Two-weapon fighting vs two-handed fighting


General Discussion


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tl;dr- There's currently no reason to not use a two-handed weapon if you have the ability to.

One of the rules of combat is to not leave any hands empty, because it's just a waste. For mundane characters and in real life, this means either grabbing a two-handed weapon, holding a weapon in each hand, or going with the iconic sword and board look. Beyond that there's ranged combat and, since magic exists, things like the gish strategy of a weapon in one hand and reserving the other for magic. But it's those first three that I'm interested in.

Basically, with the changes to TWF and shields, I'm not convinced it's a good idea to ever not use a two-handed weapon, unless you need a free hand.

In 1e, there was balance between TWF and two-handed fighting because of damage dice. A typical TWF load would be something like 1d8+Str and 1d6+1/2 Str, while a typical THF would be closer to 2d6+1.5 Str. Especially if your main hand weapon is something like a rapier with a d6, that's literally the same expected damage. So using the Unchained Action Economy, damage/action is fairly even. Then with shields, I think it's notable that people typically use TWF. It amounts to spending an extra feat (Improved Shield Bash) in exchange for an extra +1 or +2 AC while using TWF (or more, with the right feats).

Meanwhile, in the Playtest, TWF no longer gives extra attacks. You get an extra attack before MAP kicks in, but you still have consistently lower damage dice. Throw in a shield, and you're down to two attacks per turn. All the damage you're doing in one turn is what someone with a two-handed weapon could deal with one action. And that's even using Fighter/Ranger feats. Without that, you even get the same MAP.

All of this is to say that one of two things needs to change- Either two-handed weapons need to be nerfed to deal d6s and d8s, or there needs to be a TWF feat that gives extra attacks/action if you're wielding two weapons. Otherwise, picking up a two-handed weapon is doubling or tripling your potential damage output with no trade-offs, and I'm not convinced there's currently any reason to do otherwise.


You're wrong, check the math threads.

Crits matter more than raw damage, and Double Slice facilitates the best crit ratio in the game.

The issue is tied to weapon damage dice scaling so much that you need to make sure you're using the correct weapon in order to max out damage.


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Marshmallow check your own math threads.

Do you mean these:
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2vbkc?Double-Slice-should-not-be-nerfed-plus-m ath#1
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2vbhy?-Power-Attack-is-almost-never-worth-it#1

Double slice is worse than attack with a two handed weapon.
Not to mention a two handed weapon is way better if you only have one action to attack, or if you need to use a hand to do something for a moment.

Two weapon fighting does need more benefits (if you aren't a rogue mc fighter, I think they're okay)


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I have a reason. Maybe I don't want to. I can do damage just fine with 2 weapons or using a 2-hander. Not everyone cares about doing max damage all the time. As long as it isn't bad it's fine. TWF is not bad by any means.


Rameth wrote:
I have a reason. Maybe I don't want to. I can do damage just fine with 2 weapons or using a 2-hander. Not everyone cares about doing max damage all the time. As long as it isn't bad it's fine. TWF is not bad by any means.

THIIIIS. This is one of the things I LOVE about PF2. Not everything may be optimal but it feels like almost anything is viable!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, let's start with the one thing I think we can pretty much all agree on: without feat investment, a two-handed weapon fighting style is objectively better for non-casters. Every other fighting style is reliant on feats to close the gap.

Right now, I feel double slice is in "close enough" range. This is going to come and go with different book releases that drop varying amounts of feat support. The bigger problem is that two-weapon fighting is basically class-locked by feat access. Right now double slice characters are effective at what they do, and there are bigger balance problems to address than fine tuning this one feat.

Speaking of bigger problems, let's talk about sword-and-board, which is in a sad, sad state. The problem is that spending an action just to raise your AC is usually a terrible idea. In my first few days with the system it looked like an interesting tradeoff; I would lose an attack that was probably going to miss anyways to gain a bit of AC. After some experience I've come to the opposite conclusion: the opportunity cost is so high that shields are almost never worth using. The problem with shields is that in any realistic scenario, a well-built character will always have something useful to do with all three of their actions. Being in a situation where you have the spare action to raise a shield is actually rare, and tends to indicate you have some problems with your build. Raising a shield when you could have done something productive instead is inherently a selfish decision, and hurts the party overall. The current feat support just isn't good enough to counteract this problem, and a result it makes a poor choice of equipment for the vast majority of characters.

