D&D (2024) 1d&d needs to do better with weapon math than we are seeing.


You are misinterpreting the probability issues. The 8.33 average for the 2d6 is still very much relevant. Yes, there is a higher probability of rolling an 8 or better, but that's because 2/3 of all rolls will be a 7, 8, 9, or 10. An 11 has the same odds as a d12, and you only have half the chance of rolling a 12. You get more certainty in the result by getting fewer extremes.
No not really because the alternatives are a chance of rolling any number between one and max with single weapon dice. The skewing towards the middle of two dice combined with the upward skewing of the average by reroll 1s & 2s dramatically increases the reliability into something that can be depended on in timescales of a single combat because the odds of ruling two 1-2s is pretty low & the odds of rolling 4 is even lower. The other weapons have the same max at best & shift from reliable solid damage to totally random values on any given roll. Being more likely to roll max with single die weapons only matters if a player can reliably accomplish it or they can accomplish it regularly enough to outweigh the feel of all those low rolls (our brains aren't evolved to passively crunch numbers on those that scale though so they probably won't).

The d12 having an 8.33% chance to roll any value between one and 12 or 9.72% chance for any value between 3 &12is not a strength compared to 2d6 with & maybe even without rerolls anydice of that here & here.

d12 reroll 1s & 2s rolling better than:
  • 4 or better? 87.5% odds, 2d6 reroll 1&2 was %99.07
  • 5 or better? down to 77.78% odds, 2d6 reroll 1&2 was 96.30%
  • 6 or better? 68.06% odds, 2d6 reroll 1&2 was 91.36%
  • 7 or better? 58.33% odds, 2d6 reroll 1&2 was 81.48%
  • 8 or better? 48.61% odds, 2d6 reroll 1&2 was 66.37%
  • 9 or better? 38.39% odds, 2d6 reroll 1&2 was 49.39%
There's still the problem of lower damage die single die weapons having mathematically sound reasons for players to consider them unusable leaving GMs little room to provide treasure other than endgame & forever loot that will never be swapped without a dramatic upgrade over the last one.

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Ever since I started playing D&D, there's been this huge list of weapons and armor of all types, and very few reasons to choose any option other than "the best". In AD&D, the only reason not to wear full plate came down to cost/availability/weight allowance/ability to use it.

With weapons, it was even worse, because while there were occasional reasons to use, say, a mace instead of a sword, the game itself was written to encourage everyone to be a sword user, if at all possible. And from there, you were encouraged to be a "long sword" user, as it was arbitrarily decided to be the king of weapons.

Even if you liked the 2d4 weapon damage from the broadsword, or the 3d6 vs. large-sized damage of a two-handed sword, if the DM was using the random item tables, you were going to find more long swords than anything else.

And non-swords were generally limited to +3 weapons, where swords could be +5 and had some of the best abilities. 2e's weapon proficiency rules made this even worse, as your ability to use a random weapon you just picked up could mean sucking up a large attack penalty for up to 4 levels!

History lesson out of the way, there are only a few viable solutions to this mess, and each has a potential problem:

1) all weapons of a given type do the same damage. All two-handed martial weapons do 2d6, all one-handed martial do 1d8. Or, for people who want to use 1d12 weapons, like Barbarians, all two-handers do 1d12.

2) a system that arbitrarily has weapons cost "points", so that higher damage competes with cool features. We see this with reach weapons currently; there's no 2d6 reach weapon, because reach is an advantage, so reach weapons do 1d10. So any weapon with a cool feature will do less damage, ala 3e. The problem here is that players who prefer raw damage output will feel upset finding a one-handed martial weapon that does d6 but has three cool specials, and players that hate "boring" weapons will be annoyed when the DM says "look, see? a magical long sword, isn't that great?".

3) a system that binds the damage weapons deal to one's class, so that classes intended to do heavy melee damage do just that, no matter if they are using a rusty spoon or a six-fingered sword made by the finest swordsmith in Spain. Problem here? Multiclassing, players and DM's who feel this is "artificial" and ruins their sense of verisimilitude.

Bottom line is, there is no universal answer that makes everyone happy, and that means that the weapons table must either be so generic that it doesn't matter what you swing in combat, or everyone will gravitate towards weapons that do what they want them to do, and feel ripped off if the reality of the game world says they must occasionally accept a downgrade or sidegrade.

Ultimately, the DM has to solve this for their table, I don't think the game should try to do it for them. If you want players who can feel free to specialize in their weapon of choice, you have to find ways to support this (either by allowing them to have the weapon they want forged, or using some kind of inherent bonus system so it doesn't matter what you're carrying around). If you want players who are willing to use the best available weapon, you need to tell them to not bother poring over the weapon lists or come to your game with any expectations of being a specialist, no matter how "cool" you think wielding dual scimitars would be- sorry Mr. Salvatore, but the idea of a guy using the same two scimitars since 1988 in a D&D game is simply ridiculous, especially when he gets both lifetime blades in the span of the first two books.


I use modified, rebalanced table for melee weapons:

Weapon traitsSimple weapon damageexampleMartial weapon damageexample
1Handed, Versatiled8(d10)maced10(d12)longsword
1Handed, Thrownd6javelind8trident
1Handed, finessed6long knifed8rapier
1Handed, lightd6clubd8arming sword
1Handed, reach, Versatiled6 (d8)speard8(d10)partisan
1Handed, finesse, lightd4daggerd6shortsword
1Handed, finesse, reachd4whipd6dagger whip
1Handed, finesse, thrownd4dartd6throwing hammer
1Handed, light, thrownd4pillumd6throwing axe
1Handed, finesse, light, thrownd3throwing knifed4chakram
2Handed, heavy2d6warmace2d8greatsword
2Handed, heavy, reachd12pike2d6pole-ax
2Handed, reachd10longspeard12glaive
2Handed, finessed10bo staffd12elven courtblade
2Handed, finesse, reachd8elven speard10spiked chain

Every property has unified value of decreasing or increasing damage die.
Versatile is free for 1Handed weapons that do not have light, thrown or finesse property.

thrown is universal at 40/120ft range.
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