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Pathfinder - The Two-Weapon Warrior Fighter Handbook

Disclaimer

I will use content from the core rules, but will intentionally omit any content not published on the official Pathfinder SRD due to the unmanageable volume of non-SRD content, and the wildly varying quality of non-SRD content. If you would like me to write handbooks for specific content not published on the official SRD, please email me and I will consider it on a case-by-case basis. I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.

Temporary Note: Pathfinder Unchained and Occult Adventures were both recently added to the SRD. I'm excited to explore them, and I am actively working on adding their contents to my collection of handbooks. I appreciate your patience while I make these changes.

Introduction

Like any TWF build, the Two-Weapon Warrior depends on making multiple attacks with low individual damage. Compared to a TWF Rogue, the Two-Weapon Warrior has better AC and a higher attack bonus, but typically falls short in terms of damage. By making some clever choices, we can greatly close the damage gap between the TWF Rogue and the Two-Weapon Warrior.

The Fighter's high BAB grants the Two-Weapon Warrior the highest number of attacks possible, making it an obvious choice for critical hit builds. By combining Two-Weapon Fighting and critical hit optimization, we can count on frequent critical hits with sizable bonus damage.

Fighter Class Features

Hit Points: d10 hit points like nearly every other front-line class.

Base Attack Bonus: Full BAB.

Saves: Good fortitude saves, but many fighters have major problems with Reflex and Will saves. The Two-Weapon Warrior depends heavily on Dexterity, so your Reflex saves may match or exceed your Fortitude saves depending on your build.

Proficiencies: All armor and shields, include Tower shields, and martial weapons. The fighter has a huge variety of options, and with plenty of bonus feats they can supplement these options with exotic weapon proficiency.

Skills: Likely the worst skill list in the game, and Fighters often dump intelligence to 7. 2+ skill ranks is almost nothing, but many fighters still can't find a good way to use all of their skill ranks.

Bonus Feats: Bonus feats are why most people play a Fighter (or at least take a class dip). With a feat at level one and another at every even-numbered class level, the Fighter gets a total of 22 feats by level 20 (23 for humans), giving you a dizzying number of options. On top of this, the fighter gets a free retraining option every 4 levels which allows you to pick up feats with high prerequisites by trading in low-level feats which aren't paying off anymore. Do silly things like trade in Toughness for Improved Critical at level 8.

Bravery (Ex): Situational. This ability is replaced by almost every Fighter archetype.

Weapon Mastery (Ex): Absolutely fantastic. Making critical hits more reliable provides a massive boost to your damage, and you can retrain Critical Focus if you haven't taken any critical feats.

Two-Weapon Warrior Features

Defensive Flurry (Ex): It's a bit cruel that this isn't just a normal dodge bonus to AC when you full attack. Still, most attacks against you will be melee attacks, and you will (hopefully) be full attacking most of the time.

Twin Blades (Ex): Basically weapon training when you full attack. It's unfortunate that it doesn't apply to attacks of opportunity, charges, or Doublestrike, but it works when you need it most.

Doublestrike (Ex): This slightly alleviates your issue with movement, but still limits you to a single move. You don't get the attack and damage bonus from Twin Blades, so try to full attack as much as possible.

Improved Balance (Ex): If you're using a light weapon in your off hand, this is a +1 to your attacks. If you choose to use two one-handed weapons (excluding Sawtooth Sabres) this is a +2 to both of your attacks.

Equal Opportunity (Ex): You effectively get two attacks on an attack of opportunity, which is absolutely fantastic. This is also your only Defender ability, so be sure to capitalize on this as much as possible.

Perfect Balance (Ex): If you're using a light weapon in your off hand or using a double weapon, you no longer have two-weapon fighting penalties. If you're using a one-handed weapon in your off hand, you don't get anything new.

Deft Doublestrike (Ex): A free disarm, sunder, or trip attempt is nice, but you're probably not built for it. At this level, your chances of success with trip or disarm aren't great unless you're already built for it, and sunder isn't useful often enough to matter.

Deadly Defense (Ex): I hope you brought combat expertise. To capitalize on this, you may actually want to drop your AC, but dropping your AC may make you worse as a Defender. It's a weird trade-off, and it's difficult to introduce this late in the game because of its implications for your build and tactics.

Compatible Archetypes

Abilities

The high Dexterity requirements for Two-Weapon Fighting feats make the Two-Weapon Warrior somewhat MAD. You can get away with as little as 17 if you don't want Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, but more is better because you will want to use Weapon Finesse.

Str: Unless you want Power Attack (not recommended), you only need a bit of Strength for the easy damage. 14 is plenty.

Dex: Dexterity is everything for the Two-Weapon Warrior. AC, saves, and attacks on one ability.

Con: Like any melee character, hit points are crucial for the Two-Weapon Warrior.

Int: The Fighter skill list is garbage. Dump to 7.

Wis: Only useful for Will saves, but certainly don't dump it.

Cha: Dump to 7.

25 Point Buy 20 Point Buy 15 Point Buy Elite Array
  • Str: 14
  • Dex: 18
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 7
  • Wis: 14
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 13
  • Dex: 18
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 7
  • Wis: 13
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 13
  • Dex: 17
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 7
  • Wis: 13
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 13
  • Dex: 15
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 12
  • Cha: 8

Races

Dexterity bonuses are critical, but beyond that other bonuses can offer interesting options beyond the core of your build. Medium size is nice because you can permanently reduce yourself to Small size for another free +2 to Dexterity, but small size won't ruin you.

Dwarf: The Dwarf makes a great Defender, but its lack of Dexterity doesn't offer anything useful to the Two-Weapon Warrior.

Elf: Beyond the bonus to Dexterity, the Elf offers nothing useful to the Two-Weapon Warrior.

Gnome: Small, no bonus to Dexterity, and none of the Gnome's racial abilities add anything useful for the Two-Weapon Warrior.

Half-Elf: The default Half-Elf's racial bonuses are mostly useless to the Two-Weapon Warrior, but the Half-Elf has a lot of great options for alternate racial abilities, and the flexible ability bonus is always nice. Trade in Adaptability for Ancestral Arms to get proficiency with the Falcata or Sawtooth Sabre if you plan to use them.

Half-Orc: Darkvision and a flexible ability bonus are always nice. The Half-Orc gets proficiency with the Orc Double Axe, which can be a nice option, and the Half-Orc has a lot of great options for alternate racial abilities.

Halfling: Small size gives a welcome bonus to both attacks and AC, and the Dexterity bonus is excellent. The Halfling's alternate racial abilities are nice, especially Fleet-Footed.

Human: Two-Weapon Fighting is a feat-heavy build, and one extra feat gets out build up an running one level sooner.

Skills

Feats

Weapons

Armor

Armor is presented in the order in which you should acquire it, rather than alphabetical order.

Magic Items

Multiclassing and Prestige Classes

The Two-Weapon Warrior gets everything that it needs, and the high level abilities are very good. Multiclassing isn't recommended.