Now if you had some way to actually aggro then the AC boost of shields could be useful, but we really don't. The closest thing to an aggro mechanic is the cleric's channel, which provides such plentiful and potent healing that smart enemies may well decide that their only recourse is to gang up on him first. That's GM-dependent behavior, though.


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Edge93 wrote:
Rameth wrote:
I have a reason. Maybe I don't want to. I can do damage just fine with 2 weapons or using a 2-hander. Not everyone cares about doing max damage all the time. As long as it isn't bad it's fine. TWF is not bad by any means.
THIIIIS. This is one of the things I LOVE about PF2. Not everything may be optimal but it feels like almost anything is viable!

I don't agree at all. PF2 heavily punishes anything that isn't on the strict math train, to the point that it doesn't even feel like a viable option. And doubled down by breaking flavor and utility stuff for no reason whatsoever, like unseen servant and alter self (now humanoid form, for whatever reason).


Dasrak wrote:
Now if you had some way to actually aggro then the AC boost of shields could be useful, but we really don't. The closest thing to an aggro mechanic is the cleric's channel

Mechanically, the closest thing is the Paladin's Retributive Strike. So all you need is to be able to use a Reach weapon to make the strike flexible enough to work, and enemies will be forced to target you. Then all you have to do is raise the shield that you can't use because your Reach weapon is two-handed...


Matthew Downie wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
Now if you had some way to actually aggro then the AC boost of shields could be useful, but we really don't. The closest thing to an aggro mechanic is the cleric's channel
Mechanically, the closest thing is the Paladin's Retributive Strike. So all you need is to be able to use a Reach weapon to make the strike flexible enough to work, and enemies will be forced to target you. Then all you have to do is raise the shield that you can't use because your Reach weapon is two-handed...

Use a Bo Staff, it has Parry. XD (Joking ofc)


master_marshmallow wrote:

You're wrong, check the math threads.

Crits matter more than raw damage, and Double Slice facilitates the best crit ratio in the game.

The issue is tied to weapon damage dice scaling so much that you need to make sure you're using the correct weapon in order to max out damage.

All numbers assume a fighter with max strength, and magic weapons as Doomsday Dawn. Monster consistently chosen at Lv-1

Level 1 v. Goblin Warrior (AC 14)- Greatsword +6 (1d12+4), Longsword +6 (1d8+4), Shortsword +6 (1d6+4). Three strikes with the greatsword is 15.225 damage, power attack plus a third strike is 15.7, and double slice plus a second strike with the longsword is 14.5

Level 4 v. Hyaenodon (AC 18)- +1 Greatsword +11 (2d12+4), +1 Longsword +11 (2d8+4), Shortsword +10 (1d6+4). Three strikes with the greatsword is 28.05 damage, power attack plus a third strike is 25.4, and double slice plus a second strike with the longsword is 20.95

Level 7 v. Manticore (AC 20)- +1 Greatsword +14 (2d12+4), +1 Longsword +14 (2d8+4), +1 Shortsword +14 (2d6+4). Three strikes with the greatsword is 31.45 damage, power attack plus a third strike is 28.6, and double slice plus a second strike with the longsword is 27.9

Level 9 v. Treant (AC 25)- +2 Greatsword +17 (3d12+4), +2 Longsword +17 (3d8+4), +1 Shortsword +16 (2d6+4). Three strikes with the greatsword is 32.9 damage, power attack plus a third strike is 27.525, and double slice plus a second strike with the longsword is 24.325

Level 12 v. Toad Demon (AC 28)- +3 Greatsword +22 (4d12+5), +3 Longsword +22 (4d8+5), +2 corrosive Shortsword +21 (3d6+5, +1d6 acid). Three strikes with the greatsword is 57.35 damage, power attack plus a third strike is 53.3, and double slice plus a second strike with the longsword is 45.35

Level 17 v. Rune Giant (AC 38)- +4 Greatsword +30 (5d12+6), +4 Shortsword +30 (5d6+6), +3 Shortsword +29 (4d6+6). Three strikes with the greatsword is 55.825 damage, power attack plus a third strike is 48.9, and double slice plus two weapon flurry and agile grace to get a second strike with each shortsword at MAP -6 is 49.2

It isn't insanely far off, but there's a noticeable drop in power if you use two weapons, not to mention the fact that you have to maintain two potency runes.


