Fighting with two Weapons

Everything you always wanted to know about attacking/fighting with two
weapons but got tired of asking about.

Below is a series of e-mail messages regarding the matter of two weapon
fighting style and combat with two weapons. The information relayed in
these e-mail messages should answer all your questions regarding two
weapon fighting style and all it's variations.

- Robert

To all -

     This is a discussion/response to someones questions regarding weapon 
proficiencies, and the use of two weapon fighting style in particular. I 
decided to send the reply to everyone, because some of the details could 
benefit all the players. I've changed the wording a bit to protect the 
identity/character type of the person asking the the questions.

>Ok, as a follow up on my previous question. What if I wanted my character
>to be able to use two small weapons(one in each hand). He would spend
>2 CP's for prof with knifes.

(let's assume it's common dagger)
He would then gain proficiency with the following fighting styles. 
One-handed weapon, weapon and shield, and thrown. You would also gain 
proficiency with two-weapon fighting style if this was your second weapon 
proficiency. (You now have two weapons, so you can use two weapon 
fighting style. I know it's kind of weird but it's the only circumstance 
that I can think of where you would naturally gain this fighting style.) 

>Then 1 CP more for 2-Weapon Fighting Style.

Nope. see above.

>And he could attack with a knife in both hands at the 0/-2 penalty with
>each hand attacking each combat round?

Now on to the heart of the matter. Attacking with two weapons. With only 
proficiency in two weapon fighting style you would suffer the following 
penalties. -2 "to hit" with weapon in primary hand (Check character sheet 
for rules on determining "handedness"), and a -4 "to hit" with the weapon 
in the secondary hand. Additionaly if one of the weapons is medium sized; 
(i.e. long sword) Then it must be wileded in the primary hand, while the 
secondary weapon must be small in size, and wileded using the secondary 
hand. (Good thing you are not a Hakheerian!) Each weapon still attacks in 
it's normal phase. Average for long sword, and fast for common dagger.

Now, if you spent three character points to specialize in the two-weapon 
fighting style. That's right three points. It costs two points to 
specialize in a fighting style. Plus the description of the two-weapon 
fighting states that it costs one extra point to specialize in this 
difficult style. Back to the subject. Specialization reduces the 
penalties to "0" (no penalty) with primary weapon, and -2 "to hit" with 
secondary weapon. The size and useage penalties still apply. If you spend 
another two points you can use two weapons of medium size in either hand. 

>Then let's say he's got the Ambidextrous trait. Then it would be a 0/0
>attack penalty?

Spending 4 points on the character trait, or 2 points on the special 
talent (check to see which one your character can acquire) of 
ambidexterity would reduce the penalties to "0" and "0" respectively. No 
penalties "to hit" with either weapon/hand.

>Then let's say I spend another 1 CP for knives to be my Weapon of
>Expertise which I could then attack with the 3/2 at the 0/0 penalty?
>Is this right?

The cost for a warrior to acquire weapon expertise with a weapon is 2 
character points. (See "mstrprof.txt" for costs of skills, styles, 
talents, proficiencies, etc. This would make the common dagger your 
weapon of expertise. Not 'knives'. Knives is a term reserved for a group 
of weapons. The broad group is called "Daggers & Knives". There are no 
narrow groups within this group. Proficiency with a group of weapons is a 
totally different matter. Once you have expertise with the common dagger 
you would be able to attack twice every three rounds with the weapon. Now 
if you are wielding two weapons as described above. All penalties 
mitigated, and all appropriate styles, skills, specializations paid for, 
that can result in a considerable attack sequence. In the first round you 
could attack twice in the fast phase. One weapon in each hand. Both 
weapons striking in the fast phase. In the second round you would be 
permitted to make 3 attacks. Only one additional attack is granted as a 
benefit of expertise. Not an entire attack sequence. In the second round 
you would make your normal complement of attacks. Two attacks, both 
attacks coming in the fast phase. The additional attack would come one 
phase later in the average phase.

I hope I have adequately answered your question. If not please let me 

- Robert

Subject:     two weapons

Dale -

>>    A review of the ambidexterity character trait, has led me to the
>> conclusion that anyone with such a trait automatically receives
>> proficiency in the two weapon fighting style. My database/roster shows
>> you paid three points for this skill. As a result of this review, you get
>> those three character points back. Proficiency in two weapon fighting
>> style is now listed on your character as costing zero points. I would
>> suggest that you simply hold them in reserve. Or you could specialize in
>> two weapon fighting style, at a cost of three character points.

