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


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Seems to me everyone tends to say 'nope, it sucks, don't do it.'

If so, did Paizo do this intentionally? If not, what's a good way? Ranger? The fighter archetype? Slayer? Thunder and Fang fighting style?

J


I like Thunder and Fang. I like the idea of taking Shield Slam, Greater Bull Rush, and Paired Opportunist. If you get a Flanking buddy, you can loop shield-bash-bull-rushes for as long as your combat reflexes hold out!


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A lot of ways to make it work. All you need a lot of baseline damage, and either of these two a) an incentive towards having high DEX, or b) a way to avoid high DEX.

For example, Unchained Rogues gain a monstrous amount of damage by going with TWF, since Sneak Attack is so large. UnRogues get DEX to damage, so they have an incentive towards it.

Fighters get a good boost out of it for sure, but the output between a Fighter that simply TWFs, and a Fighter that TWFs with Gloves of Dueling and Trained Grace is quite large. Gotta optimize it like this to be effective.
Between Trained Grace and Armor Training, Fighters can give really good use to good DEX.

Slayers also get good use of TWF, because they ignore DEX requirements and can just bank on STR.

Grand Lodge

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Slayer high crit weapon +shield + twf + itwf + bashing finish + shield master

All your normal twf attacks. When you crit you get a free shield bash. Shield master means enchanting your second for free. Eventually you get oppertinist for an other attack.


To my mind TWF has 3 major drawbacks when compared to a Greatsword with Power Attack

1. It requires 2 stats - STR and DEX. The way to get around this is to get DEX to damage (U-Rogue) or ignore the DEX prerequisites (Ranger/Slayer).

2. It requires more feats. Any class with bonus feats gets around this. Even the Combat Trick Rogue Talent helps here.

3. Lower damage. Even with bonus feats and ignoring prerequisites, the way STR and Power Attack scale means that you're still doing the same damage as the greatsword guy. Greatsword = 2d6+(STR×1.5). 2 shortswords = 1d6+STR + 1D6+(STR×0.5). This means after spending all those feats you're doing the same damage - probably less if you couldn't get around the need for STR and DEX. So the last thing you need is a bonus source of damage (Sneak Attack/Favoured Enemy/Smite Evil/etc). There are a lot of classes that have something here, so take your pick.

There are also other problems (enchanting 2 weapons costs more, moving and attacking hurts you more, accuracy boosts help a lot), but If you can get at least 2 of those covered you can make it work. If not you're going to have a bad time.

There are other ways to make the most of it (eg. butterfly sting with your scythe buddy), but those tend to be very specific builds.

(Looking at my list I agree that Slayers look like prime candidates)


Crit-fishing build: make a Warpriest that fights with twin kukris. They will do Sacred Weapon Damage instead of 1d4 for starters.

Make the Warpriest a Divine Commander and take Outflank or Seize the Moment. Join a flanking buddy party member in generating attacks of opportunity through your crits. Take Improved Crit when you can and maybe one of those evil Crit Mastery Feats like Blinding Critical.

Grand Lodge

I agree with Mr charisma but there are a few things missing in my estimation.

Classes with a lot of feats. There are fewer feats to enhance the damage of power attack builds.

THF eventually is take much larger penalties to attack -1 attack is equal to -2 damage on mast builds. Though at low levels you suffer worse penalties.

Like I said above getting to use a shield mean spending money more efficiently on AC. If a THF build wants to use a shield they have to spend feats evening the cost slightly.

You can still take power attack and thf you light weapon. The damage die is worse but it's less susceptible to hardness and Dr having more damage on fewer attacks.

Enchanting two weapons is, for the levels most people play, being one point behind in attack and damage. And in my above build you actually endup with better weapons than A THF build with equal AC.


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If by "work well" you mean "equal the performance of a two-handed fighter", the answer is "it probably can't."

But if by "work well" you mean "have flavor and good versatility while also dishing out acceptable damage so I don't feel like I'm dragging the team down" then the answer is "definitely."


JiaYou wrote:
If by "work well" you mean "equal the performance of a two-handed fighter", the answer is "it probably can't."

It can, this is kind of what I was getting at in my post above.

If you're getting bonus damage per attack, then the more attacks you do the better. A 10th level Ranger getting +6 to hit and damage from Favoured enemy is almost certainly going to do better if built for TWF than for 1 big weapon. A Paladin smiting can be getting +10 damage per hit at the same level (although bonus feats and stat prerequisites are harder). A 10th level Rogue gets +5d6 (~17.5) bonus damage per hit when flanking, so the more hits the better.

The problem is you need a bunch of things that the big weapon guy doesn't. If you can get those things you're golden.

