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I'm new to D&D. I currently have one character built: a human fighter. I've given him the Two-Weapon Fighting (TWF) fighting style, as it sits nicely with his character. I'm currently at Level 3, and intend to take the Dual Wielder feat at Level 4.

I note that past Level 5, TWF starts to fall behind the Great Weapon Fighting (GWF) fighting style for damage output per round. This doesn't bother me too much but I'd like to keep up with the rest of my group. I have just been granted a wish by drawing the wish card from the Deck of Many Things, and I would like to use it to bridge the gap between the two styles regarding DPR.

I'm thinking of wishing for a pair of magic longswords with a damage modifier that increases per level. I ran over the idea with the DM and he agrees it's a reasonable wish, as I'd like to continue with the character. I am really interested in knowing how I could make this modifier match the DPR from GWF, and I don't want to create anything that will be overpowered in the early stages or underpowered further down the line.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is your "wish" the ability to cast the spell wish? Has your DM given you guidance on what you can/can't ask? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 20 at 19:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Feb 20 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I drew the wish card from the deck of many things....I ran over the idea with the DM and he agrees its a reasonable wish as i like to continue with the character. \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Turner Feb 20 at 19:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ It seems someone has some work done in this question (not exactly a duplicate) How do flat modifiers (like those from magic weapons) affect DPR comparison in GWF vs TWF? \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Feb 20 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, just wanted to confirm how the Wish was working and it sounds like it's a bit of a homebrew wish and that the DM has already allowed that and you're just looking for statistical guidance :) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 20 at 20:05
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Your real competition is the Great Weapon Master feat

Since your build takes a feat, it's only fair that an opposing build also take a feat to compare with, and the feat that most Greatweapon users take is the Great Weapon Master feat:

Great Weapon Master

You've learned to put the weight of a weapon to your advantage, letting its momentum empower your strikes. You gain the following benefits:

  • On your turn, when you score a critical hit with a melee weapon or reduce a creature to 0 hit points with one, you can make one melee weapon attack as a bonus action.
  • Before you make a melee attack with a heavy weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack's damage.

The good news is that this means both builds will be delaying their primary ability score increase until levels 6 & 8 instead of 4 & 6.

The bad news is that Great Weapon Master is a really good feat.

Below is a table that compares the average DPR of each build:

  • A GWM Fighter not currently using the second feature of their feat
  • A GWM Fighter that is using the second feature of their feat
    • Both use the first feature of their feat, when able
  • A TWF Fighter, consistently getting their Bonus Action Attack

\begin{array}{|l|r|r|r|r|r|r|} \hline \text{Name} & \text{AC 0} & \text{AC 14} & \text{AC 16} & \text{AC 18} & \text{AC 20} & \text{AC 26}\\ \hline \text{L1 Greatsword x1} & 11.183 & 7.217 & 6.083 & 4.950 & 3.817 & 0.983\\ \hline -\text{Feat Not Available}- & -- & -- & -- & -- & -- & --\\ \hline \text{L1 Dual Swords x2} & 12.700 & 8.150 & 6.850 & 5.550 & 4.250 & 1.000\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L4 Greatsword x1} & 11.743 & 7.578 & 6.388 & 5.198 & 4.008 & 1.033\\ \hline \text{L4 Greatsword (GWM) x1} & 21.718 & 8.278 & 6.038 & 3.798 & 1.558 & 1.558\\ \hline \text{L4 Dual Swords x2} & 14.700 & 9.450 & 7.950 & 6.450 & 4.950 & 1.200\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L5 Greatsword x2} & 23.457 & 16.326 & 13.948 & 11.571 & 9.194 & 2.063\\ \hline \text{L5 Greatsword (GWM) x2} & 43.383 & 18.773 & 14.298 & 9.823 & 5.349 & 3.111\\ \hline \text{L5 Dual Swords x3} & 22.050 & 15.300 & 13.050 & 10.800 & 8.550 & 1.800\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L6 Greatsword x2} & 25.450 & 18.982 & 16.395 & 13.809 & 11.222 & 3.461\\ \hline \text{L6 Greatsword (GWM) x2} & 45.376 & 21.954 & 17.269 & 12.585 & 7.901 & 3.216\\ \hline \text{L6 Dual Swords x3} & 24.900 & 18.525 & 15.975 & 13.425 & 10.875 & 3.225\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L8 Greatsword x2} & 27.442 & 21.849 & 19.052 & 16.256 & 13.459 & 5.069\\ \hline \text{L8 Greatsword (GWM) x2} & 47.369 & 25.345 & 20.451 & 15.556 & 10.662 & 3.321\\ \hline \text{L8 Dual Swords x3} & 27.750 & 22.050 & 19.200 & 16.350 & 13.500 & 4.950\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L9 Greatsword x2} & 27.442 & 23.247 & 20.451 & 17.654 & 14.857 & 6.467\\ \hline \text{L9 Greatsword (GWM) x2} & 47.369 & 27.792 & 22.898 & 18.004 & 13.109 & 3.321\\ \hline \text{L9 Dual Swords x3} & 27.750 & 23.475 & 20.625 & 17.775 & 14.925 & 6.375\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L11 Greatsword x3} & 41.116 & 34.831 & 30.641 & 26.450 & 22.260 & 9.690\\ \hline \text{L11 Greatsword (GWM) x3} & 70.971 & 41.640 & 34.307 & 26.974 & 19.641 & 4.976\\ \hline \text{L11 Dual Swords x4} & 37.000 & 31.300 & 27.500 & 23.700 & 19.900 & 8.500\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L13 Greatsword x3} & 41.116 & 36.926 & 32.736 & 28.546 & 24.355 & 11.785\\ \hline \text{L13 Greatsword (GWM) x3} & 70.971 & 45.306 & 37.973 & 30.641 & 23.308 & 4.976\\ \hline \text{L13 Dual Swords x4} & 37.000 & 33.200 & 29.400 & 25.600 & 21.800 & 10.400\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L17 Greatsword x3} & 41.116 & 39.021 & 34.831 & 30.641 & 26.450 & 13.880\\ \hline \text{L17 Greatsword (GWM) x3} & 70.971 & 48.973 & 41.640 & 34.307 & 26.974 & 4.976\\ \hline \text{L17 Dual Swords x4} & 37.000 & 35.100 & 31.300 & 27.500 & 23.700 & 12.300\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L20 Greatsword x4} & 54.760 & 51.970 & 46.389 & 40.809 & 35.228 & 18.486\\ \hline \text{L20 Greatsword (GWM) x4} & 94.522 & 65.224 & 55.458 & 45.692 & 35.925 & 6.627\\ \hline \text{L20 Dual Swords x5} & 46.250 & 43.875 & 39.125 & 34.375 & 29.625 & 15.375\\ \hline \end{array}

