Two-weapon fighting comparisons?

I was very surprised to see the change TWF has undergone for the Conan RPG. (I did a forum search on the topic but didn't find anything, so I decided to start a new thread)

Care to remember? In D&D 3E, you needed a plethora of feats to get even halfway to par with TWF (it was easier with a Ranger character): TWF, Ambidexterity, ITWF, GTWF. And still, you always lugged those -2 TH penalties around. Effectively, a TWFer was generally outperformed by, for instance, a Greatsword wielder.

In D&D 3.5, TWF was made somewhat easier, but only marginally more effective, and you still had those -2 penalties.

Now in Conan, most classes get TWC for free, you need just one feat slot for Improved TWC (Borderer gets it for free, too), and finally, you just don't have those -2 penalties anymore. To get a fighter like that in 3E, you had to take a Tempest PrC and level it out, neglecting skills and everything.

So now I'm wondering: might TWC now be overpowered?
- A Greatsword-wielding character does 2d10 base damage per attack
- A TWC character with two short swords does 1d8 base damage but has twice as many attacks --> 2d8 base damage.
- A TWC character with War sword and Short sword does 1d12 + 1d8 base damage (but one Weapon Focus feat short).

So far, so good. Now imagine the former TWC character with Pirate or Thief levels. While having a lower overall Attack bonus (read: Hit chance), such a character can reap double benefit from every Sneak Attack he scores.
That way, a Bor5/Thf5 - BAB +8/+3 gets four attacks per round, with a maximum damage output of 4d8+12d8+mods, not counting crits.
That's an average die roll of 72 points provided he can use sneak attack.

Compared to that, a Greatsword fighter of equal level (BAB +10/+5) will roll an average damage of 22 points (though with a slightly better AP value).

I reckon that with all the new Defense, AP and Finesse rules, figures can't be compared that easily anymore, so what do you say? Is that a big gaping hole in the game balance, or do other factors keep it level with the other melee fighting styles?


Truckle the Uncivil said:
I reckon that with all the new Defense, AP and Finesse rules, figures can't be compared that easily anymore, so what do you say? Is that a big gaping hole in the game balance, or do other factors keep it level with the other melee fighting styles?
Other factors keep it level.

You can try taking a look at this thread Somewhere around page 2 or 3 I start doing a detailed breakdown about just how much pain a THF can bring. The point isn't a comparison with TWFing but it should be interesting.

To surmise. Since 1)THF get 1.5 Str and 2x PA 2) big weapons have big AP and 3) massive damage is at 20 points the best way to kill lots of people real quick is with a good old fashioned greatsword-PA smackdown. If you are a sneak attacker then sure, you can really get some mileage out of TWF but then you are also in the same pickle as a melee rogue in DnD: no armor + lousy HP = short life expectancy. If you happen to be facing off against a horde of unarmored mooks then TWFing can be a good choice even for somebody who normally is a THF, but that is why most classes get the feat for free: in the Conan stories men of war are very versatile and able to pull off a lot of stunts. And because shields can now give as much as +4 to your DV the option to sword 'n board is still valid as well.

Long story short:
-if you want to relieably kill stuff as quickly as possible THF is king of the hill
-if you want to have the highest potential damage output/round then TWF is your choice (esp if you SA)
-if you want to live to see tomorrow then sword 'n board is a perfect fit
-finesse lets high-Dex characters keep pace with high-Str characters when fighting opponents in light or medium armor, it allows character builds other than the high Str jugernaut to remain viable
-everybody should be able to fight at range but archery is usually beaten by melee

This is what my analysis of the rules tells me and so far the events in my games have borne this out.

Hope that helps.


And in the vien of that insidious thread (shudders), keep in mind too that the off-hqand weapon when engaging in TWFing has to be light. Typically, these aren't the types that dish out major damage and are more appropriate for Finesses attacks. Essentially, what you're trying to accomplish at -2 or -4 to all your attack rolls is a "best of both worlds" scenario if you choose to fight with two weapons.

