Netherek wrote:Not directly, but by advocating that PA should be the same regardless of weapon you are saying that 2 broads are better than a great. If you want the math, look at earlier posts.

Okay, let's do the math

*with armour*. I'll use my rules for Power Attack, so we can see how badly two handed weapons are nerfed and dual wield overpowered. I'm ignoring critical hits here.

Please check my math. I didn't find any problems when I checked it, and that makes me suspicious.

**Case One**
First lets consider a 10 Str character with a +5 Base Attack Bonus (BAB) and the Power Attack feat. That's a melee attack bonus of +5. He's confronted with an opponent wearing a mail hauberk, a steel cap and a large shield. Lets say DR 7 and Defense 14. That's

*medium* armour, not heavy yet.

Should this character fight with two broadswords, or one greatsword?

No Power Attack
Without using power attack the broadsword deals 1d10 damage and has an Armour Piercing of 3. The average damage, with primary hand or off hand, is 1.3 due to the minimum of 1 (damage possibilities 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,2,3).

The greatsword does 2d10 with an AP of 4. It doesn't penetrate the armour either, so its average damage after armour is 4.76.

The greatsword needs a 9 (60%) to hit defence 14, a single broadsword would also need a 9 (60%), but dual wielded broadswords need a 13 to hit (40%).

So the average damage per round is:

**Single broadsword** 0.78

**Two broadswords** 1.04 combined (not each!)

**Greatsword** 2.856

Obviously, that medium armour is doing its job well. Lets swing a bit harder, and see what happens.

Power Attack 3
The broadsword now deals 1d10+3 damage with AP3. The average damage, with primary hand or off hand, is 2.5 (damage possibilities 1,1,1,1,1,2,3,4,5,6). The greatsword does 2d10+3 AP4 under my "nerfed" rules, with an average of 7.1 per successful hit.

The greatsword and single broadsword now need a 12 (45%) to connect, and the dual wield needs at 16 (25%) with each hand. That gives an average per round of

**Single broadsword** 1.125

**Two broadswords** 1.25 combined

**Greatsword** 3.195

That's a bit better.

Power Attack 5
The broadsword now deals 1d10+5 AP3, with an average of 3.8 per hit. The greatsword does 2d10+5 AP4, with and average of 9.35 per hit.

The greatsword and single broadsword now need a 14 (35%) to connect, and the dual wield needs a 18 (15%) with each hand. That gives an average per round of

**Single broadsword** 1.33

**Two broadswords** 1.14 combined

**Greatsword** 3.2725

The inaccuaracy of using two broadswords has actually decreased our character's average damage! That's a good result - using two broadswords makes you look like a tool.

Note that even with a nerfed Power Attack, the two handed weapon is still easily the better choice for dealing with medium armour. In either case, he needs to score a critical hit to cause massive damage. Note that the greatsword and the single broadsword only need an attack action, the dual wield needs a full attack action.

But this guy's a bit of a wimp. Surely the extra damage and accuracy of a character with a more Howardian strength will help the dual wield character.

**Case Two**
Now lets consider a 18 Str character with a +5 BAB and the Power Attack feat. That's a melee attack bonus of +9. He's also confronted with an opponent wearing a mail hauberk, a steel cap and a large shield. That's DR 7 and Defense 14. That's still medium armour.

Should this character fight with two broadswords, or one greatsword?

No Power Attack
Without using power attack the broadsword deals 1d10+4 damage and has an Armour Piercing of 7 with his primary hand, and 1d10+2 with an Armour Piercing of 5 with his off hand. The primary weapon pierces the armour, the off hand does not. That gives an average of 6.5 per hit with the primary weapon, and an average of 2 points of damage for a hit with the off hand broadsword.

The greatsword does 2d10+6 with an AP of 8. It also penetrates the armour, so its average damage after armour is 14 points per hit. The greatsword will cause massive damage with a non-crit damage roll 17 (10%), the broadsword cannot without a critical hit.

The greatsword needs a 5 (80%) to hit defence 14, a single broadsword would also need a 5 (80%), but dual wielded broadswords need a 9 each hit (60%).

So the average damage per round is:

**Single broadsword** 5.2

**Two broadswords** 5.1 combined

**Greatsword** 11.2

Here the guy with two broadswords is doing less on average than the guy holding just one broadsword and a piece of ripe fruit. But my power attack rules favour dual wield, right? So let's see what happens.