>Question about this.  With Ambidexterity I have no penalty with the
>main hand and a -2 with the off hand.  With Two-Weapon Style, I know
>how to fight with two weapons.  Do I have to specialize in the style
>to end up with no penalty with both hands?

Well.. Not really, sort of. Characters who specialize in the two weapon 
fighting style reduce the minus to 0/-2. But keep in mind that a high 
balance will also reduce the penalty. This penalty (0/-2) is reduced by 
your characters reaction adjustment (+2 for 18 BAL) from -2 to 0 with the 
secondary weapon. (reaction adjustment never results in a bonus on the to 
hit number) 

A character who fights with two weapons must still have one weapon 
smaller than the other. (unless both are daggers/knives).

Now specialization in the two weapon fighting style would reduce the 
penalty if you didn't have a good dex to begin with. Also by first 
specializing in the style, and then spending another two points you could 
use two weapons of equal size. i.e. two long swords.

>> Please let me know what you intend to do with the character points. Will
>> your character be fighting with a weapon in each hand? If so which
>> weapons.

- Robert

Subject:     Even more fighting with two weapons

To all -

     Just a reminder. From the PHB, pg 127. "Attacking with two
weapons", fourth paragraph.

     "The use of two weapons enables the character to make one
additional attack each combat round, with the second weapon. The
character gains only one additional attack each round, regardless
of the number of attacks he may normally be allowed. Thus, a warrior
able to attack 3/2 (once in the first round and twice in the second)
can attack 5/2 (twice in the first round and three times in the second)."

     This is just a reminder, and further clarification for those who
wish to attack using two weapons. Now a bit of DM's input: (Quotes below
are taken from quote above. Items added for emphasis are in brackets.)

     "The character gains only one additional attack each round,"
Regardless of the attack form. For example. If you are throwing daggers
using both hands you only get to throw one dagger more per round.
Regardless of the weapons fire rate. ["regardless of the number of attacks
he may normally be allowed".]

So; Assuming you have specialized (or have expertise) in the common dagger,
and you are using both hands to throw your daggers. You will be able to
throw 4 daggers per round. That's 3 per round due to specilization. And
one extra per round due to two weapon fighting style.

     Another detail. From C&T, pg 24. "The Actions: Attack", second
and third paragraph.

     "Monsters with multiple attacks perform all their attacks on
the same phase. If a dragon attacks with average speed, it's bite,
claws, tail, and wing buffets all take place in the average phase of
the combat round. Characters using a weapon in each hand strike in
the same fashion, during the action phase of the slower weapon."
     "Characters who have multiple attacks with the same weapon (such
as high-level fighters or weapon specialists) make their first attack
normally and then make one attack each phase thereafter until they've
resolved all of their mutiple attacks. A long sword specialist with
two attacks in a round makes his first attack in the average phase
and his seconf in the slow phase of the the round."

Hopefully these referesnces will help clarify the two weapon attack

- Robert

Subject:     Re: Two Weapon Fighting

LookingForSomeFiles wrote:

> Is there a reference in AD&D that allows a 6' tall fighter
> with good str and dex to wield two longswords?

There is at least one rule reference that I know of.
In accordance with AD&D Players Option: Combat & Tactics. Pg.77

"Two-Weapon Style"

...if a character spends a second proficiency slot on two-weapon
style specialization, he gains the ability to use two weapons of
equal size, as long as he can use each one as a one-handed weapon...

The cost for a fighter to acquire this skill would be 4 points.
Proficiency with the Two-weapon fighting style is automatic for
warriors. (See C&T Pg.76 Fighting Style Specializations)
Specializing in the fighting style costs a warrior 2 character
points (One proficiency slot). Expenditure of 2 more character
points (An additional proficiency slot) gives the warrior the
ability to fight with weapons of equal length.
Your character will still need to deal with the normal penalties
imposed for fighting with two weapons. Specialization in the
Two-weapon fighting style reduces the penalty from -2/-4 to -2/0.
('To hit' with primary/secondary weapons) A good (16 or greater)
DEX/AIM score can reduce this penalty to 0/0. Or one can acquire
the ambidexterity trait if the characters DEX/AIM is not high

Note that the height, strength, or dexterity of your character
does not matter. It's the size of your character that is important.
A 'Man-sized' character can handle 'medium' weapons with one hand.
'Small' characters (i.e. Dwarf, halfling, etc) must use two hands
to wield 'medium' sized weapons.