This table includes the Bonus Action Attack granted to Great Weapon Masters on a critical hit, which amounts to a ~1-2 DPR increase for Greatsword attacks. Also, the AC0 column is an important reference, but doesn't generally represent realistic gameplay, so don't heed it too much.

As you can see, you'll actually remain surprisingly competitive with the fighter for awhile, and you'll even be on top for a brief moment at level 8, when your ability modifier is dominating the overall DPR, but you'll fall behind once you get up to levels 11, 13, 17, etc. where the major changes to DPR are the result of improved Extra Attacks and Proficiency Bonus Gains, which benefit the GWF Fighter a lot more. And in either case, as you get near level 20, your DPR definitely falls off regardless.

So this begs the question: how much of a boost do you need to stay competitive? It depends on what you plan to compete with:

  • The "normal mode" for GWF Fighters is better against very high AC targets
  • The "GWM mode" for GWF Fighters is better against low AC targets

+1 weapon at level 11, +2 at level 20

If the weapon gains a +1 modifier at level 11, and a +2 modifier at level 20 (probably scaling based on what kinds of magic weapons are normally available at that level; so the bonus should be +1/+2 on top of other magic weapon bonuses) your DPR will keep up with the GWF Fighter rather nicely:

\begin{array}{|l|r|r|r|r|r|r|} \hline \text{Name} & \text{AC 0} & \text{AC 14} & \text{AC 16} & \text{AC 18} & \text{AC 20} & \text{AC 26}\\ \hline -\text{snip}- & & & & & & \\ \hline \text{L11 Greatsword x3} & 41.116 & 34.831 & 30.641 & 26.450 & 22.260 & 9.690\\ \hline \text{L11 Greatsword (GWM) x3} & 70.971 & 41.640 & 34.307 & 26.974 & 19.641 & 4.976\\ \hline \text{L11 Dual Swords [+1] x4} & 40.800 & 36.600 & 32.400 & 28.200 & 24.000 & 11.400\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L13 Greatsword x3} & 41.116 & 36.926 & 32.736 & 28.546 & 24.355 & 11.785\\ \hline \text{L13 Greatsword (GWM) x3} & 70.971 & 45.306 & 37.973 & 30.641 & 23.308 & 4.976\\ \hline \text{L13 Dual Swords [+1] x4} & 40.800 & 38.700 & 34.500 & 30.300 & 26.100 & 13.500\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L17 Greatsword x3} & 41.116 & 39.021 & 34.831 & 30.641 & 26.450 & 13.880\\ \hline \text{L17 Greatsword (GWM) x3} & 70.971 & 48.973 & 41.640 & 34.307 & 26.974 & 4.976\\ \hline \text{L17 Dual Swords [+1] x4} & 40.800 & 40.800 & 36.600 & 32.400 & 28.200 & 15.600\\ \hline \\ \hline \text{L20 Greatsword x4} & 54.760 & 51.970 & 46.389 & 40.809 & 35.228 & 18.486\\ \hline \text{L20 Greatsword (GWM) x4} & 94.522 & 65.224 & 55.458 & 45.692 & 35.925 & 6.627\\ \hline \text{L20 Dual Swords [+2] x5} & 55.750 & 55.750 & 52.875 & 47.125 & 41.375 & 24.125\\ \hline \end{array}

It's not perfect, but in general, you'll compete for DPR against high AC creatures (which are usually what we care about) quite well, even exceeding a GWF fighter depending on the level.

A breakdown on the methodology being used in this post can be found here: https://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/49267660#49267660

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for doing this - amazingly clear. The stats above are based on the idea of adding half your proficiency bonus (rounding up) to attacks and damageÉ Hence the +1 +2 modifiers? \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Turner Feb 20 at 22:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I picked the +1 and +2 modifiers because they seemed to achieve the goal of getting TWF fighting to nearly hit the DPR of GWF fighting. It was just some trial + error. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Feb 21 at 1:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks so much. I going to pass this to the DM. You guys are awesome, really appreciated \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Turner Feb 21 at 14:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Xirema Could you potentially go through the process of how you calculated those numbers here chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/90441/… \$\endgroup\$ – rpgstar Mar 1 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JonathanTurner FYI: I went back and revisited my calculations, and it turns out that my algorithm was somewhat inflating the GWM stats, especially at higher ACs. I amended my conclusion to suggest the correct course of action is to give the +1 at level 11, instead of level 5. The level 5 +1 weapon will actually cause the TWF Fighter to dominate the DPR between levels 5 and 10. It's not by much, but if you're trying to achieve a near-perfect balance between GWF and TWF, you should give the +1 bonus at 11 instead of 5. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Mar 1 at 17:26

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