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I mean, in PF1 with the exception of specific builds, it was pretty much always a good idea to wield a 2h weapon for melee combat wasn't it? It takes one feat to fund an entire combat strategy, as opposed to alternatives which have steep feat and attribute prerequisites.

Wielding two weapons as the best way to deal scads of damage never sat well with me in the first place, just aesthetically.


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RazarTuk wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

You're wrong, check the math threads.

Crits matter more than raw damage, and Double Slice facilitates the best crit ratio in the game.

The issue is tied to weapon damage dice scaling so much that you need to make sure you're using the correct weapon in order to max out damage.

All numbers assume a fighter with max strength, and magic weapons as Doomsday Dawn. Monster consistently chosen at Lv-1

Level 1 v. Goblin Warrior (AC 14)- Greatsword +6 (1d12+4), Longsword +6 (1d8+4), Shortsword +6 (1d6+4). Three strikes with the greatsword is 15.225 damage, power attack plus a third strike is 15.7, and double slice plus a second strike with the longsword is 14.5

Level 4 v. Hyaenodon (AC 18)- +1 Greatsword +11 (2d12+4), +1 Longsword +11 (2d8+4), Shortsword +10 (1d6+4). Three strikes with the greatsword is 28.05 damage, power attack plus a third strike is 25.4, and double slice plus a second strike with the longsword is 20.95

Level 7 v. Manticore (AC 20)- +1 Greatsword +14 (2d12+4), +1 Longsword +14 (2d8+4), +1 Shortsword +14 (2d6+4). Three strikes with the greatsword is 31.45 damage, power attack plus a third strike is 28.6, and double slice plus a second strike with the longsword is 27.9

Level 9 v. Treant (AC 25)- +2 Greatsword +17 (3d12+4), +2 Longsword +17 (3d8+4), +1 Shortsword +16 (2d6+4). Three strikes with the greatsword is 32.9 damage, power attack plus a third strike is 27.525, and double slice plus a second strike with the longsword is 24.325

Level 12 v. Toad Demon (AC 28)- +3 Greatsword +22 (4d12+5), +3 Longsword +22 (4d8+5), +2 corrosive Shortsword +21 (3d6+5, +1d6 acid). Three strikes with the greatsword is 57.35 damage, power attack plus a third strike is 53.3, and double slice plus a second strike with the longsword is 45.35

Level 17 v. Rune Giant (AC 38)- +4 Greatsword +30 (5d12+6), +4 Shortsword +30 (5d6+6), +3 Shortsword +29 (4d6+6). Three strikes with the greatsword is 55.825 damage, power...

Important note unrelated to the DPR math, unlike in PF1 you actually do NOT have to keep up two potency runes. There's a level 3 item called Doubling Rings made just for this, it copies your Potency rune from the weapon in one hand to the other while you're wielding it. Greater Doubling Rings, a level 11 item, also copies Property runes. You do have to keep the quality of the second weapon high enough to handle the potency of the primary but that's minor.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dasrak wrote:
Shield stuff

I've found sword and board is quite good against mobs of enemies. Since AC is so damn hard to get any higher, the AC bonus is crazy good. I haven't found many uses for the third action if you are next to your foe that is better than a +2 ac boost and the shield block reaction. Have any examples? I know demoralize is quite good right now but if you would have to build for charisma and use your skill bonuses on intimidate to make it effective.


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Dire Ursus wrote:
I've found sword and board is quite good against mobs of enemies. Since AC is so damn hard to get any higher, the AC bonus is crazy good. I haven't found many uses for the third action if you are next to your foe that is better than a +2 ac boost and the shield block reaction. Have any examples? I know demoralize is quite good right now but if you would have to build for charisma and use your skill bonuses on intimidate to make it effective.

As boring as it sounds, movement is by far the most common one. AOO's aren't a thing for non-fighters, and that means you're often spending the first action of your turn running after the thing you want to be hitting. You also have a bit of action overhead at the start of combat: drawing weapons, opens, stances, and whatever else your character does. It can take a few round before combat "settles" to the point at which you're just spending all actions offensively.

Then you have feats. Pretty much every non-caster has at least a few good offensive feat options that lets them fully utilize their 3-action turn without being penalized too heavily by MAP. Certain Strike is probably the best of the bunch, but there are plenty of other great presses and buff abilities. Casters, of course, have spells and cantrips so they virtually never make more than one strike per round. And then you have multiclassing; 1-action abilities are far and away the best things to snag with multiclassing since they're easy to fit into your attack routine.

