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.


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.

  • \$\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
  • 1
    \$\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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.