Is there a way to make two-weapon fighting work well?


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Slayers with heavy armor cannot use ranger combat style feats unless they have a very specific build...

That being said, dude doesn't sound optimized in general.


VoodistMonk wrote:
So yeah, I am all for a DPR Olympics of playable characters, but I have seen breakneck grappling True Strike Wizard builds that I would rather eat glass than play...

Hey, I remember that one! I guess that the main problem with such a contest is that people have very different ideas of "playable", and nobody has a reason to care for it when the sole objective is theoretical damage.

In addition to minimum values for saving throws and AC, some kind of mobility test, and a "Glass Cannon" test of being able to keep up the damage for two-three encounters per day...

I'd also want a minimum of four (effective) skill ranks per level, one maxed social skill, and probably one maxed utility skill or another way to uniquely contribute outside of combat.

And then you'd probably want to split the contest into maybe lv 6 and 11, to see how the same build fares at different levels.


Secret Wizard wrote:

Slayers with heavy armor cannot use ranger combat style feats unless they have a very specific build...

That being said, dude doesn't sound optimized in general.

I agree (He is also axe and board which may not be the best). He does get a lot of attacks and a bunch of sneak attack dice when he gets flanking (and they aren’t immune to precision damage) and starts next to the enemy but after that not much.


Might derail the thread, but slayers don’t have the ranger armor restriction.

Quote:
The slayer selects a ranger combat style (such as archery or two-weapon combat) and gains a combat feat from the first feat list of that style. He can choose feats from his selected combat style, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites

The slayer merely chooses a ranger combat style to select feats from, but gains access to those feats using his own mechanics and does not use the ranger mechanics to gain those feats.


Melkiador wrote:

Might derail the thread, but slayers don’t have the ranger armor restriction.

The slayer merely chooses a ranger combat style to select feats from, but gains access to those feats using his own mechanics and does not use the ranger mechanics to gain those feats.

Leaning into this derail, I believe the bold text is in reference to feat requirements though the overall language is tricky. The bold text is pulled directly from the ranger's combat style feature. However, the slayer talent is missing all of the text that includes restrictions and a liberal reading (probably RAW) suggests that not only can Slayers wear heavy armor, but they can also select multiple combat styles.

Throw in two levels of Snakebite Striker and modify a greatsword with the Versatile Design (Close) and you have some pretty good dpr though I don't know how this compares to the other builds. I've personally tried this and my Brawler/Slayer/Shadow Dancer was dominated during his first encounter and downed two of our party members.


Also this advanced talent exists without any extra text regarding heavy armor restrictions.

Quote:
Armored Marauder (Ex) (Chronicle of Legends pg. 6): Some elite slayers exchange leather and chain for plate when stalking prey. A slayer with this talent gains proficiency with heavy armor. In addition, the armor check penalty of any heavy armor the slayer wears is reduced by 1 for every 6 class levels he has.


Quote:
a liberal reading (probably RAW) suggests that not only can Slayers wear heavy armor, but they can also select multiple combat styles.
Slayers get a lot, but they won't get multiple combat styles by RAW:
Slayer Talents; Ranger Combat Style wrote:
Benefit: The slayer selects a ranger combat style (such as archery or two-weapon combat) and gains a combat feat from the first feat list of that style. He can choose feats from his selected combat style, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites. At 6th level, he may select this talent again and add the 6th-level ranger combat feats from his chosen style to the list. At 10th level, he may select this talent again and add the 10th-level ranger combat feats from his chosen style to the list.

IOW, he can take ST:RCS multiple times, but he'll only have one "chosen style". Not only that, the "again" phrasing indicates that multiple instances of ST:RCS must be taken to unlock upgrades. I.e., a 6th-level Slayer can't take ST:RCS for the first time to pick up, say, Improved Precise Shot or Manyshot. --But he could use the retraining rules (where permitted) to swap his taken-at-2nd Precise Shot for the Improved variety at 6th coincident with taking his second ST:RCS for Manyshot.

(It should be noted that vanilla Ranger can also do this too, for example at 10th having retrained to Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Two-Weapon Defense, and Two-Weapon Rend in his three combat-style slots).

