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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\$
    – NotArch
    Feb 20, 2019 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, 2019 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\$ Feb 20, 2019 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, 2019 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\$
    – NotArch
    Feb 20, 2019 at 20:05

1 Answer 1

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

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:

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

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\$ Feb 20, 2019 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, 2019 at 1:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks so much. I going to pass this to the DM. You guys are awesome, really appreciated \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21, 2019 at 14:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jacco Spinning up my calculator, I ended up reproducing the exact same results. However, I do have a theory: the value you calculated is about 1/3 of the way between the value I calculated and the value I would have calculated if I don't factor in the Bonus Action attack (which is 36.250). So my best guess is that your mistake is somewhere in that logic, i.e. it's wrongly calculating how frequently that attack should happen. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Dec 1, 2023 at 2:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Xirema I can confirm your script is correct! There was indeed an error with my bonus attack trigger logic (I did not correctly pass the number of attacks to the function that calculates the probability to score at least one critical hit). My results now match yours. Thanks for the pointer! \$\endgroup\$
    – Jacco
    Dec 2, 2023 at 21:14

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