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Does the additional off-hand attack penalty from Improved Two Weapon Fighting stack with that of the off-hand penalty from Two Weapon Fighting?

I ask because I am unsure if the -5 penalty for the additional attack granted by Improved Two Weapon Fighting stacks with the -4 offhand penalty for Two Weapon Fighting for a total of -9 or if the -5 replaces that penalty.

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What’s happening is that, with Two-Weapon Fighting, you have a −4 penalty (note that this is only −2 if you have a Light weapon in your offhand) on all attacks. When you have Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, you get a second bonus attack at −5, because effectively your iterative is now getting a bonus offhand attack.

So, if you have BAB +6/+1, and only Two-Weapon Fighting, and you are using a Light weapon in the offhand, your attack routine is this:

Main hand +4, offhand +4, iterative −1

With Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, that iterative also gets a bonus attack, so you have this:

Main hand +4, offhand +4, 1st main iterative −1, 2nd offhand iterative −1

If you have a one-handed weapon in your offhand for some reason, subtract an additional −2 from these, since in that case the TWF penalty is −4. You should basically never do that, though.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ i am unfortunately defying what a D&D player Shouldnt do. and weilding a 1 handed weapon in my offhand. this was more or less a non optimal choice made because I sometimes do not care for the "Correct" Method. Nor is this character likely to see play. unless a certain Gnome Beguiler dies at around level 10. \$\endgroup\$ – Novian Nov 27 '13 at 1:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Novian Well, that’s up to you. There is never a mechanical reason to do so and I don’t feel it should be necessary to take an extra penalty just to get the right “image,” but more power to you. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 27 '13 at 1:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ this is true. there isnt a reason. but its just something i was experimenting with. not like it will ever see the light of day. \$\endgroup\$ – Novian Nov 27 '13 at 3:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Novian The benefits of a second one-handed weapon aren’t worth a feat, but saving a −2 penalty on all attacks may be if you’re not a high-attack character, so consider Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 29 '13 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Given that this just came up in a dupe, it wouldn't hurt to clarify that "iterative" in the TWF-only case is "iterative main". \$\endgroup\$ – manveti May 31 '19 at 0:36

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