Grand Lodge

Mr. Hebeme wrote:

I agree DPR is over rated (but can be fun). I currently play natural attacking totem skald and in the same party is a twf slayer dwarf with no face skills, low dex, and heavy armor.

In combat our effectiveness is similar (we both can put out a lot of damage under optimal conditions) but the versatility of having spells and social skills has made the skald way more valuable to the party. I’ve been able to contribute to the party in every encounter even when I can’t get all my attacks off. The same can’t be said for the optimized twf skald.

Tldr, make sure you can be effective outside of combat and when you can’t full attack.

Not everybody seeks the same thing from a session, so a thing being overrated or not is subjective. There's also to correctly identify where being versatile is useful, or when focusing on a single thing is better. Being versatile just for the sake of it is no good -> leads to risk doing nothing.


Slayers and Rangers do it best earliest, followed by vanilla Fighters by virtue of Shield Master. Slayer and Ranger also do it better when stat allocation is at a premium.


Two weapons fighting vigilant with morphic weapons...
At level 6, you get 2 attack at -2 and 3 at -5 (or -2 if you retrain or get to level 7)
That's a total of 5 attacks, each able to deal "pseudo sneak attacks" and bonus damage equal to half your level...
With 16 in Dex, that means:
+5/+5/+2/+2/+2 (possibly +5/+5/+5/+5/+5)
With 1d6+4+3d4 per hit
It's just that you have now "4" magic item to increase rather than 2 XD

And, because you get social talents and large amounts of skills, you are not useless out of battle.


I find myself liking Grandlounge's idea:

Slayer high crit weapon +shield + twf + itwf + bashing finish + shield master, along with opportunist

The nice thing about slayers is they get studied target and sneak attack, and can take heavy armor prof; nice thing about rangers is they get spell casting, which is pretty great. Neither has to worry about dex to qualify for feats, leaving me free to go with a two weapon build with a sword and shield set up.

I think I'm pretty close to a decision about whether it's better to do some more damage up close as a slayer, and hit somewhat more often due to studied target, or more versatility for my party as a spell caster. Also not sure whether combat style feats or slayer talents end up being more awesome?

J


My only hangup for ranger/slayer twf is whether I want to get shield master early or ignore dex requirements more.


Shield master comes at level 11, right? I mean you have to have a BAB of 11, so I don't think it can come any earlier than that. I think it's possible with both classes?


Ranger Style Feats can ignore prerequisites, and with the Weapon and Shield style they can choose Shield Master at level 6.

The dilemma is that this competes with ITWF, since you'd need to select that as a Ranger Style Feat to ignire the DEX prerequisites for that.

Sovereign Court

Artful Dodge is a thing, but that merely trades needing Dex to needing Int.


For a slayer or ranger, having a decent dex isn't a terrible thing. They're limited to medium armour when using those prereq-free feats. IMO beating the BAB prereqs is more important than beating the dex prereqs.


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Decent is one thing, 17 is another.

Having said that I think I agree with avr

If you go TWF stlye you're going something like: TWF, ITWF, TW-Rend.

At level 6 your attack routine is: W-2/S-2/W-7/S-7. Then at level 10 you get Rend for some extra damage once per round (probably). Remember that your shield has to be enhanced as a weapon and shield seperately, which is hugely expensive.

If you go W&S style you'l go something like: TWF, Shield Master, Bashing Finish.

At level 6 your attack routine is: W-2/S-0/W-7. So you have one less attack (at -7), but your shield attack is at -0 (+2 better than the TWF version). Aditionally your shield' defensive enhancement bonus counts as an offensive enhancement bonus, making this 50% cheaper than a regular weapon. At level 10 you take Bashing Finish and you get a free Shield Bash every time you land a Crit with your main-hand weapon (pick a high crit-range weapon).

Essentially you're chosing between increasing your chance to hit & your damage with your shield, or a low-chance bonus attack with your shield.


I was just sharing an idea for a 2 weapon fighting build that probably works pretty well.


If using the Ranger Combat Style feats, you absolutely choose TWF, Shield Master, and Bashing Finish...