Now even with all this, the AC still has its merits. What really kills it is that you aren't guaranteed to actually benefit from it. You have the simple problem that enemies might not attack you. It's the same problem shield users had in PF1; yeah, you have great AC, but that just means the enemies save you for last. With AOO's having sharply limited distribution, this problem has actually gotten worse in many ways.


1.4's "double threat" feat does make TWF a tad bit better, but the improvement is so minute that it doesn't really matter. I feel like the Two Hand Assault feat makes a weapon like a Bastard Sword really fun, but why have it instead of a Greataxe unless your taking the "duelist" style feats or you're playing a gish. Weapon choices are just stale, and the sawtooth sabers are really lame, the idea of weapons MADE for TWF is neat, just poorly executed.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'll admit at first I was confused by the direction they were going with two-weapon fighting, but I kind of liked how double slice worked after I read it. However, as I considered it more, I did get to where I did not like at all that the use of two weapons basically got locked behind a feat. [although, I suppose in reality, to do well in PF1, it was hid behind a feat]

The specific thing I felt a little betrayed on was as followed. Why would anyone fight with two knives? [besides the special ability of double-slice to make two attacks at the same time as a single attack]

As things go with the current rules, a peasant with two knives would be wasting one of his hands. There is no benefit from the second knife in his second hand. I think it is reasonable that someone who isn't super skilled at combat (doesn't have a feat) might pick up two knives, and I don't think it is unreasonable for them to find it a little easier to get off a second strike with the second knife, compared to getting a second strike with the first knife.

Actually, there is a small benefit that one could get from picking up a knife and a club, perhaps. It would give the person the ability to choose between making a bludgeoning attack vs. a slashing attack. But holding two of the same weapons seems close to pointless.

What if a particular hand has not been used for any attack yet, you get to subtract -1 from any MAP you have. (min 0) In this example, if we had a species with 4 arms, carrying 4 daggers. The first attack would be using an otherwise unused hand, and would thus be (0-1) for a MAP of 0. Due to wielding an agile weapon the MAP would be +4, so the next attack would be (4-1) or at -3 to hit. The third hand/weapon/attack would be at (8-1) or -7 to hit potentially. Said creature wielding a two handed sword and two daggers would be at 0, -4, -8 to hit with the sword and two daggers. If using two two-handed swords, it would be 0,-4,-10 because the second attack with either of the two handed swords would both fail to qualify to reduce the applied map by 1, because a hand being used for it was already used already.

Perhaps, by default only allow the reduction by one if a weapon is considered agile. (since that seems like it is the term for former Light weapons) It would mean a four armed creature wouldn't be able to get a bonus from wielding a fresh pair of arms to wield a two handed weapon, but that's ok to me. [Don't see a lot of player races that have four arms just yet, though if we see Starfinder races come, we might eventually get some.]

This might give someone a reason, even without a feat, to wield 2 agile weapons and make two attacks, other than attack type flexibility, but isn't overwhelming in its bonus.


The style of fighting with two weapons has a certain advantage that you do not seem to notice. It is much better for build based on agility, especially for ranger and rouge. by building such a character, you can almost ignore your strength and invest everything in dexterity, constitution and wisdom.


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I kind of like how the most sensible featless twf is to fight with whatever in your main hand and an agile weapon in your second hand. Like Rapier+ Main Gauche is a plausible, realistic weapon combination that is encouraged in PF2 by the twf rules but was a bad idea in PF1.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I kind of like how the most sensible featless twf is to fight with whatever in your main hand and an agile weapon in your second hand. Like Rapier+ Main Gauche is a plausible, realistic weapon combination that is encouraged in PF2 by the twf rules but was a bad idea in PF1.

I also like the dwarven equivalent:

Dwarven waraxe, offhanding clan dagger.


Rameth wrote:
I have a reason. Maybe I don't want to. I can do damage just fine with 2 weapons or using a 2-hander. Not everyone cares about doing max damage all the time. As long as it isn't bad it's fine. TWF is not bad by any means.

Hard to agree with this, as there are no classes short of Fighters (and maybe Rangers) to incentivize two weapon fighting, because other classes have no support for it. 2/10 classes having it be viable makes it very niche, which means it most certainly isn't attractive by any means.

Even then, the support that does exist isn't very strong or compelling, either, so while the OP's claim of "two-handed weapons or GTFO" is false, that doesn't mean "TWF is awesomesauce and viable" is conversely true.


