Two weapon fighting and the bard class

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Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby hasryn » Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:36 pm

Two-Weapon Fighting
If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon. You suffer a -6 penalty with your regular attack or attacks with your primary hand and a -10 penalty to the attack with your off hand when you fight this way. You can reduce these penalties in two ways:

If your off-hand weapon is light, the penalties are reduced by 2 each. (An unarmed strike is always considered light.)
The Two-Weapon Fighting feat lessens the primary hand penalty by 2, and the off-hand penalty by 6.


Above are the rules for two weapon fighting. The ability to do it isn't restricted by class. I was wondering what it would do to impact bards if they could. I know you can't cast while dual wielding. So if you chose to do it as a bard it would have to be at the expense of expedient spell casting. I think it would fit them though as they are jacks of all trades. Usually fairly decent with many light weapons. They as a rogue subclass have access to the feats that would make it feasible. It could open up how some choose to play their bard as well.
Is there a reason i.e. balance wise they can't? I was just trying to open the floor to the idea that it could work for them pretty well.
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby Areia » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:33 am

As an aside, everyone has access to the dual-wielding feat line. For whatever reason they're tagged as general feats and not given by class as something like heavy armor optimisation is.

To answer the main question, though, I imagine bards being potentially too good with dual wielding, just like paladins would be, because off the top of my head, bards happen to get...

  • Cat's grace to bump up your tohit to a base of +7
  • good hope, +2 dam and +2 hit
  • greater heroism, another +2 tohit on top of the above (it grants +4, but they obviously don't stack). Together these could score you a pretty sweet attack routine of +27/+27/+22/+22/+17/+17 if the bard happened to go all out weapon specage.
  • Fury to even further up damage output beyond the good hope's bonus
  • And finally hold spells, so a dual-wielding spec bard could throw that and be scoring six crits per round even without the above attack bonuses.

Just like paladins have all their super massive tohit buffs that would make them similarly retarded dual wielders, leaving fighter and thief dual wielders way behind and probably besting even many of the more traditional two-hand or sword-and-shield styles. In PvE, it would just be plain overkill since most mobs aren't even equipped with comparable armor and weapons.

Yeah, you can't cast while dual-wielding, but you wouldn't really ever need to.
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby Hrosskell » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:06 am

I argue exactly the opposite. We should approve this, as it exists in d20srd where ANYONE can dual wield, and let people find out how trash it would be for themselves--and paladins too, even, because being so MAD you can't afford 19 DEX definitely isn't a real thing. LOL
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby Areia » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:37 am

Pally: 15/19/18/10/11/16
With pally spells that's 20/19/20/10/15/20
Would need at least a +1 wis trinket to function but those are super common.

Bard: 16/20/17/10/10/16
With spells that's 18/24/19/14/10/20

Cleric: 16/19/16/10/18/10
With spells: 22/19/20/10/22/14

That is all to say, 19 DEX is super not difficult to attain even for non-dexy classes due to all their buffs.
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby Hrosskell » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:06 am

I decided to redact myself--don't worry, it wasn't anything mean, I just don't feel comfortable posting in-depth guides to character creation on the forums. Regardless, the math does not support the claim that dual wield bards or paladins are superior to their 2H counterparts or dual wield fighters in the field of melee combat--let alone the areas they're sacrificing strengths in, such as casting stats, CON, saves, what have you. They do have accuracy, but not damage, and once party play/buffs come in, the disparity is staggering.
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby Simossus » Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:00 am

Open up the classes to the dual wielding skill. Lower the required PC level in which to train it to 10. Dual wielding/two-weapon fighting PCs are already in the deficit to the other styles when you consider the overhead investment in feats, large penalty and skill level requirement in order to advance. Bards are the class to benefit the most from the change and they've been wanting for a little boost.
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby Vaemar » Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:34 am

Hrosskell wrote:I argue exactly the opposite. We should approve this, as it exists in d20srd where ANYONE can dual wield, and let people find out how trash it would be for themselves--and paladins too, even, because being so MAD you can't afford 19 DEX definitely isn't a real thing. LOL

As somebody who has tinkered quite a bit with the bard class until very recently I find myself in agreement with this position. I believe there are certain skills that should available to all classes, in order to better represent how 3.5 D&d works. This includes dual wielding, but also other things such as second attack for wizards, planar tongues for everybody, etc.

Sticking to the topic at hand, however, I must admit I find the mechanical considerations expressed here about this build and bard builds in general weird to say the least. I can't help to feel that the bard class is poorly understood by the playerbase for what concerns its mechanical implications. Like, guys, are you aware a bard has only 7 feats? Same for paladins and clerics. And since they are casters this means they have still spell as an additional feat tax in order to dual wield efficiently, which translates actually into a pseudo-ECL for their spell slots, and, for bards in particular, practically in the loss of their highest level spells. If as a dual wielding bard you do not cast at least stilled hold monster why are you dual wielding to begin with?
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby hasryn » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:08 am

