weapon. And make wizards/archers LOATHE you in the early levels by attacking them with the non-reach weapon and having the reach weapon on standby when they 5-ft shift into an unfortunately threatened zone.

Is there some sort of ruling that would say that I get negatives or whatever? Not that my normal DM reads into rulings, but for me, I like to have the knowledge of my kosherness. Because I'm 85% certain that if you dual-wield, like short swords or whatever, and you run up to a guy and make a single attack...that you are not penalized for having a weapon in the other hand on this attack. The penalty kicks in when you attack with both weapons, and not with one weapon at a time.

Alright, so I re-checked the weapons and the trident doesn't have reach. A shame! But there's a third party feat that allows for 1 handed spears and whatever. Feat

So we'll say I took this feat and can have a ranseur in one hand and a sword in the other. Are there any penalties to holding two weapons and using only one at a time?

There is a Fighter Archetype: Phalanx Soldier. At level 3 they get the Class Ability to wield a Shield in 1 hand and a Pole Weapon in the other.

I was thinking it would be cool for a fighter like this to take Great Cleave, tenderizing everyone with Reach with his Lucerne Hammer or Horsechopper, and Shield Bashing everyone adjacent to him. I was thinking that if that character has Shield Slam, he would also be Bull Rushing everyone away from him, keeping them at Reach until they pushed their way past his 'Hammer, provoking an Attack of Opportunity, only to get 'Slammed away again.


Improved Shield Bash, Shield Brace, Shield Focus: A human fighter can manage at 1st. Bardiche [1d10, 19-20/x2, S] and a Darkwood Spiked Heavy Shield [1d6, x2, P].

If you don't mind being a dwarf, then you can ignore the above feats and just pick up a Dwarven Longaxe [1d12, x3 ,S, reach] or Dwarven Longhammer [2d6, x3, B, reach] and a dwarven boulder helmet [1d4, x2, B]. Using your Weapon Familiarity, those are martial weapons for a dwarf. You could take Shield Brace and Shield Focus though to use a shield and get +3 AC from it. ;)

EDIT: you could also use a human with Adoptive Parentage [dwarf] to get access to the dwarf weapons.

EDIT 2: If you want an amusing option, take brawler with the dwarf, then add Weapon Modifications [Versatile design [close]] to your weapons and add Weapon Adept feat. For 1000 gp and a feat you can now use brawlers flurry with pole arm and your helmet!!! [though I'm pretty sure the helmet should have been close to start with].

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