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RazarTuk wrote:
double slice plus two weapon flurry and agile grace to get a second strike with each shortsword at MAP -6

Two-weapon flurry and agile grace? But:

Two-Weapon Flurry wrote:
Requirements You are wielding two weapons, each in a different hand. Your multiple attack penalty with both weapons is –8 or worse.

Has this been changed?


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
2/10 classes having it be viable makes it very niche, which means it most certainly isn't attractive by any means.

Well, what percentage of classes in PF1 could be good at twf? It's probably not a lot of them. I count the fighter, ranger, slayer, vigilante, and perhaps the unchained rogue (though accuracy is going to be a problem) which is like 5/50. I guess you could also count the Brawler, except the Brawler can twf with one weapon so it's a weird case.


Ludovicus wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:
double slice plus two weapon flurry and agile grace to get a second strike with each shortsword at MAP -6

Two-weapon flurry and agile grace? But:

Two-Weapon Flurry wrote:
Requirements You are wielding two weapons, each in a different hand. Your multiple attack penalty with both weapons is –8 or worse.

Has this been changed?

Give me a bit to recalculate. I misread "or worse" as "greater than". Better and worse get confusing with penalties.

EDIT:

Switching back to a longsword in the main hand and adding the magic item to duplicate the +4 rune, 50.825 damage. Same strategy, but I used two weapon flurry to get two attacks in the third action.

And for reference, the confusion was that I initially interpreted "or worse" as meaning "closer to 0", not "farther from positive infinity".


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If something is viable then that means it is capable of working within the system. I can be almost any class and TWF and not really be worse off. Will I be optimal? No. But will I be able to kill the monsters? Yes.

The Alchemist, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Wizard don't even have access to anything other than d8 Weapons (with a few exceptions like Cleric Diety Weapon). Now is it somehow less viable for a Wizard to use two a Club and a Dagger for his backup melee weapon instead of a Staff? Or is a Druid somehow worse for using a Scimitar and a Sickle instead of just a Scimitar? No they are not.

Now the only other classes are Barbarian, Monk, Fighter, Paladin, and Ranger. The Fighter and Ranger support TWF in their class builds and the Monk can TWF with 2 Monk weapons and is still able to use most of their Monk abilities (though I would say Weapon Monks still need a little more love).

So the Barbarian and Paladin are the only classes that gain access to those hefty D10 and D12 weapons but don't get anything for TWF. So yes MAYBE it's not in their best interest to TWF but they can still get a d8 and a D6 and mix and match weapon traits for some nifty effects.

That means 2 classes are actually "worse" for TWF. So no TWF isn't as bad as the people keep making it out to be.


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Rameth wrote:

If something is viable then that means it is capable of working within the system. I can be almost any class and TWF and not really be worse off. Will I be optimal? No. But will I be able to kill the monsters? Yes.

The Alchemist, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Wizard don't even have access to anything other than d8 Weapons (with a few exceptions like Cleric Diety Weapon). Now is it somehow less viable for a Wizard to use two a Club and a Dagger for his backup melee weapon instead of a Staff? Or is a Druid somehow worse for using a Scimitar and a Sickle instead of just a Scimitar? No they are not.

Now the only other classes are Barbarian, Monk, Fighter, Paladin, and Ranger. The Fighter and Ranger support TWF in their class builds and the Monk can TWF with 2 Monk weapons and is still able to use most of their Monk abilities (though I would say Weapon Monks still need a little more love).

So the Barbarian and Paladin are the only classes that gain access to those hefty D10 and D12 weapons but don't get anything for TWF. So yes MAYBE it's not in their best interest to TWF but they can still get a d8 and a D6 and mix and match weapon traits for some nifty effects.

That means 2 classes are actually "worse" for TWF. So no TWF isn't as bad as the people keep making it out to be.

I mostly agree with this though there are a couple of nuances to address here:

Without certain concessions being met, of the 7 classes you listed as being able to TWF without being worse off 5 of those would be incapable of casting while being loaded out for TWF (in general TWF is dang hard for gishes) and another is unable to use any alchemical items, aka the kingpin of said class. That said there are some ways around this, with varying effectiveness.

The universal one is wielding a free hand weapon, namely Fist or Gauntlet. This one isn't great as those are on the weaker side of weapons but it works. (Martial free hand weapon when?)