In other words, what you'd be doing (unless you're just not paying attention) is to take a wolloping weapon in one fist (high damage, high AP bonus, decent threat range) and ballance your attacks with a light Finessing weapon in the other that will slide by with huge ammounts of damage but more infrequently because it can't slice through armor as well (due to low AP, but with a moderate damage and giid threat range and crit multiplier).

Because you're increasing the rate of attacks with TWF, you open up the odds that you're Crit or roll to ignore Armor DR with the Finesse attack. However, you also at least double your chances of missing and you can't use a shield.*

That's the 3 wat trade off: TWF for many attacks with good potential for lots of damage infrequently, THF for fewer ataacks that are more sure to do damage and eliminate opponents more quickly, or single weapon and shield to get the mid-ground.

* What I'd like to see is both attacks with the adjustments factored in when engaing in TWF add to DEF Parry. In other words, If I'm adjust to +4/+4 with my two weapons, my base DEF would be adjusted +8 should I choose to Parry instead of Dodge. This would stack with the various Defensive Fighting and all that too, so trying to get through a guy blocking your strikes with two swords is damned tough, but his damage potential isn't that great. Maybe a Feat...


I love the THF in Conan :D .
It has encouraged the barbarian character in my group to take improved unarmed so he can strike with his sword then punch in the face! I think it's great that it adds another tatical element to the game and weapon use that was lacking. No weapon, or combination, is right for all occasions! Big sword against unarmed guys with only half a dozen HPs? two weapons would be better. Two weapons against a big guy in Platemail..No thanks!! That would be like trying to kill someone by a thousand pin pricks! Satisfying maybe, but who has the time?!?! :lol:
Don't forget that if you hit the guy twice with two lighter weapons, even though the damage seems comparable, the defender also gets his DR against both attacks! I love it and don't think its unbalanced, the baddies all get to do it too! :twisted:

Okay, just what I suspected: I just don't have figured in all the specific Conan rules yet.

Aaaah... Massive Damage. Now there's a trick. I hadn't realized the threshold is just 20 points in Conan. In 3E it was 50 points, and in our campaigns that hardly ever occured. Same with PA -- hadn't factored in the double bonus yet.
Together with the fact that more attacks means more DR, the entire system should work out very nicely.

Thanks for pointing that out. :)


Stronger and stronger armore mitigate it in Conan because the 20pts has to be taken after subtracting the DR from the total damage. but at later levels (like 6+ even) that becomes a walk in the park.

I'm sure that's why THF is built in and doesn't require feats to be maderately useful like it does in D&D3.X.


As I read it today, the two weapon fighting gives you -4 -4 to prime and offhand, if your using equal or a lighter weapon, where do you get -2/-2 from, i dont see it? or maybe its a update in the newest conan rpg book, I have the one that came about about a year ago.

Whats in MU ? any one know?


Bottom page 183, top of page 184.

Normally, TWF engenders a -6/-6 penalty to both strikes, but if you take the TWF combat proficiency (Feat) then it reduces that by -2 to a -4/-4 penalty. If the off-hand weapon is light, it drops right down to a -2/-2 penalty period. Presumable, with the TWF proficiency and a light off-hand weapon, the latter effectively reduces the panalties to 0/0.


Sooooo technically I could ( as a evil NPC of course) get away with using two Zhaibar knives at 0/0 cause its listed as one handed?or would that be -4/-4 but 2 short swords would be 0/0 with the TWF feat?

And where are the stats for a MAUL/Greathammer in all of this? remember from the movie?


Zhaibar knives are not light weapons. They are in the One-handed Melee Weapon category. If you were using two Ghanta Knives, and you have the TWF Feat, then the TWF penalty is reduced to 0/0.

All light weapons can be Finessed and the few One-handed or Two-handed puncturing weapons that can be used as such say so in thier descriptions.