Grand Lodge

Brawlers Flurry is a great option as is magus spell combat. Both lets you do two-weapon fighting with just one weapon. Brawlers kan even do it with a shield in the other hand.

Possible brawler/unchained rogue build:
Half Elf.
1 lev: Snakebite Striker Brawler (Improved Unarmed strike, Combat Reflexes, Dual Minded) Sneak attack:1d6
2 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Wild Empathy, Weapon finesse dex to hit) Sneak attack:2d6
3 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Fey Tricks, Rogue Talent - Combat Training: Step Up, Following Step, Evasion)
4 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Weapon finesse dex to dm. Waveblade) Sneak attack:3d6
5 lev: Urban Kyton Bloodrager (Extra Rage, fast movement, painful strike)
6 lev: Snakebite Striker Brawler (Press to the Wall, Flurry of Blows - Two weapon fighting)
7 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Resist Nature’s Lure, Debilitating Injury, Flight Hex, Step up and strike) BAB:+6/+1
8 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Rogues Edge - Skill) Sneak attack:4d6 BAB:+6/+1
9 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Improved two weapon fighting, RogueTalent - Ninja Trick - Stylemaster: Outslug style, Extra Rogue Talent - Weapon training: Weapon focus Waveblade)
10 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue Sneak attack:5d6
11 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Fey Resistance: DR 2/cold iron + Lunge, Rogue talent/hex ?) BAB:+9/+4
12 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue Sneak attack:6d6 BAB:+9/+4
13 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Fey Tricks Major Hex, Rogues Edge - Skill, Advanced Rogue Talent - Double debilitation + Outslug Weave)
14 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Fey Resistance: DR 4/cold iron, Finesse Training Buckler) Sneak attack:7d6 BAB+11/+6/+1
15 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Advanced Rogue Talent - Feat: Outslug Sprint + Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Extra Rogue talent: Opportunitist) BAB:+12/+7/+2
16 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue () Sneak attack:8d6 BAB:+12/+7/+2
17 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Fey Resistance: DR 6/cold iron, Advanced Rogue Talent/Major hex ?? + Feat Pirahna Strike )
18 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Rogues Edge - Skill) Sneak attack:9d6
19 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Advanced Rogue Talent/Major hex ?? + feat ??) BAB:+15/+10/+5
20 lev: Sylvan Trickster Unchained Rogue (Fey Resistance: DR 8/cold iron) Sneak attack:10d6 BAB:+15/+10/+5


I usually see "when does two-handing beat twf" types of posts but the idea generally is, more attacks more better. Without pounce twf falls out of glory as full attacks get rarer as the two-hander gets more attacks himself. This is why I really like the brawler.

I have not not seen knifemaster mentioned but it really amps up what the rogue can do especially with some kukris. Those d8s add up rather quickly and should outpace standard Fighter or Barbarian damage by 5th level. Cavaliers and archers should still you give you a run for your money but I think its around 7th level that casters outpace everything else.

Grand Lodge

Thunderlord wrote:

I usually see "when does two-handing beat twf" types of posts but the idea generally is, more attacks more better. Without pounce twf falls out of glory as full attacks get rarer as the two-hander gets more attacks himself. This is why I really like the brawler.

I have not not seen knifemaster mentioned but it really amps up what the rogue can do especially with some kukris. Those d8s add up rather quickly and should outpace standard Fighter or Barbarian damage by 5th level. Cavaliers and archers should still you give you a run for your money but I think its around 7th level that casters outpace everything else.

Yeah full attack is very important.

My build uses Following step, Outslug Sprint and Lunge to get that as offen as possible.
Combined with Hex Flight and Press to the Wall to flank enemies from above.
Wave blade looks like a knife, but does not work with knifemaster unfortunately.


Knifemaster is a bad archetype. You lose important things for a smattering of damage.

Grand Lodge

Two-handed concepts are easy to build. I grab a falchion, I swing with, and off my go. With advanced weapon training, I can still get shield bonus with my fighter which is very decent.

Two-weapon Fighting ultimately does more damage, but the player needs a lot more work into it. It's even worse if you try to do it with sword and shield, that means to sacrifice the damage efficiency of one or the other. Playing one like that at level 15, while I hit for a lot, I probably could have spent way less if I decided to get TWF with same weapons, and getting shield from another source.

I went Scimitar and Light steel shield. If you want to get the whole chain, including the Bashing Finish (for a 15-20 scimitar in a critfish approach), sacrifices will have to be made during the process, I couldn't reach 19 dex for greater TWF (cost reasons on a item-intensive class) the belt of perfection was +2, and a +4 would have been crippling for more urgent stuff.