Second is any ability to complete casting actions with a weapon-wielding hand. Any caster can do this by having a magic staff be one of their two weapons. Again not a great weapon but it does the thing. This doesn't work for spells with material casting actions though unless you're a Sorcerer, Wizard with Eschew Materials, or Cleric with Emblazon Symbol. Or a Bard who can other with their instrument. XD

Third is kind of a repeat, a Clefic with Emblazon Symbol can TWF with whatever they are proficient in.

The main problem with the above is that most of these options may not result in both weapons you wield being to where you have reason to use both at times instead of just one over the other. Though Morningstar and Gauntlet/Fist is a decent agile/non agile combo for attacking once with the stronger weapon and the rest with the agile one, and Dagger and Gauntlet/Fost covers all three damage types.

I bring all this up because while what you said about TWFing and not being penalized is mostly true, we do have to consider the opportunity cost of losing that free hand, especially for those who need it for key class features.

On a separate note I'm one who rather likes the TWF-augmenting feats being class-specific. Because from my understanding actual TWF is somewhat of a tricky style and is mainly used for the strike with one and parry with the other style or using one to make an opening for the other. So I think that to do TWF beyond the most basic (just having two weapons and using one or the other to strike at the same rate of fire as normal combat or to use an off-hand weapon that's built for defense aka party trait to block) should require special training. And I like this being class feats because it represents the specialty of that training. Fighters and Rangers naturally get access to this as it's in their line of work. But anyone who doesn't have other multi class plans can get the TWF boons with only one additional feat (Fighter Dedication, which itself provides some nice benefits). After taking that feat you can dedicate part of your training (more class feats) to picking up the specialized training of attack or defense with this style (Double Slice and Twin Parry). And I kinda like the idea that if you're already mukticlassing elsewhere you can't do this as soon, the idea that if you're already splitting off your training you can't really split your attention a third way to learn the specialized applications of this style.

That's just my take on it, I know mileage may vary.


As an aside, Beast Totem Barbarian with a Beast that gives jaw and claw (or a later added attack like the frog tongue) is pretty solid at TWF, having a strong primary weapon and a good secondary agile to make iterative a with, as well as being able to use Double Slice with Fighter MC to land two solid attacks, again the second is agile so no extra penalty.


Rameth wrote:

If something is viable then that means it is capable of working within the system. I can be almost any class and TWF and not really be worse off. Will I be optimal? No. But will I be able to kill the monsters? Yes.

The Alchemist, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Wizard don't even have access to anything other than d8 Weapons (with a few exceptions like Cleric Diety Weapon). Now is it somehow less viable for a Wizard to use two a Club and a Dagger for his backup melee weapon instead of a Staff? Or is a Druid somehow worse for using a Scimitar and a Sickle instead of just a Scimitar? No they are not.

Now the only other classes are Barbarian, Monk, Fighter, Paladin, and Ranger. The Fighter and Ranger support TWF in their class builds and the Monk can TWF with 2 Monk weapons and is still able to use most of their Monk abilities (though I would say Weapon Monks still need a little more love).

So the Barbarian and Paladin are the only classes that gain access to those hefty D10 and D12 weapons but don't get anything for TWF. So yes MAYBE it's not in their best interest to TWF but they can still get a d8 and a D6 and mix and match weapon traits for some nifty effects.

That means 2 classes are actually "worse" for TWF. So no TWF isn't as bad as the people keep making it out to be.

Yes it is, and your spellcaster examples are the reason why.

If I have two weapons out, I don't have any hands free to cast spells, or have any special focus items with which to fulfill somatic components. Spells are my most powerful feature. If I decide to use it (which I would, it's my main schtick after all), I have to either utilize a valid weapon, or drop one of my weapons to cast spells. Bad example is bad.

Non-spellcasters might benefit, but realistically there are weapon choices where having multiples are pointless, and certain features only apply once per TWF action, Sneak Attack in particular.

Weapon traits are just as you said; nifty. Being nifty isn't strong enough to lend itself to overcome two handed weapons, though. The only incentives to use two weapons are that A. You have features to make it viable or B. You just want to say you can do it. Not very strong reasons of persuasion outside of RPing, in which case you could also just be a pugilist too.


Does anyone know how much closer TWF would be if agile was a -2 instead of a -1?


WizardsBlade wrote:
Does anyone know how much closer TWF would be if agile was a -2 instead of a -1?

