I love the idea of two-weapon fighting, and tinkering around with it. My character is going to be a Paladin. But to effectively dual wield as a Paladin I need to delve into either Ranger or Fighter, unless the DM is gracious and gives me Two-Weapon Fighting Style instead of the Paladin's normal choices. For the purposes of this question, we will assume that isn't the case.

Paladin 12 / Fighter 8 is the final build. Only going up to 12 in Paladin for the automatic divine weapon smite 1d8 bonus on damage attacks and the ASI. I'll be doing Vengeance for Hunter's Mark, adding another 1d6 per attack. Assuming Dual Wielder Feat, an attack should be roughly 2d8 + 1d6 + mod, which is relatively decent in my eyes considering you do that 3 times per round + occasional smiting on critical hits.

For Fighter at level 3 I would be going Eldritch Knight for bonding weapons and more spell slots.

This is where things can get a bit fun, and a bit iffy. From what I have read, wielding a heavy weapon in one hand gives disadvantage on attack rolls. Using the 2nd level spell Enlarge, you then pull out two bad ass heavy weapons and proceed to two-weapon style with them.

Honestly this is completely up to DM ruling and whatnot. For example PHB p. 147:

Two-Handed. This weapon requires two hands when you attack with it.

Based on that alone you could overrule having a greatsword in each hand, even when under the effects of enlarge. Becoming a size category larger would make sense that you could wield heavier weapons though, for the same reasoning small creatures can't use heavy weapons all that great but medium can. Enlarge only lasts for 1 minute, and requires concentration, so if you fail a concentration saving throw to maintain it you are now stuck with two huge weapons you can't really use, forcing you to switch back to regular ones.

Another question would be does the added 1d4 damage apply to the greatswords.

The target’s weapons also grow to match its new size. While these weapons are enlarged, the target’s attack with them deal 1d4 extra damage.

Would switching to the greatswords beforehand add in the extra damage? Or would they now be even bigger and your new size unable to wield them anyway? I could always switch to the greatswords after the spell has been cast. In either case, could this work?

  • \$\begingroup\$ You cant efffectively use Two Weapon Fighting with Hunter's Mark. First round, you use the bonus action to start HM, so you only attack with your left hand in your second round. At that time that enemy is usually dead, switching HM is again a bonus action, you can see the pattern. Pick either TWF or HM. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Jun 29, 2016 at 13:05
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I would caution you to not only look very closely at your level 20 build. It takes a minimum of 6 months of straight combat (20 min/encounter, 3hr sessions/week) to reach level 20, and of all the group's I've ever been in, we don't even make it to 15th level. Odds are you will change your mind about something by then. (Ignore this off your starting at high levels). I generally try to look 5-7 levels ahead of my current level. It helps me avoid dead end builds, but also lets me focus on character development rather than stats development. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shem
    Jun 29, 2016 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, it took me and my friend 1 session to figure out even getting to lvl 7 would be a long journey haha. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vein
    Jun 29, 2016 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ As for Hunter's Mark. It can be used pretty effectively, you aren't always going to start off in melee striking range. And most creatures at least later on, don't die to just 2-4 hits. But on weaker creatures like kobolds i can see it being a waste of a bonus action for sure. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vein
    Jun 29, 2016 at 17:47
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, I'm now at level 11 in a campaign, and almost all fights we're in are over in 2-3 rounds. If it's not an encounter against a single enemy whose CR is significantly higher than ours (CR 16 at level 10), it's dead in 2-4 rounds. \$\endgroup\$
    – xanderh
    Jun 29, 2016 at 21:47

3 Answers 3


could this work?

No. All weapons with the "heavy" property have the two-handed property as well. Here's exactly what each property does (PHB 147):

Heavy. Small creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls with heavy weapons. A heavy weapon's size and bulk make it too large for a Small creature to use effectively.

Two-Handed. This weapon requires two hands when you attack with it.

The heavy property itself isn't a problem here, but the two-handed is. Since all heavy weapons are also two-handed, you must use two hands to wield them. The enlarge spell doesn't give you the ability to wield a two-handed weapon in one hand, even if that weapon wasn't enlarged with you. Your DM might allow it, but it's certainly not part of the Rules As Written.