The easiest TWF would be a duo of light weapons (kukri for example), and Focused Weapon to raise the damage dice. Rangers are better though because they're more SAD. But the setup I feel the best balanced, and least resource-intesive in the long run is a pair of light steel shields. Shield AC bonus is bigger, while still dishing decent damage. The big minus though would be not having Shield Master until level 11 (or level 6 if ranger), but until then a pair of +1 bashing light steel shields would still be considered +1 light shield bash (due to the bashing property).

In any case, the base feats needed :
TWF, Improved TWF, Greater TWF, Improved Shield Bash, Shield Slam, Shield Master, anything else is theoritically bonus.

Some could do so while dex-based, and I'd think that's the best in the end. The problem is the start is more difficult. In any case, no version is perfect, it's down to anyone's preferences. Plussing players being against knife masters too. It's losing much to grab just a few more damage.


The dwarven war shields are an interesting two weapon fighting option, but I’ve never actually seen one in play.


JDawg75 wrote:

Seems to me everyone tends to say 'nope, it sucks, don't do it.'

If so, did Paizo do this intentionally? If not, what's a good way? Ranger? The fighter archetype? Slayer? Thunder and Fang fighting style?J

If you're willing to multiclass and to minmax your physical stats, you can be frighteningly effective at TWF.

--The key to making it work is to relentlessly crit-fish in a class that offers Challenge, or other quickly-upgrading quantities of numeric damage.

* Samurai: This is my go-to for TWFs, since they're excellent all-around martial platforms with a host of clutch benefits such as extra dice, and rerolls when you need them. With a pair of Keen or ImpCrit wakizashis, he has a 49% to crit with just two attacks. And their Resolve ability replenishes a notch with every foe dropped, so TWF crit-fishing is a highly synergistic tactic for the class.

* Cavalier: These guys get Challenge, of course (it originated with them, although it was devised as a weakened form of Smite applicable to any opponent), but I find them less durable than the samurai when in a slugfest, unless they can finagle a way to self-bounce off their Teamwork feats. A few things they do have going for them over samurai are that the latter cannot use Vambraces of the Tactician, and the cavalier's Expert Trainer feature means dipping only four levels unlocks the Horse Master feat (with is like an open-ended Boon Companion for desiring a full-level animal companion).

* Fighter: They're rock-solid straight-class, but I prefer them in a multiclass stack because their old-school 3e class skill-set just sucks.

* Magus: As casters, they will of course dominate certain battlefields with the right selection of feats, but I don't think they were within the OP's context.

* uRogue/Paladin multiclass: a favorite of high Dex & Cha halflings everywhere. With Fey Foundling, racial LoH leveling bonus, and Greater Mercy, virtually unkillable builds are possible. But you have to like the concept, because feats are really scarce, and it's a tedious slog working through the GM's dungeons full of neutral-hungry monsters and elementals before you can unload the next Smite.

* uRogue, straight-class: This is doable, but if your build is 100% damage-boosting combat feats, you're doomed. Rogues need to get the drop on their foe and mess them up with Debilitating Injury in order to both overcome both BAB and TWF attack-penalties as well as neuter rebound threats from a now very angry and adjacent opponent -- or hurriedly boogie away if they whiff -- if they're going to survive at high level. Their mentality should be like a wizard's, i.e., "I will never be seen when I don't want to be seen." Therefore, defense-oriented feats and rogue-talents are better in the long-run.

* uRogue, dipping 3 or 4 levels only: This is an excellent multiclass addition to other dex-fighting concepts, especially those suffering from poor skill-sets. Especially good for builds which are not dumping charisma (the associated attribute for Use Magical Device). Well worth the BAB-1 cost, especially in those games whose GM loves blaster-caster and breath-weapon villains (this includes PFS, where the cost of healing frequently-incurred evasion-preventable AoE damage will nickel & dime you).

* Ninja: These have fallen a little out of favor recently (i.e., ever since the introduction of uRogue negated the onerous expense of Keen on multiple weapons). Requires not dumping charisma (or multiclassing four levels of monk for wisdom-based Ki), which makes point-buy builds MAD. Spamming Vanish is nice, but sooner or later the GM's NPCs will wise up and purchase wands of See Invisibility for 4500gp (each charge lasting 30 minutes), and then that gimmick is done.

