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I have an idea for a Goliath character. Basically I want it to dual-wield lances without a mount and just charge in and hit with both weapons.
I’m newer to the game so I’m not so sure how to do this. I am hoping to play a cleric. Is this even possible?
Is a mount needed? If so how would damage for the charge work? Would it count damage for both lances in the charge?

It would start at 10 but I’d be willing until 15 – and I need to understand what feats I need to use to make this possible

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    – NotArch
    Nov 10, 2020 at 19:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related on Can you dual wield lances? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Nov 10, 2020 at 19:42

4 Answers 4

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You need a mount and the Dual Wielder feat to dual-wield lances

Firstly, dual-wielding follows the two-weapon fighting rules. Normally, you can only dual-wield using "light" melee weapons, but lances do not have the light property.

But there is a way around this. The Dual Wielder feat allows you to "use two-weapon fighting even when the one-handed melee weapons you are wielding aren't light." The key, though, is one-handed. From the special property of the lance, "a lance requires two hands to wield when you aren't mounted." There is no feature to my knowledge which allows you to wield a two-handed weapon in one hand, so the only way to treat lances as one-handed (and thus be able to dual-wield them) is to be mounted.

This was covered in the question Can you dual wield lances?

The way attacking would look is like this: you use your mount's movement to approach the enemy. You use your action to Attack with one lance, dealing 1d12+STR damage on a hit. Then you use your bonus action to use two-weapon fighting to attack with your other lance, dealing 1d12 damage on a hit.

It is worth noting that the second attack does not add your strength modifier to damage. This is one of the limitations of two-weapon fighting. You can avoid this limitation by taking one level of Fighter or two levels of Ranger to get the Two-Weapon Fighting Fighting Style. (While Paladin also gets Fighting Styles, Two-Weapon Fighting is not one of their options.)

Note also that your second attack requires a bonus action. You only get one bonus action per turn. This means that if you have used your bonus action for something else, such as casting healing word, then you can't use two-weapon fighting on the same turn.

As a final complication, playing a cleric and dual wielding weapons will cause some complications when casting spells with somatic components. (Fortunately, material components can be satisfied by wearing your Holy Symbol visibly (see Adventuring Gear).) Because you are holding a weapon in both hands, you cannot use your hands to cast spells. This substantially limits the list of cleric spells you can cast.

Fortunately, feats come to our rescue again. If you take the War Caster feat, one of the benefits is

You can perform the somatic components of spells even when you have weapons or a shield in one or both hands.

So if you want to be a two-weapon fighting cleric (whether you use lances or another weapon) the War Caster feat would be very useful.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just out of curiosity, if you have a lance in each hand, how are you controlling your horse? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Nov 11, 2020 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells In real life, a knight and his mount would train extensively together, so that the knight could use his knees to direct the mount and the mount would know what nudges from the knees meant. The heroes of D&D no doubt do the same. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 11, 2020 at 19:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Fair. I guess this is part of why you're paying 400 gp for a warhorse. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Nov 11, 2020 at 20:10
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You'll need a mount or to compromise on the size of lances

First, to use two weapon fighting with non-light weapons you'll need the Dual Wielder feat (PHB p. 165). With it you can do so with any one handed melee weapon. Unfortunately, the lance's special property includes:

a lance requires two hands to wield when you aren't mounted.

So, unless you are mounted they aren't one handed and thus can't be dual wielded.

The alternative to mounting up, is to downsize your "lances" to spears. Spears, for when you want your lances to be smaller.

Spears are one handed simple melee weapons. Running down the differences:

  • Spears down have reach, but on the other hand they also don't give disadvantage when attacking within 5 ft. (The other part of the lance's special property)

  • The damage of spears are 1d6 rather than 1d12, which is a rather notable downgrade.

  • Spears also have the thrown and versatile properties, which aren't relevant for your main plan, but would be useful if you need some reach and/or a hand free to cast spells.

  • Spears are lighter and cheaper though that's usually not too useful.

  • Spears are simple rather than martial, which leaves you much freer on what domains you can choose and still be proficient with your weapons.

Additional Advice

Since you are going for a into the fray Cleric and use Stength based weapons, you'll probably want to use heavy armour (so you aren't reliant on Dexterity for a good AC). Without multiclassing you can achieve this through a number of cleric domains.

As explained by BBeast's answer normal two weapon fighting means the bonus action ("off hand") attack does not add the Strength modifier to the damage roll. You can add that damage if you have the Two Weapon Fighting style, obtainable via multiclassing into Fighter or two levels of Ranger. Do note that either multiclass with get you proficiency with martial weapons (say if you want to upgrade your spears into tridents for added prongs, but not other advantage), but if you take your first level as Fighter (and then multiclass into Cleric) you can get heavy armour proficiency with any cleric domain. Multiclassing will obviously delay your spellcaster progression, but there is not – outside of playtest material – a way to get a fighting style outside of it.

