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Two weapon fighting & dual wielding in DnD 5E explained

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All around you is blurred visions of blood, a clashing sound of metal and hearts fighting against the mutual threat of death. As you slice a bandit’s bulwark with your short sword, your tired blood is running fast. His eyes are filled with rage and an unmistakable desire to live. However, it might come at your expense. Your motion must be swift and precise as you unleash your thirst for life using your second short sword. The bandit would not have been able to attack you again if you hadn’t had a weapon in your hands.

characters can fight with two weapons, including Fighters, Wizards, and all in between. These are the rules:

  • You can take the attack action while holding a light weapon in each of your hands. As a bonus, you can also make additional attacks with your offhand weapon. To see which weapons are considered light, make sure you check the Player’s Handbook, pg.149, or the table below.
  • To avoid damage from the attack, do not add the modifier to the attack you are making. You could, for example, attack two targets with one pair of short swords at 1st level and a Strength of +3. The mainhand would do 1d6+3 damage, while the offhand would do 1d6+3.
  • You can throw your weapon instead of using melee attacks if it has the thrown property.

Weapons eligible for the TWF

The light weapons list has been prepared for you and is arranged from the most damage to the least. Continue reading if you are looking to elevate your TWF.

Short Sword 1d6 Finesse
Scimitar 1d6 Finesse
Handaxe 1d6 Thrown (range 20/60).
Dagger 1d4 Finesse, Thrown (range 20/60).
Light Hammer 1d4 Thrown (range 20/60).
Sickle 1d4 None
Club 1d4 None

How to Increase the TWF Damage

The fighting style, and feat will boost your TWF effectiveness.

  • Two Weapon Fighting This fighting mode (also known as TWF) allows for you to increase your damage by adding your ability mod to your offhand attack. This style is only available to Fighters or Rangers, but anyone who has mastered a martial weapon skill can obtain it through the Fighting Imitiate feat.
  • Dual Wielder Although feat is expensive in 5E, it can often be worth it if it improves your playstyle. The Dual Wielder feat offers players many benefits. This feat allows your character draw two weapons simultaneously, while object interaction rules allow only one weapon and a turning other weapon. To compensate for the lack of a shield, player characters can be granted a +1 to their AC while wielding two weapons. You no longer have to use light weapons in order to be eligible for two-waist fighting. Although this may not seem like a big deal, it allows you to move up to 1d8 damage weapons (like longswords or rapiers) and makes it more likely that magic weapons can be incorporated into your character.

Dual Wielding: The Good

Two-waffe fighting has the obvious advantage of allowing you to deal with bad guys twice in one turn using your favorite light weapons. This is great for abilities like Rage damage or Divine Smite that are activated each time you hit. This is great if you have an important ability such as Sneak Attack that requires you to hit. You have an additional benefit when fighting enemy spellcasters: more hits means that the other guy must make more constitution saving throws in order to maintain concentration.

Dual Wielding: The Bad

TWF is not good for martial characters. It means that you have to give up two important things: an extra +2AC when wearing a shield and the possibility of having a greater damage die when using non-light weapons. Certain feat combinations that the non-light weapons provide, like Great Weapon Master or Polearm Master, are not available if you sacrifice them.

Why should you choose TWF?

The Melee characters that forgo a shield get to choose a weapon from an armory’s bigger damage dealers. They are more likely to suffer damage deaths in the range of 2d6 to 2d12s/2d6. Some classes do not have the proficiency to use big hitters. Instead, they focus on Dexterity. Even if you achieve proficiency, there may be abilities that work better using TWF or you might prefer to have your PC use two weapons. It all depends on who you are and what your character is.

Dex-based characters will generally get the most from two-waist fighting because they use Finesse weapons which have a lower damage die than their Strength based counterparts. A rapier is the most damaging finesse weapon. It is only a D8. This means that the trade to use d6 or d4 light weapons is minimal and could actually lead to an increase in damage from the bonus attack. However, strength-based characters have access more powerful weapons that can be combined with feats for even greater hits (such as Great Weapon Master or Polearm Master). If you only have the damage potential to make your decision, this makes it more difficult.

Who is Dual Wielding best for?

  • Rogues: Having an extra chance to activate your Sneak Attack can help increase your damage over time. The additional d4 and d6 damage also helps! This is especially powerful for the Swashbuckler Subclass because it allows you to disengage from multiple enemies at once.
  • Fighters – The fighting style does more damage than the standard, so you can be very competitive in damage even if you don’t invest much.
  • Paladins This might not fit with the images some people have of Paladins. However, the more hits you get, the greater your chances to use Divine Smite. This is especially true when you reach level 11. It adds 1d8 radiant damage to each hit. This is worth noting: Paladins have access to the 1st spell Holy Favor that will give 1d4 radiant damage to every hit regardless of who they attack.
  • Barbarians Rage damage is applied on every hit. This means you can get another dose with your shiny new bonus attack! This is especially useful for subclasses like the Ancestral Guardian that activate their abilities when they hit or attack a target. You can also affect more enemies every turn.

Who is Dual Wielding Most Useful for ?

  • Rangers – You would think that two weapons would be ideal for a who gets the fighting mode by default. But it’s worth noting that Rangers might miss Hunter’s Mark, which is a competitor for their bonus action . This is something you should consider when determining the action economy for your character.
  • Monks This class already has a bonus attack in their Martial Arts feature. Dual wielding is not an option for them.

Characters must be able to use their shield as a weapon. However, being a hero requires them to be able to handle juggling and other tasks. Have you ever had to file a guild complaint that your friends were killing the enemy too quickly or being too cool while doing it?

You might prefer to mix magic and melee. If so, the ultimate Cleric spells will meet all of your holy needs. Register for the best adventuring newsletter to get more Dungeons and Dragons resources. Your increasingly light coin purse will be grateful!

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