|Go go spell checker!|
It got some attention when I posted the 52 Pages, and commenter Picador noted a few emergent properties of the rule ... namely that attacks with a shield getting a maximum +2 strength bonus to hit can complement using a normal sword, which only gets +1 ... and the potential for awesome comboing with my "feats" for fighters and rogues that let you roll an extra damage die on a max or min roll.
The slight update clarifies that the higher damage roll is checked after adding bonuses like Strength and extra dice. This privileges the rogue's extra damage die feat, which activates on a high roll, over the fighter's, which has more chance of being irrelevant because it boosts the lower roll.
This scheme isn't perfect. It requires a fiddly choice each round whether to bash with the shield, forgoing AC bonus, or not- and when does that get decided? Also, it may not matter that much. I worked out numbers (ignoring the bonus dice for the moment) for damage ...
A d8 weapon does average of 4.5 damage/hit
Fighter with d8 and d6 weapon: average of 5.23 damage
Anyone with d8 and d4 weapon: average of 4.81 damage
Anyone with d8 weapon and shield (d4-1): average of 4.63 damage
So, stacked up to the benefit of using a shield defensively (+2 AC), the off-hand dagger isn't looking so hot, although the d6 weapon gives the fighter a respectable half-point plus of bonus damage, not quite reaching the +1 average damage from using a two-handed weapon (more if you're super-strong) but without the drawbacks of a wide swing. The shield bash is going to be beneficial only rarely, but that factor further argues for the shield, which especially against weak opponents can cut your chance to be hit by a half to a third.
Some ideas to make the dagger more attractive off-hand, especially for the iconic rogue ...
* It gives +1 AC in the off-hand.
* When ambushing/backstabbing with dual weapons (except shield), roll the bonus d6 twice as well and take the higher.
* Rogues can use a dagger for d6 damage.