Author Topic: TWF Fighter Damage  (Read 3227 times)

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Rymosrac

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TWF Fighter Damage
« on: April 06, 2009, 12:36:32 AM »
I've got a friend who's building a High Sword Low Axe fighter in the general style of Jack b Quick for a game that's starting up soon. The only real concern I've got it his complete lack of noticeable damage output compared to the rest of the party. Haven't found a lot in the way of easy solutions myself after and hour or so of searching, so here's my appeal to you guys.

We're stating at level 5.
Sources:  All 3.5 WotC, All unupdated 3.0, Dragon Mag by DM approval.
Variant Rules: Traits (UA), Weapon Group Proficiency (UA), LA Buyoff (UA), Flaws (UA). Up to 5 (!!!) flaws allowed.
Objective: The focused damage dealers in the party are putting an expected 50 points out per round each at starting level. Obviously a disabler like a High Sword Low Axe fighter shouldn't be expected to match a focused damage hero, but I'd like for him to be able to put out 20-30 a round. The less complicated the solution, the better.

Will post current build later if needed, but right now I'm really just fishing for ideas. I can work out a build around anything reasonable that comes up.
Shh. My common sense is tingling. . .

Eldariel

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2009, 12:54:00 AM »
Wouldn't the damage just add up? Like, assuming he has +1 Holy/Elemental weapons and is doing 6 counterattacks a turn along with 4-6 primary attacks, I'd imagine he'd add up to quite a bit of damage. That said, Stormguard Warrior [ToB Tactical] seems pretty good for it - use Channel the Storm on e.g. the High Sword Low Axe > Improved Trip-bonus attack a couple of times and smash for massive damage the next turn. Also, you can use Combat Rhythm and AoOs for control (do note that High Sword Low Axe only stipulates that both attacks need to hit for the free Trip, so even the Touch Attacks from Combat Rhythm count), unleashing hell the next turn.

Acquiring it costs either 4 feats (Martial Study: Ironheart, Martial Stance: Ironheart [allow me to suggest Punishing Stance for +1d6 damage to all attacks], Ironheart Aura & Stormguard Warrior), or a 1-level dip in Warblade + 2 feats - either way, comes with other perks too.

As far as other options go, Melee Weapon Mastery [PHBII] isn't the worst feat ever, but it only adds +2 to damage and requires Weapon Spec. Power Attack is kinda meh for TWF returns and likewise costs you two feats due to Oversized TWF being practically necessary. Flay Foe [CoR] could be decent as all your attacks deal slashing damage, but it requires 15 Str and it's just 1d6 extra anyways.

JaronK

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2009, 01:29:31 AM »
The easiest solution is to be a Necropolitan and get a pair of Lifedrinker weapons (the DMG special weapon property).  That's higher level, though.

JaronK

Rymosrac

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2009, 02:50:59 AM »
@Eladriel

Stormguard Warrior had occured to me, and a warblade base may very well appeal to this player - but it's really more of a high-level solution. At the early levels - which is where I'm more concerned - there just aren't that many attacks being churned out in a round. At high level I think it's an excellent idea, though. On the other hand - the stipulation that the trigger attacks for HSLA don't need to deal any damage is very interesting. Worth considering.

Melee weapon mastery is certainly plausible for a little extra oomph - and the requisite weapon focus and weapon spec are made more attractive by the use of the weapon group feats variant rules. The feat cost IS intensive, but then, we're also being handed a preposterous 5 flaws.

@JaronK

Stylish, but as you said, high level. Those things ain't cheap. Once the high-level gold starts racking up, it could be worthwhile to get soulfire on his armor and couple that with a pair of lifedrinker weapons. Fun stuff.
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fliprushman

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2009, 03:09:22 AM »
Well if we could see the build you have in mind, that could help us help you.  Eladriel's suggestion seems the most plausible at the moment.
If you are worried about the number of attacks he is getting in a round, I'd suggest a level of Whirling Frenzy Barbarian, some warblade levels for tiger claw manuevers, and a few levels of fighter for some feats.  That way you can get a few more attacks, do more damage, and get the type of character you want.
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bkdubs123

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2009, 03:55:04 AM »
Is there any good way to get the whole TWF tree without needing the Str requirements? I know Ranger 2 can get him TWF without needing the dex, but aside from Ranger levels (which aren't the greatest for this build), I can't think of anything atm. Because if you can get STWF or even PTWF without needing the dex you can pump Str all the way, go for Whirling Frenzy Lion Totem Barbarian, and really cut loose. Punishing Stance is a solid idea, then again, so are the Desert Wind boosts that add fire damage. You'll want a substantial amount of Warblade levels to pull it off, but with retraining you can use a single feat to get the improvements to the 1st level Burning Blade maneuver. You recover it as a swift action, so usability isn't an issue, you'll always have Punishing Stance active, and you can use your weapon enhancements for something other than elemental damage.