* Brawler: They do get those waveblades, and they are very dreamy indeed, especially since the Brawler will need to spend money upgrading only one. The hard part is racking up numeric damage, and Brawler's Flurry does not meet the prerequisites for taking Improved TWF (if you want that), necessitating taking many more levels

* Warpriest: It's virtually impossible to build a bad warpriest so long as you take Fate's Favored and spam Divine Favor, er, religiously. They are an excellent class for TWFs seeking frequent full-attack opportunities in the middle of the enemy's ranks. Sacred Weapon bumps their light weapon base die up, which is nice, but the real cherry is being able to swift Ghost Touch or Holy onto your steel without paying for it. (Note that Arsenal Chaplains do not have access to the fighter's Advanced Weapon Training feature in PFS, and YMMV with home-game GMs as well. This may put a crimp in some hopes for fighting with two non-light weapons.) Downside: you won't be dipping into a rage-class. This does not, however, inhibit a rage-class build from dipping a few levels of warpriest for the Fate's Favored/Divine Favor exploit, as well as a hefty +3 to will saves, divine item use, and ability to sack a minor Blessing to acquire the Divine Fighting Technique of their choice without it costing them a normal feat slot (Cayden Cailean's Blade and Tankard would be the DFT of chief interest to TWFs).

* dex-rage class (the short list includes Urban Bloodrager, Urban Barbarian, and Savage Technologist Barbarian): These are playable straight-class, but I prefer them as dips for another long-haul class. Very useful when building for PFS, as you front-load a d12 worth of hitpoints, make Acrobatics and Perception class skills, and are +2 attack-bonus right out of the chute. Unlocks Furious as a weapon-enhancement (and it means you'll have a +3 weapon at the cost of only a +2.). Annoyingly requires taking Extra Rage, however, as you're only dipping. (On the bright side, you don't feel any need for Raging Vitality).


Secret Wizard wrote:
Knifemaster is a bad archetype. You lose important things for a smattering of damage.

Knife Master forfeits Trap Finding and Trap Sense, both of which can be restored with a single Slayer talent should one be inclined to multiclass.


TWF gets a bad rap sometimes because it's so feat intensive and a majority of classes are too feat starved to support a TWF build AND still be good at the stuff they need to be good at. But when you pick a class that is really good at supporting a TWF build, it's really, really good. Fighter, Brawler, Rogue, Ranger, Warpriest, and Slayer immediately come to mind for doing TWF well.

Imo, the best two reasons to go TWF is for a crit-fishing build, or for a build that uses Quick Combat Maneuvers in lieu of an attack, like Quick Dirty Trick. With TWF, you get lots and lots of attacks, so sacrificing one of those attacks for a Quick Dirty Trick "costs less" than if you were trying to do a Quick Dirty Trick build with a 2h build. Likewise, if you're going for a crit-fishing build, just get an 18-20 weapon like a Kukri and either enchant it with Keen or get Improved Critical feat so your crit range becomes 15-20, and then roll anywhere from 4-7 attacks per round depending on your BAB; statistically speaking, one of them is bound to crit each round because you have a 30% chance to crit. And crit-fishing builds really get good in the mid-late and late game because you can throw in things like Blinding Critical or Staggering Critical (or if you're a fighter, take both and get Critical Mastery)


I did not realize that people disliked TWF, given the incredible abundance of TWF builds I see.

I just thought it was universally understood that Greater TWF, the feat itself, was a trap.

Grand Lodge

It is two weapons rend is a better feat.


Slim Jim wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
Knifemaster is a bad archetype. You lose important things for a smattering of damage.
Knife Master forfeits Trap Finding and Trap Sense, both of which can be restored with a single Slayer talent should one be inclined to multiclass.

In which case, you lose 1d8 damage and access to Advanced Rogue Talents, like Double Debilitation, which is in itself a better survivability/damage boost than anything Knifemaster has.

It'd be like getting an archetype for Fighters that gives them more feats at the expense of features (looking at you, Free-Style Fighter).

It's trying to solve a non-existing problem, which is Rogue damage.


Let's start with the basics - extra attacks are awesome, so why doesn't everyone use TWF?

Well, there's five downsides to TWF.
1) Feat requirement - you need the TWF feat, and will want followups.
2) Dex requirement - TWF requires Dex 15, Improved TWF requires 17, Greater TWF requires 19.
3) Weapon cost - you either pay twice as much, or have a lower bonus.
4) More reliance on full attacks - needing to move hurts you even more than others, as it also shuts down your combat style.
5) More problems with damage reduction - DR applies to each attack, and #3 means that you can ignore fewer cases of DR than others.

If you can't get help on some of these, TWF is just not a viable fighting style. So, let's see what we can do to lessen those downsides!

Brawler or Monk remove the need for #1 and #2, but then again, they don't have any reason to use two weapons.

