Regarding dual-wielding as outlined in the 2012-01-28 (latest as of posting) playtest packet for D&D Next; with two light weapons equipped – one in each hand – do both attacks made on a turn suffer the attack-2 penalty, or just one?

My confusion stems from their structuring of the sentences of the rules.

Two-Weapon Fighting: When you wield two melee weapons at the same time, you can attack with both of them using a single action, provided at least one of them is a light weapon. You take a −2 penalty to both attack rolls, and you use only the light weapon’s damage dice to determine its damage; you add no bonuses to it. If both weapons are light, only one of them is limited in this way (you choose).

Because the "take a … penalty to both attack rolls" and the "add no bonuses" penalties are in the same sentence which is followed by the condition stipulating that if both weapons are light only one weapon is affected. Thus is the condition only modifying the second of the two penalties – "add no bonuses" – or does it affect both?

Additionally if the player has taken the Dual-Wielding feat for their character and uses heavy weapons, do both of the penalties apply to the now two attacks made with their weapons or are they now equivalent to light weapons for the purposes of the penalties?


2 Answers 2


I think its pretty clear what the intent was -- there are two effects:

  • A -2 penalty on both rolls
  • the stipulation that "you use only the light weapon’s damage dice to determine its damage; you add no bonuses to it"

The latter can be described as a limit, but the former probably wouldn't be.

Anyway, make sure to give them feedback on the wording!

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @b33f3r Since the point of the open beta is to get feedback on exactly this sort of thing, it's a very good idea to give it. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 15:36

I believe what they meant was:

  • When wielding a heavy and a light weapon: make the attack roll for the heavy weapon suffering a -2 penalty to the attack. Provided it hits roll the damage die and add the appropriate damage modifier. You would then make your second attack, with the light weapon. Roll the attack suffering the same -2 penalty and, provided it hits, roll just the damage die for the weapon adding no modifier.
  • When wielding two light weapons: Make the attack roll for the first attack with no penalty. Provided it hits roll the damage and add the appropriate modifier. Then, roll the attack for the second attack still not taking the penalty. Provided it hits, roll just the damage modifier and add no modifier.

As for the question on the Dual Wielding feat:

Dual Wielding

martial feat

You are skilled at fighting with two weapons at once-a light weapon in one hand and a heftier weapon in the other

Benefit: When you fight with two melee weapons at the same time one of them doesn't need to be a light weapon, provided you are proficent eith both of the weapons.

I would say that the feat says nothing about making the off hand heavy weapon equivalent to a light weapon. It simply states that the player is not limited to having his off hand having to be a light weapon. Therefore, i would think that both attacks would take the -2 penalty and the second attack would have the damage restriction of not adding the modifier.

I want to add that all three of these options have clear advantages and disadvantages making Dual wielding an interesting, and devastatingly powerful, option for your character.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yuraiel I believe is correct for everything except: The Feat grants the benefit that you can use Heavy/Light without invoking a -2 penalty to attack. As opposed to without the feat you get -2/-2. Meaning you can use a Weapon without the Light keyword, in your Main Hand so let's say a (Battle Axe) and then use a light key word weapon: (Scimitar) without invoking a -2 penalty. But you would still get -2 penalty to both if you used a Heavy and a Heavy. \$\endgroup\$
    – user9236
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 18:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why are you ignoring the penalty to attack when using two light weapons? What part of the rules would imply that? Good on you for giving an answer to the Dual Wielding part of the question, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – leokhorn
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 21:13

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