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I understand that you only get your bonus offhand attack (or multiples with improved/greater feats) when using a full round attack. So my question is, if you're just making a standard action attack with your main-hand weapon, do you get the two-weapon penalty on your attack roll? Or does it only apply when you are making offhand attacks as well in the same round?

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2 Answers 2

The penalty only applies if you are actively using the Two-Weapon Fighting option

Which you can only do as a full-attack.

What you have in your other hand (e.g. nothing, or Unarmed Strike, a shield, or a Shield Bash, a torch, or improvised weapon, or a knife as a light weapon) makes no difference to you unless you actively use the other weapon, and then only if you choose to activate Two-Weapon Fighting for the extra attack.

That’s the deal: +extra attack, −2 attack penalty. Note that if you have multiple attacks for some other reason (BAB +6 or higher, haste, etc.), you could use different weapons for each attack without penalty. You only take the penalty when you get extra attacks from two-weapon fighting.

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No. If you're making a single attack, you do not take any two-weapon fighting related penalties.

It's the same thing as if you're using a sword & shield and only attack with the sword, even though technically you could attack with the shield as well, you don't take any penalties unless you actually do.

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