D&D General A question about Extra Attack and the Sharpshooter feat

jgsugden

Legend
While I completely agree with the others, I'm not certain I agree with this one.

As long as you choose to accept the penalty before you roll the die (or dice if you have advantage or disadvantage), what does it matter what order you state you are using sharpshoooter or some other abilit?

Do you have an example where this actually makes a difference??
The text of Sharpshooter says you make the election "before you make an attack with a ranged weapon". It is clear that the election has to come before you begin the ranged attack.

Many things happen during an attack, but a lot of them happen after the attack roll (such as determining of you hit, rolling damage, and calculating damage based upon the roll - but also deciding whether to use bardic inspiration to impact the attack roll). However, there are a few that happen at the time of the attack roll, and a few that happen before the attack roll. The distinction is most meaningful when there is variability or optionality in play - which often comes from opponents making decisions at these times.

While Bane and Fortune's Favor are applied/decided at the time of an attack roll, it isn't usually altering your decision to use Sharpshooter and it is very sensical that you'd make the election before the impacts are felt. However, Cutting Words isn't so straight forward and is elected when a creature makes an attack roll. You have to decide whether to use Sharpshooter before the enemy bard gets to decide whether to Cut you with Words. If you go for the big damage - it makes it a better time to use Cutting Words. If you don't, that penalty roll has to be bigger to make a difference ... If you reversed the order, it would make a big difference ... you'd get to decide whether to take the penalty to hit after you knew whether you were getting the Cutting Words penalty to hit.

Other things trigger before the attack roll - and this is something we see in Critical Role designs more than in typical D&D. Trick shots from the Gunslinger subclass must be declared before the attack roll, and are required to be done during the attack (usually) by the text of each trick shot. A Gun slinger would decide to sharpshoot, then decide whether to use a trick shot then roll to attack. The order here isn't going to be too impactful terribly often. Howeber, a Shadow Martyr maneuver from an Echo Knight is performed before the attack roll is made, so the order of operations there would be attacker decides whether to use Sharpshooter, defender decides whether to use Shadow Martyr, then attack roll is made. Similar to Cutting Words, you get to know whether the Sharpshooter is being applied before you decide to use the echo up.
 

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