Whirling Frenzy Lion Totem Barbarian 1/Fighter 1/Warblade 18 doesn't seem so bad, though you only really need 12 Warblade levels. After that, if Elf, Eternal Blade would be pretty nice.

Also to consider, Knowledge Devotion can be handy if you can get a lot of knowledges. I hear Educated from Eberron is a good feat for that.

1st level feats - TWF, Weapon Focus (Axes), Weapon Focus (Swords), Martial Study (Burning Blade), Improved Trip
2nd level bonus feat - High Sword Low Axe
3rd level feat - Extra Rage

By 3rd level you can Rage 3/day, you can full attack after a charge, you gain an extra attack in your Frenzy, and your attacks deal +1d6 damage, and an additional +1d6+2 damage whenever you use Burning Blade.

With a Longsword and Shortsword, and 16 Str, while raging, and with Burning Blade, this is three attacks at +8 to hit (+3 BAB, +5 str, -2 TWF, +1 WF, +1 Knowledge Dev), two of them dealing 1d8+5+1d6+1d6+2 fire, the Shorty dealing 1d6+2+1d6+1d6+2 fire. Pouncing makes this even more deadly. 2d8+17+5d6=avg 47 per full attack. Without Burning Blade it's still a solid avg of 35. Seems reasonable to me. You should be pulling your Trips off with reasonable success as well. Toss in Educated and Knowledge Devotion in later levels, remember to retrain Martial Study when the higher level versions of Burning Blade become available, and this looks decent enough to me.

Rymosrac

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2009, 04:09:13 AM »
I'd thought pretty hard about that level of barbarian for whirling frenzy + pounce, and it's pretty darn appealing. It's in if I can sell the player. This is, again, not my character - I'm just the guy my group delegates a lot of the bookwork to.

Also: Stat generation for this group is also a little weird, and pretty high-power. Stats are 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8 arranged as you want. Two flaws are 1st level, rest are at fifth.

Current rough build outline for starting at level 5 is:

Barbarian 1 (Whirling Frenzy + Pounce ACFs)
-(1st) Weapon Focus (Light Blades)
-(Flaw) Weapon Focus (Axes)
Fighter 1
-(F1) Combat Expertise
Fighter 2
-(3rd) Improved Trip
-(F1) High Sword Low Axe
Fighter 3
Fighter 4
-(F4) Dodge
-(Flaw) Combat Reflexes
-(Flaw) Mobility
-(Flaw) Karmic Strike

That's how it stands at present.

@bkdubs

I like where you're going with that. Normally I'd gripe about having to burn a feat on Martial Study, but with 5 flaws. . . non-issue. Knowledge devotion is likely too skill intensive for the kind of skill points this guy will be getting - I'm not counting on this player giving a crap about his INT score, even with warblade levels. The rest looks good, though - I'll dig through my ToB some more and let it percolate.
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Bryan_0697

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2009, 04:52:11 AM »

Rymosrac

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2009, 11:04:07 AM »
Wolf Totem would save a feat on combat expertise - but also cost a level of fighter from the current build that grants a feat. Comes out even right now. Barbarian wins on the hit die and skills, though - so might be worth it. Jotenbrud is probably no good on this one, as the player is leaning towards playing a goliath anyway.

Gauntlets of war are good - maybe a hair too expensive at this level, but definetly on the shopping list.

Getting shadow blade to work with aptitude is iffy IMO since it works with more than a single weapon - but in this group pretty much anything works if I say it does and there's no obvious contradictory rule. :rollseyes

You're right - punishing stance is definetly not as good as island of blades - but this guy's flanking partner already has that stance covered, so we're good there.

I'd probably play that variant with rogue progression, that's how the RAW looks to me since it references sneak attack (as rogue). Dread commando is one I've always liked, and we've already got one party member taking it. Might not hurt for another to snag it as long as the DM approves the initiative bonus stacking, but Sneak Attack is pretty contradictory to the flavor this player has been shooting for anyway. Shrug.

Good ideas though.
Shh. My common sense is tingling. . .