I've never used hold spells, but from what I'm understanding it makes it a natural crit everytime? That could be broken, but like Vaemar said you'd need stilled to not have to put a weapon away and keep on trucking. I just like dual wielding as a more well just style of combat even though it's not feasible in most situations. Unless you're like a badass ranger but even then they are lacking due to a lack of there favored enemies and how those get buffed as you go over time.
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby Areia » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:46 pm

So I absolutely agree, as will anyone who's put real thought into the build, that dual-wielding for fighters, thieves, and even rangers who despite being casters get almost no tohit or dam buffs at all, is a painfully underwhelming style. We've all doubtless seen the GM dueal-wielders with two +2 weapons be bested by comparable classes of comparable level and equipment, pretty much every time. This is mostly due to the tohit penalties imposed by dual-wielding; I won't ramble on into probably best-kept-unsaid details, but suffice it to say that there is a reason spec dueal-wielders get -2 tohit, and why fighters can spend 1 feat for +2 dam while having to expend the same cost for only +1 tohit.

As for bards, paladins, and others, I'm not convinced, but let's assume for the sake of argument that I am wrong, that dual-wielding would be at least as subpar, if not worse for them than it is for fighters, rangers, and thieves now, which is a lot of what I'm seeing argued. Assuming that... Why give it to them at all? If it would be so trashy as it is for these non-caster classes, or even trashier, what good would having a really trashy build option do to boost the bard class in general? It isn't a rhetorical question, I'm genuinely interested in the reasoning.

If it would be so bad for them, why not look instead into giving them other things that would actually help them, like more grouping spells, bardsongs, etc? Incidentally, bards on FK aren't meant to be melee-based classes to begin with. As mentioned in another thread recently explaining some new awesome additions to bards, the class is meant to play group support more than anything, whereas fighters, rangers, and some thieves are meant to be the damage-dealers, just as clerics are primarily healers, and thus the differences across the various skill sets and abilities.

Regarding feat allotment, yes, I do realize they get only seven (eight if they're human or I think one other race). I've also never once found seven feats to be too few for virtually any spec I wanted a character to have. Dual-wielding itself comes at a cost of only three feats, plus weapon focus, weapon finesse, still spell, and you've still got room for, say, improved crit or whatever other feat you want. One of my latest alts in fact has more feat points than I know what to do with even after filling in all his/her basic requirements, despite only having seven feat points, and he/she does extremely well in PvP and PvE alike. But again, if having access to dual-wield would be too costly for a bard's feat allotment, why give it to them at all?

As a last quick point, I would mention that if you really want your PC to be able to uniquely dual-wield for the sake of his/her RP, there is still always the option to apply for the skill at a cost of 50 glory.
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby Vaemar » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:18 pm

Areia wrote:Why give it to them at all? If it would be so trashy as it is for these non-caster classes, or even trashier, what good would having a really trashy build option do to boost the bard class in general?


That's really the way I have always seen it. In the sense that, they can't dual wield, but who cares, it's not a big deal. But if someone wants to trash their build why not let them then? We have wizards using gretaxes, dex-based fighters, strength-based thieves, mounted thieves, caster priests and so on. The game benefits from build freedom and d20, as opposed to AD&D, is based exactly on that.

If for once somebody chooses a build not out of sheer powerplay, but because they like the concept, who am I to say they shouldn't?

Incidentally, bards on FK aren't meant to be melee-based classes to begin with.


Have you got any source for this? Because I have seen many builds for bards both on FK and in other d20 related environments and they come in all stripes, really. To name but a few, some are DC based for spells, some are skill monkeys and some are actually melee. All are pretty nice and play on the different points of strength and versatility of the class. Actually the core of the class is versatility, and this implies that bards also do melee, as they do stealth, healing and spellcasting in general. They simply rarely excel in any department, but this does not mean that they are bad at it, quite the contrary.

Regarding feat allotment, yes, I do realize they get only seven (eight if they're human or I think one other race). I've also never once found seven feats to be too few for virtually any spec I wanted a character to have.


In the build you showed you can barely get the feats you want on a human or on a strongheart halfling, and it will ultimately be quite subpar, due to the need of many attribute points and other, more important, feats they have to renounce to. More in general spending 4 feats for a combat style that works effectively only in selected situations is quite against the whole idea of the bard class, which is versatility. And this is exactly why most dual wield bard builds I saw were pretty fringe, even where they could skip still spell, unlike on FK.

As a last quick point, I would mention that if you really want your PC to be able to uniquely dual-wield for the sake of his/her RP, there is still always the option to apply for the skill at a cost of 50 glory.


In general we will not be offering high level skills with this system. For
the most part skills and spells higher than level 10 will be rejected.


So dual wield is "for the most part" not included.
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby Hrosskell » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:25 pm

Okay, I'll repost it for bards specifically:
18 14 18 10 10 18 / WF:Polearms / Power Attack / Still / Heighten/ Extend / 3 choice.
2d4+6STR+3HSTR+6PA+2Weap+2Spell = 24 average damage x3 for 72 DPR (x4 in crit rounds, for 288).
This build allows for casting in combat without still; it is provided in case limbs are damaged, or a hold is applied. It can easily fish for crits with heightened hold persons, and has staying power due to extended buffs. This does not mention the fact that it can also easily summon monster to add to its damage. The build can be tinkered with, sacrificing more CON, DEX or CHA for STR (20 brings the damage up to 75/300), but I like a balanced CON save and resist DC and buffed max AC. There's a lot of variety here, and shifting a few points here and there really doesn't change much--you can get INT, for example, for the same trade-offs listed.