1) Nothing much you can do, except get bonus feats: Fighter, Vigilante, Ranger/Slayer most notably.
2) Ranger/Slayer can ignore prereqs via the Ranger Combat Style, Vigilante can ignore prereqs via the Shield of Fury talent, as do Brawling Blademaster Samurai and the Sanguine Angel Prestige class. Of course, it's possible to go dex-based, most notably with Rogue.
3) Gloomblade Fighter can create double weapons at full bonus, and Handwraps allow TWF with unarmed strikes at the price of a single weapon.
4) Pounce or something similar helps a lot. Characters who gain pounce et al.: Mounted Sohei Monk 1 via the Mounted Skirmisher feat, Synthesist Summoner 1, Rageshaper Shifter 4, Beastkin Berserker or Flesheater Barbarian 8, Metamorph Alchemist 9, Barbarian 10 via Greater Beast Totem rage power, Medium 11 via Champion spirit, Vigilante 12 via Mad Rush talent, Pummeling Charge @ BAB 12. Probably more that I've forgotten. For low levels, a double weapon helps (you can two-hand it when moving/charging).
5) Pummeling Style.

@Secret Wizard: Since when is Trapfinding an "important thing" in Pathfinder?


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@DerkLord: Since you can trade it for better archetypes.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As multiple people have mentioned, there are several. However, they are all feat-intensive; note, even classes without bonus feats can become effective at two-weapon fighting (it just requires more planning and dedication; or a dip in a class that does provide bonus feats).

Generally speaking, to maximize the benefit of the extra attacks you need at least one of the following:
1) a source of bonus damage that you can apply to the attacks
2) using a 18-20/x2 weapon (crit-fishing; more attacks mean more possible critical hits)
3) using a weapon that provides a bonus to maneuvers and/or the ability to use "free" maneuvers (either as part of an attack or provides an attack if the maneuver succeeds; i.e., Greater Trip or Shield Slam).

Also, unless the character is using an option to apply their Dex bonus to damage in place of Str (or a ranger/slayer), the character's Dexterity only needs to be improved to 17-18. Greater Two-Weapon Fighting is just not worth it (the -10 penalty for the third off-hand attack means it will probably not hit often enough to matter); the rest of the Two-Weapon Fighting feat chain requires either 15 or 17 Dex.

Some possible characters that can effectively use two-weapon fighting:
- Barbarian or bloodrager, using rage to increase damage (to compensate for needing to invest more in Dex); possibly using a double weapon to attack as a two-handed weapon, when "one big hit" would be useful

- Brawler can "two-weapon fight" with Brawler's Flurry; weapon choices are not the best, but a dip or choice of race can help; the snakebite striker archetype can grant sneak attack

- Fighter can pick up a lot of feats related to two-weapon fighting; the Weapon Training ability can counteract the penalties

- Inquisitor can pick up Double Bane, in addition to other two-weapon fighting feats

- Occultist with the Trappings of the Warrior panoply can be effective; the Physical Enhancement resonant power can boost Str and the Legacy Weapon base focus power can add enhancement bonuses and weapon abilities

- Paladin can be very effective when two-weapon fighting with Smite Evil against many common foes in a "typical" campaign; bless weapon will also automatically confirm critical threats against evil foes (can be very nice with a scimitar, Improved Critical, Improved Shield Bash, and Bashing Finish)

- Ranger or Slayer can use the combat style feats to pick up some of the two-weapon fighting feats without needing to invest in Dex

- Rogue can apply Sneak Attack damage to every attack when flanking

- Vigilante has some talents that can be used to pick up multiple feats and/or complimentary abilities

- Warpriest can improve base weapon damage through Sacred Weapon


Adding on to Derklord’s quite valid list,
(6) TWF also gives you a fairly unnecessary -2 penalty to everything
(7) TWF won’t give you nearly as much from extra attacks as THF, eg, haste, hurtful, AOO
(8) in the cases where bonus damage on every attack is significant enough that TWF still manages to overcome 1-7, usually natural attack builds are better.

Two weapon fighting is good for crit fishing. There are other reasons it can make sense.


We are of course missing one of the very best TWF builds: Bards.

Bards have low feat intensities, enjoy high DEX due to being trapped in light armor, and have a ton of effects that boost output like Inspire Courage, access to Magic Weapon, the Discordant Voice feat.

This is empowered by archetypes like Dervish of Dawn, which also get kukri proficiency.

Only problem... is casting without free hands. So make sure you avoid spells with somatic components!


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With studied combat, mutagen, and alchemical buffs I think an investigator could do well at TWF. His hands would be full so he wouldn’t be able to use extracts during combat unless he used a weapon with the double quality like a staff.


Lelomenia wrote:

Adding on to Derklord’s quite valid list,

(6) TWF also gives you a fairly unnecessary -2 penalty to everything
(7) TWF won’t give you nearly as much from extra attacks as THF, eg, haste, hurtful, AOO
(8) in the cases where bonus damage on every attack is significant enough that TWF still manages to overcome 1-7, usually natural attack builds are better.