So what can you dual wield, then? Here's the rules on two-weapon fighting (PHB 195):

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 one hand. You don't add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

Based on this, you can only dual wield light melee weapons. You don't even need the two-weapon fighting style, since all the fighting style does is allow you to add your ability modifier to the bonus action attack. There is a way to get around the "light" limitation, namely the Dual Wielder feat (PHB 165, emphasis mine):

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

  • You gain a +1 bonus to AC while you are wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand
  • You can use two-weapon fighting even when the one-handed melee weapons aren't light
  • You can draw or stow two one-handed weapons when you would normally only be able to draw or stow only one.

This feat allows you (among other things) to use any one-handed melee weapons for two-weapon fighting.

In conclusion, you're not going to be two-weapon fighting using greatswords, even if you're enlarged. The closest you're going to get would be two longswords with the Dual Wielder feat

Side note: If you want to do two-weapon fighting purely from an optimisation perspective, you may want to reconsider. It is generally accepted as one of the weaker playstyles, as it uses your bonus action to be effective (needed to cast smite spells on a paladin, for example), and still can't quite compete with great weapon fighting, especially if you factor in the Great Weapon Master feat. It doesn't fall completely behind other playstyles, so if you want to do it because of a character concept, go ahead. But if it's exclusively for optimisation, it might be better to just use a single greatsword.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree RAW doesn't cover this and none of the rules in the PHB take into account say an Ogre picking up a greatsword made for a human. This part would have to be ruled as you went as all the damage of large humanoids is done in the MM entries. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Jun 29, 2016 at 13:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the time. From what i have researched the Two-Weapon fighting is Superior to others styles from level 1-4, equal to the dueling style from 5-10. Then falls slightly short of the Great Weapon Fighting from 11-19. And becomes inferior completely at level 20. What i'm wanting is mostly for character concept. Dual Wield Paladin just sounds cool. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vein
    Jun 29, 2016 at 17:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like there can be a clever get around on this though. Having my Paladin enlargen when he goes mad. Or really wants to kill off a bad guy just sounds pretty fun. Again it would be completely up to DM descretion, but perhaps i could forge a Versatile weapon with a Large creature in mind. Being close but a bit opposite than the Longsword 1d8 one handed, 1d10 two handed. Could make a heavy sword that can only be wielded probably by a Large creature. Forcing medium sized to 2 hand it for 1d10, but as a Large size you can 1 hand for 1d12. If you guys think it sounds too OP just let me know. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vein
    Jun 29, 2016 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd agree with that last statement, it's almost better to wear a shield in your other hand or use a two handed weapon. But obviously, min maxing isn't everything \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29, 2016 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vein You could have a longsword forged that is designed for a large creature if your DM allows it, certainly. Weapons made for large creatures double the amount of dice they use to determine damage, so it would be a pretty hefty buff. That sword would be quite difficult to carry, however, and you would have disadvantage on all attack rolls using it when you're not enlarged (which is not going to be all the time, trust me on that). \$\endgroup\$
    – xanderh
    Jun 29, 2016 at 21:50

You could modify the weapon system to account for weapon size and character size.

Weapons are tiny, small, medium, or large.

You need one hand to wield a weapon (Your size) and smaller and two hands for one (Your Size + 1). You cannot use weapons (Your size + 2) and larger.

To wield two weapons at once, both must be (Your size - 1) or smaller. If you have the Dual Wielder feat then both must be (Your size) or smaller.

For example, a Gnome (a small creature) could dual wield two daggers (tiny weapons) but not two shortswords (small weapons). She could use a longsword (medium weapon), in two-hands, but she could not use a glaive (large weapon).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you might be thinking of D&D 3.5e, not D&D 5e. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Jun 30, 2016 at 5:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman it was AD&D I was thinking of, but you are close. My point is that introducing that system into 5E (which already has half of it) might deal with the OP's problem. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 30, 2016 at 20:15

i might have found way to dual wield while using a great sword. Yes the great sword needs 2 hands to attack but NOT to hold. so if you lets say had a hand ax in one hand and then a great sword in the other you could start off with an off-hand attack of throwing the ax then you'd have both hands to use the great sword. I'm pretty sure this would work.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.se. Please take our tour. Note that we are a Q&A site, not a discussion site, so simply presenting ideas is not our goal. You can back your answer up with rules. Also, while you propose a different idea for the asker, it doesn't seem to answer any of his questions. As a side note, your idea is the topic of another question, I just can't find it right now. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Jun 9, 2018 at 22:37

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