Power Attack 3
The broadsword deals 1d10+7 AP7 with his primary hand, and 1d10+5 AP5 with his off hand. The primary weapon still pierces the armour, the off hand does not. That gives an average of 9.5 per hit with the primary weapon, and an average of 3.8 points of damage for a hit with the off hand broadsword.

The greatsword with my nerfed rules does 2d10+9 AP8. Its average damage after armour is 17 points per hit. The greatsword causes massive damage with a roll of 14 or more on the 2d10 (28%) (non-crit), the broadswords need a crit for massive damage)

The greatsword and single broadsword need an 8 (65%) to connect, and the dual wield needs a 12 with each hand. That gives an average per round of

**Single broadsword** 6.175

**Two broadswords** 5.985 combined

**Greatsword** 11.05

Good damage, but the dual wield is doing less than the single weapon on average, and just more then half the average damage of the greatsword.

Power Attack 5
The broadsword deals 1d10+9 AP7 with his primary hand, and 1d10+7 AP5 with his off hand. The primary weapon still pierces the armour, the off hand does not. That gives an average of 11.5 per hit with the primary hand broadsword, and an average of 5.5 points of damage for a hit with the off hand.

The greatsword with my nerfed rules does 2d10+11 AP8. Its average damage after armour is 19 points per hit. The broadsword only needs a 12 on 2d10 (45%) to cause a massive damage save, the broadswords still need crits.

The greatsword and single broadsword need an 10 (65%) to hit, and the dual wield needs a 14 (35%) with each hand. That gives an average per round of

**Single broadsword** 5.95

**Two broadswords** 6.325 combined

**Greatsword** 10.45

The dual wield is still a bad choice. All attack forms do worse with a full power attack, which makes sense from experience.

That's against medium armour. Lets see what happens against heavy armour.

**Case Three**
Lets consider against our 18 Str character with a +5 BAB and the Power Attack feat. That's a melee attack bonus of +9. He's now confronted with an opponent wearing a mail shirt, brigadine coat, a steel cap and a large shield. That's DR 9 and Defense 14, making this the first case with heavy armour.

Should our character fight with two broadswords, or one greatsword?

No Power Attack
Without using power attack the broadsword deals 1d10+4 damage and has an Armour Piercing of 7 with his primary hand, and 1d10+2 with an Armour Piercing of 5 with his off hand. neiother pierces the armour. That gives an average of 2 per hit with the primary weapon, and 1.3 per hit with the off hand broadsword. Ouch!

The greatsword does 2d10+6 with an AP of 8. It doesn't penetrate the armour either, so its average damage after armour is 8.04 per hit. Neither a broadsword nor the greatsword cannot cause massive damage without a critical hit.

The greatsword and single broadsword need a 5 (80%) to hit defence 14, but dual wielded broadswords need a 9 each hit (60%).

The average damage per round is:

**Single broadsword** 1.6

**Two broadswords** 1.98 combined

**Greatsword** 6.432

So the two handed weapon is clearly the better choice. What about with the nerfed power attack?

Power Attack 3
The broadsword deals 1d10+7 AP7 with his primary hand, and 1d10+5 AP5 with his off hand. That gives an average of 3.8 per hit with the primary weapon, and an average of 2.5 points of damage for a hit with the off hand broadsword.

The greatsword with my nerfed rules does 2d10+9 AP8. Its average damage after armour is 11 points per hit. The greatsword causes massive damage with a damage roll of 20 (1%).

The greatsword and single broadsword need an 8 (65%) to connect, and the dual wield needs a 12 with each hand. That gives an average per round of

**Single broadsword** 3.47

**Two broadswords** 2.835 combined

**Greatsword** 7.15

That heavy armour is tough. Dual wielding is not helping - better use the greatsword (and get an extra move action to boot).

Power Attack 5
The broadsword deals 1d10+9 AP7 with his primary hand, and 1d10+7 AP5 with the off hand. That gives an average of 5.5 per hit with the primary hand broadsword, and an average of 3.8 for a hit with the off hand.

The greatsword with my nerfed rules does only 2d10+11 AP8. Its average damage after armour is 13 points per hit. The broadsword needs an 18 on 2d10 (6%) to cause a massive damage save, the broadswords still need crits.

The greatsword and single broadsword need an 10 (65%) to hit, and the dual wield needs a 14 (35%) with each hand. That gives an average per round of

**Single broadsword** 3.025

**Two broadswords** 3.255 combined

**Greatsword** 7.15

So the greatsword is still the clear winner, even under the nerfed system.

But a +5 BAB isn't very high. Lets move up some levels.