Good points! *makes note for future threads*


Derklord wrote:
Lelomenia wrote:

Adding on to Derklord’s quite valid list,

(6) TWF also gives you a fairly unnecessary -2 penalty to everything
(7) TWF won’t give you nearly as much from extra attacks as THF, eg, haste, hurtful, AOO
(8) in the cases where bonus damage on every attack is significant enough that TWF still manages to overcome 1-7, usually natural attack builds are better.
Good points! *makes note for future threads*

I feel like points 4 and 7 are both kind-of the same point.

"Each attack does less damage, so any time you can't make a full attack (eg. move then attack) or get a bonus attack (eg. Haste) your damage output suffers when compared to bigger weapons.

Thoughts?


MrCharisma wrote:
Derklord wrote:
Lelomenia wrote:

Adding on to Derklord’s quite valid list,

(6) TWF also gives you a fairly unnecessary -2 penalty to everything
(7) TWF won’t give you nearly as much from extra attacks as THF, eg, haste, hurtful, AOO
(8) in the cases where bonus damage on every attack is significant enough that TWF still manages to overcome 1-7, usually natural attack builds are better.
Good points! *makes note for future threads*

I feel like points 4 and 7 are both kind-of the same point.

"Each attack does less damage, so any time you can't make a full attack (eg. move then attack) or get a bonus attack (eg. Haste) your damage output suffers when compared to bigger weapons.

Thoughts?

I think its overlooking something even more basic. Both TWF builds and two handed builds suffer from not getting full round attacks and haste. TWF builds hardly ever hit with every attack anyways.

Encounters generally tend to be in AC ranges that are manageable. Boss encounters tend to be on the high end of the AC range. And then the are encounters where AC doesn't matter because the creatures are largely immune to weapons and natural attacks.

TWF suffers from additional to hit penalties compared to two handed builds. But they benefit from spamming out an additional attack which helps to even out the d20 roll. If you are 'lucky' then the TWF build will perform better. If you are 'unlucky' then go caster.

And natural attack builds are cheesy but in a campaign with a lot of creatures with DR natural attacks have a harder time bypassing DR compared with manufactured weapons. Natural attack builds can be great depending on the enemies you face. Natural attack isn't going to be universally the best. There is no universal best, especially if a GM is interested in keeping things from becoming monotonous.


Yeah I think I agree with Meirril.

The to-hit penalty isn't really it's own thing. If you look at a Magus/flurry build you fond that 2 attacks at -2 is actually more likely to hit than 1 attack normally is. This is true 95% of the time (if you need exactly an 18 to hit normally you're better off doing the single attack). TWF has some penalties - eg. You have to enchant 2 weapons - but those penalties have already been covered by one of the other points.

Regarding Natural Attack builds - Cheesy or not they're an option, and one that we should compare. The cost to enchant is double, but the enhancement counts for all your weapons. If you can get 3 Natural Attacks early you're better off. Even if the TWF is going +6/+6/+1/+1 the Natural Attacker is better off at +6/+6/+6. They have one less attack, but it's at a higher bonus. Natural Attacks have their own issues, but it's a comparable style. I guess the biggest problem with Natural Attacks is that it's really class-locked (you need something to give you natural attacks).

Point 8 is really just reiterating the entire point of the thread though: "Can TWF be a competetive fighting style?"

(Sorry Lelomenia, just disagreed with all your points. I appreciate the discussion though.)


JDawg75 wrote:

Seems to me everyone tends to say 'nope, it sucks, don't do it.'

If so, did Paizo do this intentionally? If not, what's a good way? Ranger? The fighter archetype? Slayer? Thunder and Fang fighting style?

J

A high level fighter with a pair of kukri and Trained Grace will out-DPR nearly all THF builds while inflicting some pretty serious conditions.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
JDawg75 wrote:

Seems to me everyone tends to say 'nope, it sucks, don't do it.'

If so, did Paizo do this intentionally? If not, what's a good way? Ranger? The fighter archetype? Slayer? Thunder and Fang fighting style?

J

A high level fighter with a pair of kukri and Trained Grace will out-DPR nearly all THF builds while inflicting some pretty serious conditions.

The -2 does not really exist these days. There are several ways to reduce the penalty to -1.


Vanilla Fighter with...

EWP (Falcata)
Power Attack
Weapon Focus (Falcata)
TWF
Double Slice
AWT: Effortless Dual Wielding
Greater Weapon Focus

...suffers no penalties TWF (and only -1 for Power Attack which Weapon Training eliminates), using two of the most mathematically superior blades in the game, at level 8. Still has a feat or two to spare...