Warriors in my campaign routinely follow this route. The players
find that the cost in character points to be well worth it.
Ccombining this ability with a warriors multiple attacks adds an
entirely new set of complications to the mix...

- Robert

Subject:     Questions about game related matters

Paul -

     This is not the next game turn. Just an aside to the questions you 
asked in your game turn reply.  

>Firstly is it taken for granted that in combat I will be useing both daggers
>at the same time as I am ambidextrios and I have 2 daggers :) ?
I would have to say that nothing is taken for granted. If you wish to use two daggers during a particular encounter you must specifically state that it is your wish to do so. I will not abide by any set of pre encounter standards. i.e. "Unless otherwise stated I will always..." You must always state exactly what it is that you wish your character to do. No two situations are ever alike, and I would hate to be put in the position where I am forced to assume that your character would act in a specific manner based on the guidelines that you have laid out. If you are unable to complete the turn in a timely manner I will do my best to complete the turn for you in a manner that is consistent with what I perceive to be an approximation of the actions you would dictate for your character. (Good lord that was a mouthful.) I hope you understand what I'm trying to say here. I'm not trying to get down on you for any reason. I'm just trying to emphasize that I don't want there to be any prearranged default action sets put in place. As for attacking with two weapons... Let's revisit the matter once more. Your character is proficient with common dagger. An excellent choice for dual use. - Your character is proficient in two weapon style. This means that he may perform the attack maneuver. Receiving a -2 penalty (to hit) for the first attack. And a -4 penalty (to hit) to the second attack. These penalties will be nearly negated by your characters high DEX score. (19) Your second attack would be at a -1 (to hit) If you did not have proficiency with two weapon fighting style you would receive an additional 'illegal use' penalty of -3 (to hit) on both attacks. (regardless of your AIM) - Your character is ambidextrous. Being ambidextrous allows you to use either weapon in either hand. Ambidexterity further reduces the minuses listed above, (-2 and -4) to 0 and -2 to hit respectively. When coupled with your characters high dexterity this means that you will have no minuses to hit on either attack. - Spending six points (double cost) for specialization with two weapon fighting style would permit the use of any one handed weapon in each hand. Not just small weapons. or one small and one medium/one handed weapon. You may attack with a dagger in each hand with no penalties due to using two weapons. In melee combat you will receive two attacks per combat round. Each attack will occur in the fast phase, but they will be resolved separately. If you decide to throw your daggers you will be able to throw three daggers per combat round. Two attacks will occur in the fast phase, and one more in the slow phase. (Two weapon fighting style gives you one additional attack with the secondary weapon) A one phase delay would be imposed while you ready the second dagger(s). (By the way. You only have two daggers, so throwing them might not be such a good idea.) All these attacks can also be performed with your bolas. The bolas however are slow weapons and the delay necessary to ready a second bola(s) (Which you do not have) would leave you holding the bola(s) is the very slow phase. This means that you would finish the attacks sequence at the very end of the round. An optimal attack sequence might be to throw both bolas in the slow phase, ready your daggers in the very slow, and be ready for melee attacks in the next combat round. Don't forget that you can use the second dagger for other purposes. You could perform a block (or hard parry), disarm an opponent, trap an opponents weapon. Note that the bolas can also be used to perform a special weapon maneuver. (See C&T pg's 47 & 134) (References: Combat & Tactics pg's 49 & 77, Skills & Powers pg's 24, 25 & 106, Players Hand book pg's 126 & 127.) I hope that covers the questions regarding fighting with two weapons. Please feel free to ask any questions if you are still uncertain about some aspect of this technique. I will also be forwarding you three additional e-mail regarding weapon proficiencies, two weapon fighting styles, and Illegal use rules. I'm not sure whether you still have copies of these messages but I felt that they may be of use if you still have some questions. I sure hope I haven't made an contradictory rulings yet. ;-) - Robert

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Last updated:Sun, Dec 20, 1998 19:12