**Case Four**
Our character now has a BAB of

**+10**. Lets assume he has the feats Power Attack, Weapon Focus (broadsword and greatsword), Weapon Specialization (broadsword and greatsword), and Improved Two Weapon Fighting. Those feats should heavily favour the dual wield approach, right? The character has a melee attack of +15.

Again, lets pit him against an opponent wearing a mail shirt, brigadine coat, a steel cap and a large shield. That's DR 9 and Defense 14.

No Power Attack
Without using power attack the broadsword deals 1d10+6 damage and has an Armour Piercing of 7 in the primary hand, and 1d10+4 with an Armour Piercing of 5 with his off hand. Niether weapon pierces the armour. That gives an average of 3.1 per hit with the primary broadsword, and an average of 2 points of damage for a hit with the off hand.

The greatsword does 2d10+8 with an AP of 8. It doesn't penetrate the armour either, so its average damage after armour is 10 points per hit. Neither weapon can cause massive damage without a critical hit.

The greatsword needs a 2 (95%) to hit with its first attack, and a 4 (85%) with its second, the same as a single broadsword. The double broadsword character needs a 8 (65%) for the first attack with each weapon, and a 13 (40%) for the second attack with each weapon.

The average damage per round becomes:

**Single broadsword** 5.58

**Two broadswords** 7.905 combined

**Greatsword** 9.5 single attack

**Greatsword** 18 full attack

Here the greatsword out performs the dual wield even with just a single attack. Lets see how the nerfed power attack helps the dual wield.

Power Attack 5
The broadsword deals 1d10+11 AP7 with his primary hand, and 1d10+9 AP5 with his off hand. That gives an average of 7.5 per hit with the primary weapon, and an average of 5.2 for a hit with the off hand broadsword.

The greatsword with my nerfed rules does 2d10+13 AP8. Its average damage after armour is 15 points per hit. The greatsword causes massive damage with a damage roll of 16 (15%), even without a critical hit.

The greatsword and single broadsword need an 4 (85%) to connect with their first attack, and a 9 (60%) with their second. The dual wield needs a 8 (65%) for each first attack, and a 13 (40%) with each second attack.

The average damage per round is:

**Single broadsword** 10.875

**Two broadswords** 13.65 combined

**Greatsword** 12.75 single attack

**Greatsword** 21.75 full attack

So at least the dual wield full attack action does more damage than the two-handed single attack action. But it needs to go a long way to catch the two-handed full attack action.

Let's swing even harder.

Power Attack 10
The broadsword deals 1d10+16 AP7 with his primary hand, and 1d10+14 AP5 with his off hand. That gives an average of 12.5 per hit with the primary weapon, and an average of 10.5 for a hit with the off hand broadsword.

The nerfed greatsword does 2d10+18 AP8. Its average damage after armour is a meaty 20 points per hit. The greatsword causes massive damage with a damage roll of 11 (55%), even without a critical hit! The braodswords still need criticals to cause massive damage.

The greatsword and single broadsword need an 9 (60%) to connect with their first attack, and a 14 (35%) with their second. The dual wield needs a 13 (40%) for each first attack, and a 18 (15%) with each second attack.

The average damage per round is:

**Single broadsword** 11.875

**Two broadswords** 12.65 combined

**Greatsword** 12 single attack

**Greatsword** 19 full attack, nerfed

Even with very favourable feats, the greatsword beats two broadswords. The greatsword would probably do better even without Weapon Focus (greatsword) and Weapon Specialization (greatsword).

Conclusion
(Assuming I didn't make any huge math errors)

Using two regular melee weapons sucks, as it should. Two handed weapons are the best approach to killing people in heavy armour,

*even with my reduced power attack*.

If we continue to increase the BAB, the average damage of the dual wield may increase. But as can be in the Power Attack 10 case, the rate at which two handed weapons cause massive damage saves becomes statistically significant.

It may be possible to find armour, Str, BAB and Power Attack combinations where the dual wield does better than my examples above. I seriously doubt they'll ever manage to match the two handed weapon totals, even with my altered Power Attack.

It might be interesting to see how a character with two warhammers fares against heavy armour. It would look pretty dumb, though.

Note that the above cases are not the worse cases for dual wields. It's easy to find the case where neither single handed weapon penetrates armour, while the two handed weapon does. That scenario favours two-handers even more.

I challenge anyone to calculate what non-nerfed power attacks do. I predict it will be grotesque.

The above examples do not consider finesse attacks or sneak attacks. Sneak attacks are a completely different problem.