I have a problem with a House Rule accepted by DM and players who get an advantage out of it.

Our barbarian took the feat "Two Weapon Fighting" at lvl 1. He interpreted it as "I use 2 weapons, so I should get two attacks when standard attacking" I didn't really care for watching other players rules, it's my first D&D group and I struggled getting my archery ranger's attacks right. I congratulated on 30 Dmg standard attacks while trying to be a good striker and biting the table when my 2[W] Daily Attacks missed.

Only after our party's Monk picked Two Weapon Fighting feat after the last lvl up (we're lvl 5 now) and started Standard Attacking the living shire out of enemies ("It's obvious! Why wouldn't I pick that?"), I picked up the Player's Handbook and read about it.

So Two Weapon Fighting actually gives you +1 to Dmg rolls if you wield two weapons. And, there are weapons that have the "off-hand" property and can be held in the off-hand, and there are weapons that are NOT. Hence the Two-Weapon-Fighting Ranger's Class Feature to use standard weapons as off-hand. The obvious use is a) get +1 Dmg, b) be more variable if you have powers that require a certain type of weapon - use a dagger in Offhand to use powers that require a dagger and use a sword in mainland to use powers without weapon req to get more Dmg out of it and c) unlock further Two-Weapon feats like Two-Weapon Defense and such.

The DM agreed that it was a misunderstanding, but since we have already used it that way and since "+1 Dmg would be pretty bad for not being able to use a greataxe or shield" the Two-Weapon Rule at our table goes like this:

Two attack rolls on one creature vs AC, for each successful attack, roll [W] + Strength Modifier + all other bonuses that may apply. Oh and he's using two Long Swords, so make that 1d8 each

I think it's hurting our campaign, since we haven't really encountered anything that was an actual threat for us.

So, could anyone please provide some arguments to convince my DM (and a power drunk barbarian) that this is Not Good and why?

Thx 4 help, all grammar and spelling miskates due to the fact I'm writing this on my phone while riding the train to my work in Germany.

May the 20 be with you all!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site. Take the tour. Just to clarify: The DM recognizes his mistake in modifying the feat the first time, and,—rather than saying Oops, reverting to the feat as printed, and giving the players the option to pick different feats for their characters,—the DM modified the feat a second time? Is there also an issue with the barbarian's player manipulating the DM? Anyway, thank you for participating and have fun. \$\endgroup\$ May 19, 2016 at 13:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean by 'standard attacking'? Is that any attack that is a Standard action, an At-Will attack, just a Basic Attack, or something different? And if it is not just for Basic Attacks how is the second attack used, is it a free Basic Attack, using the same power a second time, or something different again? \$\endgroup\$
    – diego
    May 19, 2016 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the DM give the 2 handed feat to enemy NPCs? I think if the DM realizes that, to be fair, he needs to give this two handed feat to enemy NPC's, he might decide it's not worth it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Brian
    Jun 2, 2016 at 20:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Brian 4e monsters don't get feats. Their attacks are created specifically for them (and many monsters have an "attack twice" attack already) \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Aug 14, 2016 at 20:04

2 Answers 2


Arguments for why this is a bad idea.

  1. Niche Protection That's supposed to be the rangers "thing." It also kinda takes away from the avenger, which gets to roll 2 d20 and take the highest, basically making it more likely to hit and more likely to crit. It seems that a basic attack becomes better than his normal at will powers, so that's not great. In addition, the rangers 2 weapon attack does not add stat to damage. Most 2w damage powers, which are encounters or dailies, only deal stat damage once. If both attacks land stat damage is added both times. This means an extra 5-10(as you level) damage over most 2w attacks and an extra 10-20 damage over the rangers twin strike. They will be landing both strikes every 3rd round on average so slightly less likely to land than a 2w attack, but since those are encounter attacks not at will, it means they will be landing both strikes in total for more than total 2w strikes will be landed.
  2. Encounter balance. Both characters have essentially doubled the output they have per turn. They've double crit chance. And they've greatly reduce their chance of doing no damage on a turn. Usually you need to roll a 10 to hit, if optimized correctly. Slightly more for certain monsters and defenses but it's a good average. They go from a 1 in 2 chance of hitting to a 4 out of 5. chance So not only are they doing more damage, they are doing more consistent damage, which makes them far more effective against minions.

Summary Why is this bad? Well beyond throwing out of whack party dynamics, it makes balancing encounters much harder. The math for the most part, works on standard optimized characters in 4e. You get between 4 and 8 encounters per the suggested difficulty before you need to take a long rest. Now it's conceivable you could push on to 10 per long rest, which should level you. This means less time getting to know and use your abilities for that level. It also means to really challenge you the GM needs to grab more or harder monsters. Doing this can easily end in TPK as the monsters aren't balanced to be used in that way, so even though your party is more powerful it doesn't mean just increasing power on the other end balances. You don't have more HP, your defenses aren't higher, you're dailies and encounters aren't better, which are all things taken into account in monster design. Your party only has an increased average damage output. Also only 2 characters have it and only one truly has it to a broken level. So just increasing the monster difficulty unfairly punishes those without broken builds.