It's pretty easy to start with decent enough stats (assuming you aren't retarded with your point buy) to pick up Improved TWF with the help of a good belt.

Improved Shield Bash is nice to keep your AC from the shield.

Double Slice is a necessity, and prerequisite for Two Weapon Rend.

Now you are fighting with two weapons and it should work well.

It can be done. And done quite well, honestly.

Is it possible at level one like Longspear + Power Attack + Combat Reflexes? No.

But UnRogue/UnNinja Knifemaster/Scout with a dependable flanking buddy is going to be doing well at level 4...

Grand Lodge

VoodistMonk wrote:
But UnRogue/UnNinja Knifemaster/Scout with a dependable flanking buddy is going to be doing well at level 4...

I would replace dependable by unreliable.

There's no guarantee that someone else will provide the flank and endanger self during the process, I'm often seeing players requesting the rogue being able to do sneak alone first, before asking.


MrCharisma wrote:

Ranger Style Feats can ignore prerequisites, and with the Weapon and Shield style they can choose Shield Master at level 6.

The dilemma is that this competes with ITWF, since you'd need to select that as a Ranger Style Feat to ignire the DEX prerequisites for that.

ITWF is overrated. (By the time you get it, you already have or are nearing acquisition of Boots of Speed, and your -5 off-hand iterative attack will be the fifth one in a full-attack sequence. Most things you can unload a full-attack on should already be dead after the fourth.)


Philippe Lam wrote:
VoodistMonk wrote:
But UnRogue/UnNinja Knifemaster/Scout with a dependable flanking buddy is going to be doing well at level 4...

I would replace dependable by unreliable.

There's no guarantee that someone else will provide the flank and endanger self during the process, I'm often seeing players requesting the rogue being able to do sneak alone first, before asking.

Sure, there is no guarantee that your team will provide you with a flanking buddy... but flanking benefits the Fighter, too.

Flanking is a sound tactic and is a preferred method for most melee combatants.

The Rogue is not asking for anything special when she asks the Fighter to be mindful of positioning.

Hey, buddy, can you just go ahead and take that free 5-foot step and possibly position yourself on the other side of the enemy, opposite of me?

The Rogue is PROBABLY going before the Fighter, so she charges out there and delivers a Sneak Attack.

The Fighter is probably going to charge anyways, so he might as well run up on the opposite side of the enemy the Rogue just hit. Pow.

Now the same enemy has been hit with a Sneak Attack and the Fighter's charge, and they are surrounded on two sides... pretty much guaranteed death if they don't withdraw.

Melee combat is dangerous, if you are a martial character, you have volunteered for these dangers... might as well work as a team in an effort to get through the danger as quickly and efficiently as possible.


Slim Jim wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:

Ranger Style Feats can ignore prerequisites, and with the Weapon and Shield style they can choose Shield Master at level 6.

The dilemma is that this competes with ITWF, since you'd need to select that as a Ranger Style Feat to ignire the DEX prerequisites for that.

ITWF is overrated. (By the time you get it, you already have or are nearing acquisition of Boots of Speed, and your -5 off-hand iterative attack will be the fifth one in a full-attack sequence. Most things you can unload a full-attack on should already be dead after the fourth.)

kinda disagree; really, at that point TWF is bad, but ITWF is relevant.

Because switching to TWF hurts your accuracy on every attack, the first offhand attack needs a reasonable hittable AC just to break even, where the iterative offhand is a pure damage boost once you are in a two weapon full attack. Commonly you’ll see a 4-8% damage boost from TWF in your “TWF+haste” scenario and another 10-15% from ITWF.

Grand Lodge

VoodistMonk wrote:


Sure, there is no guarantee that your team will provide you with a flanking buddy... but flanking benefits the Fighter, too.

Flanking is a sound tactic and is a preferred method for most melee combatants.

The Rogue is not asking for anything special when she asks the Fighter to be mindful of positioning.

Hey, buddy, can you just go ahead and take that free 5-foot step and possibly position yourself on the other side of the enemy, opposite of me?

The Rogue is PROBABLY going before the Fighter, so she charges out there and delivers a Sneak Attack.