Back on the topic of cleric domains, you'll want to note that they (broadly) split into being designed for cantrips or weapons. One of the manifestations of this is the proficiency in martial weapons and/or heavy armour. The other is the 8th level feature, which is either Potent Spellcasting (which improves the damage of cantrips) or Divine Strike which let's you add a d8 of a thematically appropriate damage type to one hit with a weapon per turn. You'll probably want to check that you're grabbing one of the ones with Divine Strike.

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You can't dual-wield lances without a mount.

Lances are only one-handed weapons when mounted, even if you're a goliath or a centaur, so you can't dual-wield lances without some kind of mount. You could dual wield spears, but not lances in specific.

You need a feat to dual-wield larger weapons.

The two-weapon fighting rules (PHB p.195) say:

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you're holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you're holding in the other hand.

Since spears and lances aren't light weapons, you can't two-weapon fight with them. But you can take a feat (PHB p.165) to unlock that ability:

Dual Wielder

You master fighting with two weapons, gaining the following benefits:

[...] You can use two-weapon fighting even when the one handed melee weapons you are wielding aren't light.

Charging doesn't really exist in 5th Edition.

In previous editions of D&D, charging was a kind of important strategy, but it doesn't really exist anymore; instead, we have the "Charger" feat for players who want that to be a major part of their style. Similarly, unlike prior editions, lances gain no special effect from charging or any other specific kind of attack; they change handedness based on whether you're mounted or not, but that's the only special rule. You can do something like what you're describing, but based on your extended questions, I don't think it's going to work the way you want it to.

The Charger feat says, in part, that when you use your action to Dash (that is, increase your move speed, what we used to call a "double move"), you can make a single melee attack as a bonus action and possibly get a bonus on that attack roll.

This is fundamentally incompatible with two-weapon fighting. As I quoted above, when you're two-weapon fighting, you use an action to attack with one weapon, and then you can then use your bonus action to make a single attack with your second weapon. You only get one bonus action per turn, so if you're spending your action to Dash and a bonus action to attack with Charger, then you haven't used your action to attack, and you don't have a bonus action left to make a second attack in any case.

In Summary

So you could take the "Dual Wielder" feat and have your goliath go running into battle on foot with a spear in each hand and attack with both of them (but not with lances). You could take the "Charger" feat and be able to move at high speed and get an attack bonus on the single attack you get to make. But you can't really do both at once, charging in and stabbing with two spears at once.

If you just like the image, then that's fine -- take Dual Wielder and have fun with a cool character! That's the point of the game! But if you're trying to pull off a specific combo in hopes of dealing super-damage, I'm afraid it isn't going to work.

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Be the mount you want to see in the world

BBeast's answer covers the rules on wielding two lances. As they note, the prospective lance wielder must be mounted. Per the mounted combat rules on page 198 of the Player's Handbook, in order to be a mount, a creature must meet the following qualifications:

  • Willing creature
  • At least one size category larger than the rider
  • Has an appropriate anatomy (as decided by your GM)

A Goliath meets the first two requirements for a Small rider, and with the GM's approval may meet the third. Furthermore, Lances are not Heavy weapons, and so a Small creature can wield (and dual-wield) lances without penalty. Thus, if you can get another player and the GM to sign on to the idea, you can be the mount for a dual lancer (or, if you prefer, they can be the mount for you).

Goliaths make particularly good mounts due to their Powerful Build feature, which doubles their carrying capacity and thus allows them to move freely while carrying a fully armored Small knight. The Goliath steed will want to choose a class that offers enhanced mobility (Barbarian would be particularly suitable) and will benefit from the Mobile feat, which both increases movement speed and prevents opportunity attacks from creatures that you target with melee attacks (PHB p. 168). The rider will benefit from the Mounted Combatant feat, which allows them to take attacks directed at their mount and makes them harder to dismount (ibid.).

The main complication when riding another player character is that the steed is an independent mount. An independent mount takes its own turn as normal, but the rider must ready actions if they want to attack at a certain point in the mount's movement. This means they cannot bring both lances to bear, since dual wielding only allows you to attack with the second weapon as a bonus action when you take the Attack action on your own turn (PHB p. 195).

It's an unusual tactic, and will require some buy-in from your GM and fellow players, but a Small dual lancer mounted on a Goliath is surprisingly well supported by the rules and has some potential as a frontline fighting team.

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