4e is a game that, while not perfectly balanced, is fairly tightly designed as is. Messing with the numbers can have wild effects and is generally a good way to break the game as designed.

How to handle this Suggest to the GM that this is unfair to you, because the modded feat breaks the game in ways that your character can't keep up. Best case scenario you lose spotlight to the over powered characters and worst case you're character begins to suffer in game when the difficulty steps up to match and you can't compete at all. Ask him to return to feat to how it's written but let them redo their character(if the Barbarian loves two weapon so much rebuild him as a ranger and just skin him as a Barbarian). If he refuses point out how much of a power differential it creates (up to 3 extra attacks a turn with opportunity attacks or Combat Challenge, an extra d8+ weapon bonus+stat damage almost every turn, which will just grow more powerful as you pick up magic weapons and increase stats). In a game designed around balanced tactical combat this just becomes unfun if you can't match.

In addition to this though, spend some time looking at the 4e optimization boards. This way even if he doesn't fix it, you may be able to compete. Since you all seem to have a very tentative grasp of the rules and are new to it I'm guessing you made some sub optimal choices in your builds so while they have a game breaking feat, you may be able to catch up legally using the correct mechanical choices. Even if not, it will help you grasp the mechanics of the game better which really helps 4e shine

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Why do they need to get to know their abilities for the level? They can just keep standard attacking forever. :P \$\endgroup\$
    – SPavel
    May 19, 2016 at 16:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ The DM could implement the switch by just capping the existing player's two-handed fighting at their current level until they are ready to switch to RAW. \$\endgroup\$ May 19, 2016 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Woops I read as fighter, not barbarian. That changes some things. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ringo_St R
    May 19, 2016 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please don’t signal edits in questions or answers (whether that be explicit Edit: sections or strikethroughs), it makes them difficult to read. If that’s just a temporary thing, fair enough, but please do edit when you get a chance to make it complete and coherent to read. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    May 19, 2016 at 18:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ He's saying don't try to preserve the old version with strike-through, or by only adding new stuff in an "edit: " section. At most, say "see a previous revision for some interesting stuff about Fighters that doesn't apply; I misread the question." Don't make the reader read something wrong and then the correction, just put the right stuff there in the first place without clutter. \$\endgroup\$ May 19, 2016 at 20:01

Technically, this is not (directly) hurting your campaign. It is the DM's job to adjust encounters up or down based on how powerful the party is. You say that you haven't encountered anything that's an actual threat to you, but the DM could fix that by adding an extra monster to each encounter, or by giving you encounters at a higher level than where you actually are.

On the other hand, this imbalance is hurting you specifically, because your character was supposed to be the damage dealer, and now you're not. If this is making you have less fun, that's a legitimate problem which needs to be fixed.

Of course, now that the barbarian is used to making two attacks per round, if his power suddenly gets nerfed, then he'll be having less fun. What can you do?

I recommend bringing in a new character.

If the barbarian's power did get nerfed, you would need to give him the opportunity to change his character. He's built up his whole fighting style around this one thing, and now it's gone; he might need to change out feats, powers, stats, or even switch to a different character class.

If the barbarian's power does not get nerfed (and it sounds like it won't), then you yourself should switch to a new character. Tell the DM that you're not having fun with this character, because it was supposed to be a striker but its damage output is weak compared to the rest of the party. Retire your character, and bring in a character that can make full use of that two-weapon-fighting goodness!

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And by joining them, perhaps the “everyone is two-weapon fighting” will demonstrate the problem. \$\endgroup\$ May 19, 2016 at 17:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ A slightly less radical solution could be to talk to your GM about letting you take a similar "multi-shot" feat and get in on the two-weapon action without having to build a whole new character. \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    May 19, 2016 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @minnmass Does multi-shot not exist in 4e? Because Rangers in 3/3.5 could take either a melee or ranged focus and the ranged one granted things like rapid shot, multishot, etc. as bonus feats. (while the melee granted various two-weapon-fighting-related feats as the ranger leveled up). \$\endgroup\$
    – JAB
    May 19, 2016 at 20:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Rangers do get a "Dual Strike" power which lets them make two attacks per round, but it does substantially less damage (it does [W] per hit rather than [W]+STR or [W]+DEX). Also, this dual-strike power is meant to be the ranger's thing specifically, the thing that makes them competitive with other classes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    May 19, 2016 at 20:36

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