When you use the build you mentioned, your DPR is higher by ~9 using light weapons / finesse. However, you have far less likelihood of landing your holds, and fewer slots to do it with, making fishing for those crit rounds nearly impossible. You lose out on 3 feats that can really, really come in handy--mounted combat, once looked at as a waste, is one of the most satisfying utilities for non-teleporting adventurers I've found in recent years. Boosting saves, or even going into spell focus for even higher DCs, are good options. Comparing it to fighter dual wield DPR is quite honestly an exercise in futility, and the main one I railed against early on. They do upwards of 140 DPR/round with similar hit reliability due to base BAB heights, something a dual wield bard will NEVER come close to, even with accuracy buffs.

All of this math aside, I think one of the key foci of our disagreements across multiple threads is the assumption that any class has a set role outside of what a player makes it. Clerics are not locked into healing; fighters are not locked into damage bots; bards are not locked into whimsical, combat-fringe support units. Rather, they are excellent melee combatants both on the solo field and in group play, and spreading the misconception otherwise is more damaging than gifting/denying dual wield could ever be. They do not need help (not even the recent d20-defying buff they received). They need a playerbase educated on D&D.

The glory of D&D is that it rewards tinkering, specialization, and innovation. This separates it from "this is your rotation, show up at x o'clock and press buttons at the boss" even when the goal is exactly the same: killing something with your friends for money. The game rewards flavor, it rewards critical thought, and if you REALLY want that dual wield bard because it seems DOPE, it can be made to work in group play. Telling someone they can pay 50 glory (nearly a quarter of a well-seasoned adventurer's career glory) for a feature that is available to EVERY class in the core ruleset we cleave to just so they can make a DOPE but utterly gimped character is crass, callous and altogether against the spirit of Dungeons and Dragons.
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby hasryn » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:42 pm

This does not mention the fact that it can also easily summon monster to add to its damage.


Bards and ranger's currently do not get the summon ally/monster spell as it stands I believe which would be a nice addittion. Atop of that you put it nicely Hrosskell. It's the main reason I made this post. I like to make versatility over powerplay myself. If I wanted to be the most kick arse guy around. I'd make a fighter or a wizard or what have you! Instead I play rangers and thieves mostly which are not the bottom of the barrel in terms of power nor the top!
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby Vaemar » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:46 pm

hasryn wrote:Bards and ranger's currently do not get the summon ally/monster spell as it stands I believe which would be a nice addittion.


They still get monster summon as sixth level spell. Bards also used to have summon creature 1 until recently, but it has apparently been removed with the last update to their spell list. The helpfile still lists it with their 1st level spells even.
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby Areia » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:56 pm

Vaemar, just to answer your question quickly, from here:

Solaghar wrote: If you have had bards in the past and found them underpowered, you're encouraged to dust them off, try out these new spells, and remember that the key idea we're thinking of for the bard is someone who works best in a group.


That point taken together with the sorts of spells the bard class has been given (mentioned in that post) seemed to me to imply that FK wants its bards to generally aim toward the group-oriented buffer/supporter as opposed to other roles or combat styles. Admittedly I might have taken that wrongly, but that's where I got the idea.

Freedom is a very fair point, though. I agree with it personally. I mean, dueal-wielding is badass in my imagination even if not in numbers, and imagination is really all that should matter. My attempt, though, has been less to propose what I personally believe and more to try to get at the stance that FK has consistently and for ever and ever held, that certain classes should do certain things. Presumably, it's the same sort of thing as requests for paladin grip, ranger disarm, ranger hide in cities, etc., etc. always not being implimented.

I believe the game has just chosen not to lend itself to the very high degree of freedom that tabletop allows, which I can understand to some degree. Too much freedom for one character means less reason for grouping and all that good stuff. Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes not.

I don't particularly enjoy twinking, either (most of the time, at least, I admit), but it's something that should be considered when thinking about adding to a class, because eventually you're going to get that guy who tries to eek out every last advantage at the cost of his RP, and that in turn hurts other players.

So at end, as it pertains to me as a player, I don't have a single dog in this fight. I don't like playing bards, likely never will, and my experience with dual-wielding has been quite exhausted long ago lol. I just thought it worth bringing up the points I have for discussion's sake. :) Appreciate all the civility.
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Re: Two weapon fighting and the bard class

Postby hasryn » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:36 pm

Lol. I'm that pig headed guy that can't seem to walk away from dual wielding. Even though I know it hurts soo bad in the badassery department. It would just be nice to have the option to others. I don't think I'd do it with a bard myself I just thought it'd could open them up for some different versions to be out and about in the world. But aye all opinions are needed for a valid and well thought out argument! Much appreciated for all the attention this has brought and thoughts on the matter as well.
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