The problem is damage/action. First, Power Attack is a trap. It stops being useful as soon as you get magic weapons, especially at high levels where 5 extra damage dice at a -5 penalty are more useful than 2 extra dice at no penalty.

At any rate, the damage from both actions of Double Strike is comparable to your first Strike with a two-handed weapon. And admittedly, the damage from the third action is fairly negligible. The real problem is that second Strike with the two-handed weapon. It still tends to be fairly likely to hit, even if it only crits on a 20, so it adds a significant amount of damage. Consistently, the bulk of the extra damage from two-handed weapons comes from that second Strike.


Rameth wrote:
If something is viable then that means it is capable of working within the system. I can be almost any class and TWF and not really be worse off. Will I be optimal? No. But will I be able to kill the monsters? Yes.

As others have stated, some classes need a free hand to use their abilities such as Alchemy or Spellcasting.

But will you kill the monster? Sure. Will you kill it fast enough to not eat a crit? That's the bigger issue.


Mathematically, you calculate the 'weight' value of an attack based on it's chance to hit with a factor based on it's chance to crit.

Given the ratio of crits, you really need to talk about true optimization, which means considering the best possible combination of weapons. Swords are bar none the best, rapier + short sword seems good, but longsword + short sword are comparable if not the defacto best configuration. Sawtooth sabers factor in as well. It comes from the +5 to hit on secondary attacks which isn't beaten by any other feat, and the fact that you'll have a chance to inflict the flat footed condition on a crit which opens the crit range up for secondary attacks, and tertiary once agile grace comes online.

On mobile so forgive the format of this:

Primary attack: 15% crit range, yields secondary attacks at either 15% or 25% crit range, which in turn yields tertiary attacks with 5-10% crit chance, and guaranteed flat damage on all but a Nat 1. Longswords have the biggest base damage, rapier compares with deadly (unclear on if it's d8s or d6s), and sawtooth sabers give flat damage boosts which amplify thanks to better hit percentage.

Given said ratio, combining agile grace and certain strike on tertiary attacks gives you the best DPR in the game. There's a case I believe for the falchion, but it has worse crit chance overall with 3 actions.

The importance of the ability to crit more than once in a round more reliably cannot be overstated.

EDIT: Doubling Rings become available before you even get magic weapons, so the cost of magic weapons is a non factor for dpr consideration.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I kind of like how the most sensible featless twf is to fight with whatever in your main hand and an agile weapon in your second hand. Like Rapier+ Main Gauche is a plausible, realistic weapon combination that is encouraged in PF2 by the twf rules but was a bad idea in PF1.

Correct me if I am wrong, but generally speaking the primary reason people generally think of having using Two-Weapon fighting is to try to get extra attacks or have an advantage at taking an extra attack vs. someone with only one weapon.

With respect to this... the best way to have an advantage at taking an extra attack is to not use two-weapons, but just use the first weapon again... because it leaves you a free hand to be able to hold a shield, or cast spells, or preform a combat maneuver that requires a free hand.

That does change if you take a feat, but the only advantage you get with featless TWF at this point is versatility (or fault tolerance if your primary weapon breaks I guess)

Your rapier/main gauche example really only gives them the flexibility to 'parry' with the main gauche, to utilize its property. But a shield would potentially present a better defensive bonus.


Loreguard wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I kind of like how the most sensible featless twf is to fight with whatever in your main hand and an agile weapon in your second hand. Like Rapier+ Main Gauche is a plausible, realistic weapon combination that is encouraged in PF2 by the twf rules but was a bad idea in PF1.

Correct me if I am wrong, but generally speaking the primary reason people generally think of having using Two-Weapon fighting is to try to get extra attacks or have an advantage at taking an extra attack vs. someone with only one weapon.

With respect to this... the best way to have an advantage at taking an extra attack is to not use two-weapons, but just use the first weapon again... because it leaves you a free hand to be able to hold a shield, or cast spells, or preform a combat maneuver that requires a free hand.

That does change if you take a feat, but the only advantage you get with featless TWF at this point is versatility (or fault tolerance if your primary weapon breaks I guess)

Your rapier/main gauche example really only gives them the flexibility to 'parry' with the main gauche, to utilize its property. But a shield would potentially present a better defensive bonus.

A shield would present better defense but the idea here is to use the main gauche for attacks after the first to utilize the agile quality. Also it's nice if you don't have shield proficiency.

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