[RPG] I think our Two Weapon Fighting house rule is hurting our game, but the DM thinks taking it away would be unfair. How to convince him


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!

Best Answer

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