The Fighter is probably going to charge anyways, so he might as well run up on the opposite side of the enemy the Rogue just hit. Pow.

Now the same enemy has been hit with a Sneak Attack and the Fighter's charge, and they are surrounded on two sides... pretty much guaranteed death if they don't withdraw.

Melee combat is dangerous, if you are a martial character, you have volunteered for these dangers... might as well work as a team in an effort to get through the danger as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The rogue is inherently asking for something which benefits the class way more than it would benefit the fighter. The rogue gets sneak, the fighter only gets a +2 to hit. Nope, if I play a fighter I largely prefer taking the safer position.

Can't always be assumed there's a favourable position for flanking, or even worse, trying to flank makes the characters exposed. I've seen enough players focusing too much on offence abilities to the point that lack of resilience means they can't even try to attack in the first place.


This thread is useless without dual-wielding pistols of the infinite sky.

Grand Lodge

17 dex is no big deal on a 20 point buy. You get to 15 and buy an ioun stone. You do have to buy an iounstone but your are enchanting a weapon for free, can double +1 shield enchantment into +1 weapon ones, then stack something like menacing on your shield spikes. Beyond that you are upgrading a shield while someone with out one has to buy an amulet or ring at twice the price per +1, so you are still a head in gold.


Shield spikes are enchanted separately and do not count with Shield Master, to my knowledge.

It is possible that they all interact at the same time, taking the highest applicable enchantment bonus, but I am not sure.

Having Bashing on the shield, and shield spikes provides nothing extra, so similar interactions can be expected to also provide nothing extra.

Do additional weapon enchantments cost the weapon price on a Shield Master's shield?

Say a Shield Master has a +5 shield, it counts as a +5 weapon, but at half price...

Throw spikes on it, sure, changes the damage die and type...

If you want to make the spikes +1 (Keen), does it cost +1 or +6 price?

Where do the interactions between Shield Master and enchanted spikes begin/end?

It says that you use the shield enchantment bonus as the weapon enchantment bonus, it actually says nothing about taking the higher of any bonuses given...

So a Shield Master with a +1 shield, with +5 shield spikes, only gets a +1 bonus...


Quote:
Add your shield's enhancement bonus to attacks and damage rolls made with the shield as if it was a weapon enhancement bonus.
Quote:
Bonus Types: Usually, a bonus has a type that indicates how the spell grants the bonus. The important aspect of bonus types is that two bonuses of the same type don't generally stack. With the exception of dodge bonuses, most circumstance bonuses, and racial bonuses, only the better bonus of a given type works (see Combining Magical Effects).


blahpers wrote:
This thread is useless without dual-wielding pistols of the infinite sky.
...so long as it's understood that most characters don't have 146,600gp petty cash burning a hole in their pockets....
Pistol of the Infinite Sky wrote:

Price 73,300 gp

An infinity symbol is engraved on both sides of this +5 pistol’s mother of pearl grip, and the barrel is adorned with gold depicting the moon, planets, and stars against a night sky of the pistol’s cold black steel. This pistol never needs to be reloaded. After one shot is fired, a bullet and powder magically appear in the chamber. This ammunition never suffers a misfire.

Given that the RAW doesn't specify that it "magically appear"s the same ammunition and powder that were just fired (i.e., you're getting back ordinary powder and ammo instead of the awesome sauce you just shot), you don't appear to be getting your money's worth out of the extra 21,300gp you're paying for this +5 pistol as opposed to a generic +5 weapon.

Also, the no-misfires clause applies only to the ammunition the gun magically supplies; use anything else, and you're apparently subject to misfire chances again where applicable.


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Pistol of the Infinite Sky? I though everyone stopped using that after Shadowshooting and Shadowcraft weapons became aviable - a +1 shadowshooting reliable pistol for 19300 (or a +1 reliable shadowcraft pistol for 21300 with cheaper cost for other enchantments) does the same job. YOu don't need a high enhancement bonus for hitting (thanks to touch AC) or DR (thanks to Clustered Shots), anyway. I'd much rather have a +1 distance reliable shadowcraft pistol (worth 31.3k) than a PotIS!