Rebel7284

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2009, 11:18:24 AM »
Half Minotaur (Dragon Mag) Goliath always seemed like fun to me.  Huge weapons off the bat.  If you can get augmented expansion, you can get colossal weapons and then trip people with them.
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Akalsaris

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2009, 11:42:53 AM »
I will second the wolf totem variant suggestion, since it is strictly stronger than the current level of fighter (2 more skills, 1-2 more HP). 

UA's Wolf totem variant + CC's Lion totem variant + Whirling Frenzy UA variant dragonborn water orc barbarian is my favorite 2nd level build, bar none.  Get's 2 attacks on a full attack, pounce, and improved trip, with no LA and +4 Str/Con at the cost of -2 Dex/Int/Wis/Cha. 

With 5 flaws, the character should have more than enough feats for the High Sword Low Axe style anyhow.  I'd go for -3 to Fort saves, -1 to AC, -4 to spot/listen, -2 to ranged attacks, and attack twice due to concealment if I could cherry-pick the flaws without concern for how they affect the character.

Traits: get the one that gives +1 to strength checks and -2 to some others, it's handy for a tripper.  I also like the -1 Fort, +1 Will trait.

Weapon groups: spiked chains I guess?

How's this:

Barbarian 2/Fighter 2/Warblade 1
Future: Warblade from then on. 


Barbarian 1 (Whirling Frenzy + Pounce + Wolf Totem ACFs)
-(1st) Weapon Focus (Light Blades)
-(Flaw) Weapon Focus (Axes)
-(Flaw) Combat Reflexes
-(Flaw) Dodge
-(Flaw) Mobility
-(Flaw) Two Weapon Fighting
Barbarian 2
-(B2) Improved Trip
Fighter 1
-(3rd) Reckless Rage (or Extra Rage if you have multiple encounters per day)
-(F1) High Sword Low Axe
Fighter 2 Karmic Strike
Warblade 1 (Maneuvers: Steely Strike, Steel Wind, Sudden Leap.  Stance: Punishing)
Warblade 2
-Char 6th: Elusive Target

The idea being a counter-attacker that can also negate power attacks and has a ridiculously low AC to encourage foes to focus on him and his d12s, thus fueling his counter-attacks. 

Edit: ITWF followed by Double Hit from the MH would work very well with this character.

Rymosrac

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2009, 11:48:48 AM »
Perfect - though I might grab double hit first and snag ITWF from those gloves in the MIC. Shrug.
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Eldariel

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2009, 02:22:46 PM »
Do note that Karmic Strike requires Combat Expertise so you're stuck picking that feat regardless of Wolf-Totem.

Rymosrac

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2009, 06:59:05 PM »
Yeah, but the hit die and skill points still make the barbarian level more appealing.
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PhaedrusXY

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2009, 07:24:17 PM »
Is there any good way to get the whole TWF tree without needing the Str requirements? I know Ranger 2 can get him TWF without needing the dex, but aside from Ranger levels (which aren't the greatest for this build), I can't think of anything atm.
Ranger 2 + Gloves of the Balanced Hands from the MiC to upgrade it to ITWF is plenty. It's not worth the expenditure to go further than that for more attacks that will likely miss, anyway. You can dump Dex totally and still get two off-hand attacks like that, with only a two level ranger dip (which is nice for skills, anyway).
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Rymosrac

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2009, 07:42:54 PM »
Absolutely. One feat and some cheap gloves gets you one less attack than three feats and frees up your DEX score for a few more points. In this case, I may not be able to sell the ranger levels to completely dump DEX, but with the high starting stats we're given, it won't be an issue to meet the reqs for TWF.
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Sinfire Titan

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2009, 08:14:44 PM »
The gloves prevent him from wearing Gauntlets of War, unless he combines the two into a custom item.


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Eldariel

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Re: TWF Fighter Damage
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2009, 09:11:14 PM »
Is there any good way to get the whole TWF tree without needing the Str requirements? I know Ranger 2 can get him TWF without needing the dex, but aside from Ranger levels (which aren't the greatest for this build), I can't think of anything atm.
Ranger 2 + Gloves of the Balanced Hands from the MiC to upgrade it to ITWF is plenty. It's not worth the expenditure to go further than that for more attacks that will likely miss, anyway. You can dump Dex totally and still get two off-hand attacks like that, with only a two level ranger dip (which is nice for skills, anyway).

I don't know, that might be the case normally, but if you have access to Stormguard Warrior and tripping, those extra attacks suddenly become pretty damn valuable as you can pump your To Hit a ton, and can utilize those extra attacks for touch attacks.