- This article is about the combat style; for the first level ranger feat, see Dual-wield (feat).
The term dual-wield refers to a character's ability to make attack rolls while wielding a weapon in each hand. Any character can equip two weapons at once, but the penalties are increased for those who have not invested in the associated feats. The first weapon equipped is the "main" weapon, going in the main hand slot. The second weapon is the "off-hand" weapon, going in the off-hand slot. As a special case, a double-sided weapon is a single weapon that is wielded in both hands, yet counts as a weapon in each hand for the purpose of dual-wielding. Dual-wielding entails penalties to attack rolls, but allows an additional attack (or two, with the improved two-weapon fighting feat) each round, which is made by the off-hand weapon.
In order to wield a weapon in each hand, both weapons must be one-handed weapons, meaning the same or smaller size category as the wielder. For the off-hand weapon, being a light weapon (a smaller size category than the wielder) reduces the penalties associated with dual-wielding. A double-sided weapon is the exception here, as it is one size category larger than the wielder, yet still is considered dual-wielding with a light weapon in the off-hand. In addition to the size restriction, whips, morningstars, and flails have been blocked from being placed in the off-hand as the game has no animations for these situations.
The penalties to attack rolls for dual-wielding depend on having a light off-hand weapon, and on having the two-weapon fighting and/or ambidexterity feats (or the ranger's dual-wield feat, if applicable). These penalties do not apply to free attacks.
|light off-hand weapon||-4||-8|
|ambidexterity and light off-hand weapon||-4||-4|
|ambidexterity and two-weapon fighting|
|two-weapon fighting and light off-hand weapon||-2||-6|
|ambidexterity, two-weapon fighting, and light off-hand weapon||-2||-2|
When dual-wielding, the main weapon gets the full strength modifier as a damage bonus, while the off-hand weapon gets half that (rounded down). A negative strength modifier will apply its full penalty to both the main-hand and off-hand weapon.
Non-physical damage dealt by the off-hand weapon on a critical hit will be multiplied by the multiplier on the main-hand weapon (instead of using the off-hand weapon's multiplier). This is a bug in the game engine.
Fighting with two weapons can be particularly helpful to characters with sneak attacks, as the off-hand attacks may put an additional attack in the first flurry in a round, which may in turn result in significantly more sneak attacks, particularly when only the attacks in the first flurry are sneak attacks.