Obviously money and movement still pose the same problems, but it looks to be pretty easy with a generic Fighter (assuming you aren't a fool with your point buy).


The -2 is relevant because in the baseline scenario, the TWF basically has to hit with both attacks to get the same damage as the THW guy in a single attack. THW guy has 2d6 weapon dice, give him 20 Str/ +4 BAB, and he does 2d6 + 7 (+6 with Power Attack) = 14(20) per attack.

TWF has maybe 1d8 and 1d6 Weapon dice, best case scenario, +5 and +2 Str damage (+4 and +2 PA) = 15(21) damage on hitting with both attacks.

and at this point, TWF is just as good/better! And then the -2 drops. And full attacks aren’t reliable. And the rest of (1)-(7).

They can be overcome. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t hurdles.


Generic Vanilla Fighter can dual wield two Falcatas with no penalties from TWF or Power Attack @ level 8...

ATTACK:
8+STR/8+STR/8+STR-5

DAMAGE(each hand):
1D8+STR+6(PA)+1(WT) 19-20/x3

Probably have to hold off on Improved TWF until you can increase your Dex with a decent belt that does more than one stat.

Pick up Improved Critical (Falcata), and save your pennies for Impact on both of them instead of wasting cash on Keen.

You can still play Cornugon Smash/Hurtful games, if you need MORE attacks...

The reason this is easy for a Fighter is because those bonus feats represent constant training, the kind of training that has a Fighter benchpressing an Unmovable Rod whilst the others prepare spells during a long rest. The Fighter isn't wasting bonus feats to overcome penalties, he is simply getting better at what he does...

PS. You still have room for AWT: Warrior Spirit, to cut down on the cost of upgrading one of the weapons...

**EDIT** My math is wrong, I apologize... Greater Weapon Focus only eats the TWF penalty, not the Power Attack penalty...


Secret Wizard wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
Knifemaster is a bad archetype. You lose important things for a smattering of damage.
Knife Master forfeits Trap Finding and Trap Sense, both of which can be restored with a single Slayer talent should one be inclined to multiclass.
In which case, you lose 1d8 damage
The multiclass keeps SA d8s so long as he sneaks with the KM's listed weapons.
Quote:
...and access to Advanced Rogue Talents, like Double Debilitation, which is in itself a better survivability/damage boost than anything Knifemaster has.

You can take both Rogue Advanced Talents and Ninja Master Tricks with Slayer Advanced Talents. --It's the best of both worlds.

Secret Wizard wrote:
We are of course missing one of the very best TWF builds: Bards. Bards have low feat intensities, enjoy high DEX due to being trapped in light armor, and have a ton of effects that boost output like Inspire Courage, access to Magic Weapon, the Discordant Voice feat. This is empowered by archetypes like Dervish of Dawn, which also get kukri proficiency.

Their buffing is also usually numeric, which amplifies nicely on crits.


UnRogue/Ninja(KnifeMaster/Scout):
3/4 BAB
Dexterity to attack and damage
D8 Sneak Attack
Sneak Attack on a charge
Rogue Talents worth mentioning;
Weapon Focus & Improved TWF @ level 8

Slayer:
Full BAB
Ranger Combat Style feats
Rogue Talents
Sneak Attack

Fighter:
Full BAB
Bonus feats
Advanced Armor/Weapon Training

It's like a light/medium/heavy assortment of easily accessible effective TWF builds...

I'd have to say it is quite feasible, honestly.

Grand Lodge

Two-handed and sword/shield have better average use and maintenance than TWF. But the latter clearly has the higher ceiling in brute damage.

If I reduce it to the most common point, do the player reason for most of the cases, or about the few cases where the extra damage is required ?

Attack penalties are a somewhat non-factor, given other classes do suffer from the same penalty, or can be easily compensated. In any case, it's a matter of matching the right concept with the right mechanics. Outside of that, lots of the criticism looks misplaced.


MrCharisma wrote:

Yeah I think I agree with Meirril.

The to-hit penalty isn't really it's own thing. If you look at a Magus/flurry build you fond that 2 attacks at -2 is actually more likely to hit than 1 attack normally is.

I agree, I only didn't exclude the point because, well, my original post said "downsides", and a penalty is that. I'll probably only add #7 to my list, the others are more suited for commentary.

MrCharisma wrote:
I feel like points 4 and 7 are both kind-of the same point.

Here I disagree - #4 is "you're hampered more if you have to move", while #7 is "you profit less from Haste". What could be added to #7 is that the number one default feat for increasing melee damage, Power Attack, is severely weakened (net ratio is 1.5:1) even compared to a 2:1 build like natural attack or S&B.


