Over the past couple weeks, we’ve looking into issues with Two-Weapon Fighting and solutions to fix Two-Weapon Fighting. While discussing potential solutions is a good starting place, theorycrafting can often fall flat at the table. In order to identify which systems are the most balanced and deserve testing, you’ve got to run the numbers.
The idea that I really wanted to test was using Strength for the main-hand weapon and Dexterity for the off-hand weapon. I’ve built this calculator to test it:
After tinkering with the numbers for a while, I am really happy with the Main-Hand STR/Off-Hand DEX system. As it turns out, the balance is really strong when you only make this change without adapting some of the other tweaks I suggested.
Once you start stacking changes, Two-Weapon Fighting really takes off. Removing restrictions that allow you to bump the damage dice to d8 gives a fair bump, so I’d probably leave that locked behind the feat. The big damage fluctuation is going to come from the Two-Weapon Fighting style for the Fighter. If you allow the damage mod to be added without the fighting style, then Two-Weapon Fighting outperforms Great Weapon Fighting.
Perhaps a damage bump to Two-Weapon Fighting is justified due to the Great Weapon Fighting feat. However, that depends on whether you think breaking something else is fair for the sake of balance, or whether you’re going to nerf the other playstyles by bringing Great Weapon Fighting/Sharpshooter back into balance with other feats.
If you decide to overpower Two-Weapon Fighting, you can rein it back in by keeping the Bonus Action requirement. Ideally, I would prefer to see that the damage is balanced, so that I can be justified in removing the bonus action cost.
Tinker with the calculator and let us know what system feels balanced to you! If you want to dig deeper into your own mechanical changes, make a copy of the sheet and try adjusting the numbers on the Data tab.