MrCharisma wrote:

If you go W&S style you'l go something like: TWF, Shield Master, Bashing Finish.

At level 6 your attack routine is: W-2/S-0/W-7. So you have one less attack (at -7), but your shield attack is at -0 (+2 better than the TWF version).

There are TWF builds with a shiled that don't use two shields? You don't even need the TWF feat with Shield Master!


Philippe Lam wrote:
VoodistMonk wrote:
But UnRogue/UnNinja Knifemaster/Scout with a dependable flanking buddy is going to be doing well at level 4...

I would replace dependable by unreliable.

There's no guarantee that someone else will provide the flank and endanger self during the process, I'm often seeing players requesting the rogue being able to do sneak alone first, before asking.

Play ratfolk and take the feat Scurrying Swarmer.

As long as there is at least 1 other melee class in the group you are good.

Not only do you get flanking as long as you share their space, you count them as having the same teamwork feats you do, e.g. Outflank will work for you even if your teammates don't take it.

Derklord wrote:
There are TWF builds with a shiled that don't use two shields? You don't even need the TWF feat with Shield Master!

Some people prefer not getting stuck with a 20/x2 crit profile.

A few of those people also know there are ways to get rid of the TWF penalty.


MrCharisma wrote:

Ranger Style Feats can ignore prerequisites, and with the Weapon and Shield style they can choose Shield Master at level 6.

The dilemma is that this competes with ITWF, since you'd need to select that as a Ranger Style Feat to ignore the DEX prerequisites for that.

I want to make sure I understand your point here. The ranger style would either be two-weapon combat or weapon and shield. The first doesn't include Shield Mastery, and the second only includes two-weapon fighting.

So either I need to have improved dex to later take ITWF, or wait until level 11 and take shield bash, depending on the style I pick. Is this what you were saying?

J


Derklord wrote:
Pistol of the Infinite Sky? I though everyone stopped using that after Shadowshooting and Shadowcraft weapons became aviable - a +1 shadowshooting reliable pistol for 19300 (or a +1 reliable shadowcraft pistol for 21300 with cheaper cost for other enchantments) does the same job. YOu don't need a high enhancement bonus for hitting (thanks to touch AC) or DR (thanks to Clustered Shots), anyway. I'd much rather have a +1 distance reliable shadowcraft pistol (worth 31.3k) than a PotIS!

What can I say? I appreciate the classics.

Quote:
MrCharisma wrote:

If you go W&S style you'l go something like: TWF, Shield Master, Bashing Finish.

At level 6 your attack routine is: W-2/S-0/W-7. So you have one less attack (at -7), but your shield attack is at -0 (+2 better than the TWF version).

There are TWF builds with a shiled that don't use two shields? You don't even need the TWF feat with Shield Master!

Right? I was surprised about this one.


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Well, you know where shield bashing came from? Tika, from Dragonlance!

J


Found this post by Sean K Reynolds about keen weapons, crit ranges, and what it means. He points out it's not quite as great as we tend to think, even if keen and improved critical did stack. Sorry I don't know how to make the link live:

http://seankreynolds.com/rpgfiles/rants/keen_medium.html


JDawg75 wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:

Ranger Style Feats can ignore prerequisites, and with the Weapon and Shield style they can choose Shield Master at level 6.

The dilemma is that this competes with ITWF, since you'd need to select that as a Ranger Style Feat to ignore the DEX prerequisites for that.

I want to make sure I understand your point here. The ranger style would either be two-weapon combat or weapon and shield. The first doesn't include Shield Mastery, and the second only includes two-weapon fighting.

So either I need to have improved dex to later take ITWF, or wait until level 11 and take shield bash, depending on the style I pick. Is this what you were saying?
J

No.

If you go with the TWF style you'd take Improved Shield Bash as a regular feat, not one of your bonus feats. The difference is that you wouldn't get SHIELD MASTER till level 11.