I'm doing my best to keep up with all the points mentioned, and there are quite a few. So far it seems my best options are:

Natural attack build
Unchained Rogue dex build
Slayer STR build (I prefer slayers to rangers, I enjoy rogue talents)
Weapon and shield build, possibly using a Fighter chassis.

I would try to avoid a build where I need to have a high Str and Dex, make him as SAD as possible.

Adding additional effects with my attacks would be preferable I'd imagine, as long as he doesn't become more MAD. You know there was a thread for the 'best/strongest archery build' a year or two ago that had some great builds to compare DPS. Should we do something like that?

J


JDawg75 wrote:
I would try to avoid a build where I need to have a high Str and Dex, make him as SAD as possible.

Just to address this, it depends a bit how you generate ability scores.

If you're usijg a point buy then getting a high STR and a 17 in DEX costs a lot, but if you're doing a 30 point buy it's probably less of an issue.

If you're rolling for stats it depends what you roll. If you have two 18s and a 15 you're golden.

Everything we're talking abiut here represents a usual point buy (15-20 points) or a reasonably average set of rolls (eg. Not getting two rolls at 17+).

Generally speaking though, if you can plan around this you'l be more likely to have the opportunity to play the character.


JDawg75 wrote:
I'You know there was a thread for the 'best/strongest archery build' a year or two ago that had some great builds to compare DPS. Should we do something like that?

If you're going to do that you need to define at least one target character level, point buy amount, stats of the defender (which you can fudge by using the same as the average for a monster of CR X), time allowed for buffing (1 round is a common assumption but YMMV), and I'd suggest both standard action and full round attack DPS values to allow for some TWF builds being rather immobile. Even pouncers have trouble getting a full attack in many real game situations. I also suggest not allowing consumable magic items as they're a bag of worms in such comparisons.


Damage isn’t the only good indicator for a build either. The dirty tricks slayer has lower damage but it can really nullify a lot of normally tough enemies.


I think that DPR is honestly a piss-poor metric for measuring what makes a viable character.

Damage is important!

This IS dungeons and DRAGONS, and we aren't dedicating real life time to have fantasy golf tournaments with these dragons... we are trying to get our fantasy characters to the point where we can kill these aforementioned dragons!

However, there are so many unplayable, glass-cannon, one hit wonder builds that would be so pathetically boring to play, and to play with, that damage alone is third, fourth, maybe fifth on the list of things you should be worried about.

Can your character carry their own weight... literally.
As a big dumb Fighter, I tell the 6 STR Wizard to magic his backpack down the trail, not carrying your crap because you can't allocate your stats conservatively enough to walk down the road with a backpack.

Can you prove useful outside of combat?
As a big dumb Fighter I had a problem with this, but Pathfinder has a rich and diverse world of TRAITS that can net you a skill or two, and you have to really contribute to the story to make up for the rest. But carrying the party up the cliff one by one because you are the only one with Climb, or whatever really helps you stay relevant.

Can you survive?
Focusing on damage alone is completely arrogant and foolish. People start dumping stats like Wisdom to bump combat stats and become a detriment to the party. Nobody cares about the damage you might do when you're failing the most basic of Reflex saves and taking yourself out of combat. Or the worst case scenario is you fail a Will save and all of your dedication to damage is turned on the party. Either way, don't get d*%!~igh over damage, because it makes you a detriment to your party.

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...


Choose how you want your damage...
Static, Sneak Attack/Flanking, Pounce...

Choose your class.

Take the absolute minimum of feats required to make you effective.

Focus on literally everything else!


Literally a random class that I thought might be relevant despite being a 3/4 BAB two weapon fighting build...

Vanilla Investigator
Half-Elf
*Skill Focus (Perception)
*Arcane Training for Bard wands

Traits...
Drawback: Umbral Unmasking
Regional: Paragon of Speed (+2 Init)
Combat: Resilient (+1 Fort save)
Magic: Pragmatic Activator

1. Weapon Finesse
3. Weapon Focus
5. Something Something Grace
7. TWF
9. Two Weapon Grace
11. Iron Will
13. Improved TWF
15. Two Weapon Rend
17. You get the point...

You can do the same thing with an Arcane Duelist Bard, choosing Wizard or Bloodrager wands, and be a gigantic success with your party as you Inspire Courage, YAY!


If such a thread happens and people fear that there will be insufficient sarcasm and ridicule directed at 1 skill point/level fighters with +0 Will save at 6th, we may need to nominate someone to provide S&R to overcome Paizo.com's obvious strategic deficit there. Any volunteers?


What sarcasm?


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.

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