If you go with W&S style you'd get Shield Master at level 6 (that's 5 levels early). There are two advantages with this feat: One is that you get a +2 to all your shield bash attacks (as they don't take the TWF penalty), and the other advantage is that you count your defensive enhancement bonus as an offensive bonus (this is probably +1 to hit & damage when you take the feat at level 6, and it'll get better over time). With this build you never plan on taking ITWF (so you don't need DEX at all), but after level 10 you'll get extra Shield attacks from BASHING FINISH. In the very long term this is probably slightly weaker than going with TWF style, but until you can get all the feats from both styles this is almkst certainly stronger.

EDIT: If you go W&S style you really want a high crit-range weapon.


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JDawg75 wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:

Ranger Style Feats can ignore prerequisites, and with the Weapon and Shield style they can choose Shield Master at level 6.

The dilemma is that this competes with ITWF, since you'd need to select that as a Ranger Style Feat to ignore the DEX prerequisites for that.

I want to make sure I understand your point here. The ranger style would either be two-weapon combat or weapon and shield. The first doesn't include Shield Mastery, and the second only includes two-weapon fighting.

So either I need to have improved dex to later take ITWF, or wait until level 11 and take shield bash, depending on the style I pick. Is this what you were saying?

J

This is the crux of the dilemma, yes.


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Overcoming low stats with money is a lot easier than overcoming annoying tax-feats.

So: take Weapon and Shield style for Shield Master, and just spend gold upgrading your Belt of Incredible Dexterity to meets the 'reqs of Improved TWF. (You should have plenty by the time 7th-level rolls around.)

MrCharisma wrote:
If you go with W&S style you'd get Shield Master at level 6 (that's 5 levels early). There are two advantages with this feat: One is that you get a +2 to all your shield bash attacks (as they don't take the TWF penalty), and the other advantage is that you count your defensive enhancement bonus as an offensive bonus (this is probably +1 to hit & damage when you take the feat at level 6, and it'll get better over time).

More importantly, it comes at a low enough level that you can still be getting by at 5th with just a masterwork weapon as your main tool (i.e., you're not wasting money on expensive magical gear you'll later sell for half-price). Then, upon acquiring Shield Master, you up-end your piggy bank for a 9000gp +3 shield (that doubles as a weapon) and are immediately better than everyone else with an 8000gp +2 weapon and a 1000gp +1 shield, and have a considerable chunk of AC and weapon expenses compressed into a single item. (It's even better if you then jump ship into Brawler to flurry with your "close" weapon-group shield while needing only one of them and being eligible to Martial Flexibility in Improved Two Weapon Fighting for a second iterative -- meaning you don't to take either TWF or ITWF in your regular feat-slots.)

06 Slayer6 [talent:ranger style:sword and shield:Shield Master]
08 Brawler2 [flurry=TWF, but need only one weapon][MFlex for ITWF]


ITWF is okay but ultimately unnecessary.

For example, UnRogues get a huge boost from TWF but a small bump from ITWF.


I guess it depends on how well I can hit, it the -5 for the extra attack would be worth it. I have a killer archer sanctified slayer build that has multiple attacks, and the last one is at a -5. I hit with it maybe half the time.

I don't know much about Brawlers, so I'll have to research that.


Slim Jim wrote:

06 Slayer6 [talent:ranger style:sword and shield:Shield Master]

08 Brawler2 [flurry=TWF, but need only one weapon][MFlex for ITWF]

...the one annoyance here is, of course, that you're restricted to light armor while flurrying as a brawler -- so if your idea for avoiding bring MAD in point-buy involves trashing dex and wearing plate, then you'll neither be able to flurry nor qualify for the feats without onerous belt expenses.


Slim Jim wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:

06 Slayer6 [talent:ranger style:sword and shield:Shield Master]

08 Brawler2 [flurry=TWF, but need only one weapon][MFlex for ITWF]
...the one annoyance here is, of course, that you're restricted to light armor while flurrying as a brawler -- so if your idea for avoiding bring MAD in point-buy involves trashing dex and wearing plate, then you'll neither be able to flurry nor qualify for the feats without onerous belt expenses.

As far as I'm aware only the Bonus AC class feature of the Brawler requires light armor (or Mithral Medium). Maybe that was a rule during the playtest?


Yes, Brawler can flurry in any kind of armor. Sohei is the one who can only flurry in light armor.

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