WotC A tweak for the Battlemaster fighter

dave2008

Adventurer
Yes, Fighters do more damage as long as you don't factor in the attacks from Bonus Actions or Reactions. As soon as you figure in those, Fighters drop behind. As I said in my OP:
Fighter gets reactions too, so isn't that a wash? Also, you should still figure in battlemaster bonus damage and action surge bonus damage. Those are important parts of the class. The spreadsheet doesn't account for these. If you are basing you analysis off the spreadsheet, it is going to give you false results.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
What we see is that a level 10 Ranger does a slightly higher DPR than a level 10 Fighter (subclasses excluded).
Ya, I realize it is more work, but excluding subclasses really under bakes the fighter. I would be it closes the gap or beats out the ranger with that damage added in.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
The problem is without feats, all the other classes keep up in damage relatively well with the fighter, and the fighter has nothing to offer out of combat that they can't already provide along with lots of extra goodies. (I think after level 11 the fighter will step ahead of the ranger and barbarian in terms of damage in such a game, but paladin is still better and monk still offers the best utility.
Ya, I do wish fighters were the #1 damage dealers since that is basically their thing. Unfortunately, there are lots or easy ways to do that!
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Fighter gets reactions too, so isn't that a wash? Also, you should still figure in battlemaster bonus damage and action surge bonus damage. Those are important parts of the class. The spreadsheet doesn't account for these. If you are basing you analysis off the spreadsheet, it is going to give you false results.
Ranger's attacks have a slightly higher damage than a fighters and so OA's will favor them (assuming your OA is against your hunter's marked enemy, not always the case I guess and so maybe it is more of a wash than otherwise anticipated).

I did figure in action surge.

The ranger subclass also adds damage. I didn't figure that in either. Suffice it to say that the battle master subclass is better than the ranger subclass for damage. How much depends on a lot of complex calculations and tactical situations and your valuation of damage now vs damage later etc.

If you want a ballpark for the fighter you could add roughly 82.5 to the fighters daily value. A hunter ranger with colossus slayer could add 79 to his daily value (maybe a bit lower since sometimes there won't be an injured enemy). It's close enough to a wash when it comes to sheer numbers. The benefit is being able to front load or gain effects from the battlemaster, or plan on using precision attack in a way that maximizes the amount of damage you can do per dice. The exact effect of all that is either difficult to calculate, or very ally dependent etc.

So, I really don't think I needed to account for maneuvers vs colossus slayer in numeric form. Just suffice it to say that the small benefit the ranger gets on consistent DPR is overshadowed by the battlemaster's ability to decide when to do DPR and what additional effect to attach to it.
 

Esker

Explorer
Overkill is not a thing to be concerned with.
1. Damage is a variable range and so having enough damage to guarantee your next hit kills an enemy also naturally produces a higher overkill value
2. Dead is the best condition and guaranteeing (or greatly increasing your chance for dead) by increasing the amount of overkill you can do is still a good thing.
3. Thus all reports that overkill is damage your not doing, while true misses the bigger picture. We aren't actually concerned with damage, we are concerned with dead. Higher overkill causes the dead condition more often than lower overkill (Exception is on exactly equal DPR PC's). Higher DPR correlates to the dead condition being afflicted to the enemy faster. That's why we care about DPR, not because the number is bigger.
I think this is missing the point that people are making when they talk about overkill damage. Obviously overkill damage is never a bad thing, but if comparing the damage output of two builds with similar averages but different variances, the lower variance build is preferable every time. One reason being that if you are achieving your average by combining a lot of misses with a lot of overkill damage, your average is overstated compared to the character that hits reliably and does near average damage most of the time.

The flexibility of the fighter's damage is a big part of their value: they can attack the same target multiple times, or kill several mooks in a turn, and, as you note, use action surge when it is most tactically advantageous. It makes them better than the rogue or the paladin at effective killing, even if their average DPR numbers might be the same.

It also means, by the way, that -5/+10 builds aren't quite as good as the average suggests.
 
Ya, I do wish fighters were the #1 damage dealers since that is basically their thing. Unfortunately, there are lots or easy ways to do that!
I would dispute that.

At least historically, the role of the fighter has been to defend the team, not to be the main damage dealer. And I haven't heard any announcement that 5e intended to change that.

I play an Eldritch Knight, and my abilities are selected on the basis of defending, not dishing out damage.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
I would dispute that.

At least historically, the role of the fighter has been to defend the team, not to be the main damage dealer. And I haven't heard any announcement that 5e intended to change that.
I get your point in terms of game history. I speaking of general assumptions. When I started playing in the 80s we assumed the fighter was the damage dealer and anyone I have introduced to the game in the 30+ years sense makes the same assumption.

Personally, since we have subclasses, I think it would make sense for 5e to have a tank/defender version, a damage/striker version, a commander/controller version, and something between a defender/striker. We actually have at least 2 of those 3 covered. I am not completely familiar with the samurai subclass (is that what it is still called) but at one point it seemed like a good striker to me. Who knows if we will get a proper warlord. There are, after all, other ways to get that feel.
 

Quartz

Explorer
That's actually hilarious. His own math shows the fighter doing more after he repeatedly told me to "check his spreadsheet".

He didn't account for action surge or superiority dice in any way.
Because I'm looking at just the base damage. As I mentioned in my OP. Action Surge gives ONE extra action (set of attacks) pwer short rest. Superiority dice are 4 per short rest. And I didn't account for Smites either.

He didn't account for OA's (rare as they are in many games) at all, despite proclaiming they were in his spreadsheet.
Actually, I do account for OAs - they're covered under Reaction.

I think I'm going to fix his spreadsheet and repost.
Keep digging.

What we see is that a level 10 Ranger does a slightly higher DPR than a level 10 Fighter (subclasses excluded).
Try looking at 11th level+ You know, when Fighters get their third attack, when Paladins get bonus damage, and so on.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Because I'm looking at just the base damage. As I mentioned in my OP. Action Surge gives ONE extra action (set of attacks) pwer short rest. Superiority dice are 4 per short rest. And I didn't account for Smites either.



Actually, I do account for OAs - they're covered under Reaction.
The sheet you uploaded has no reaction section...

Try looking at 11th level+ You know, when Fighters get their third attack, when Paladins get bonus damage, and so on.
Clearly the fighter is better at level 11+. Why would I look at something obvious?
 

Quartz

Explorer
The sheet you uploaded has no reaction section...
It's subsumed. You'll note that the spreadsheet has no Bonus Action section either. Just put in the total number of attacks the fighter gets, from 3 (for a 11th level fighter with no Reaction or Bonus attack) to 6 (for a 20th level fighter making both a Reaction attack and a Bonus Attack), in cell B2.


Clearly the fighter is better at level 11+. Why would I look at something obvious?
Because if you got off your high horse and examined the issue, you would find that that is not the case.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I think this is missing the point that people are making when they talk about overkill damage. Obviously overkill damage is never a bad thing, but if comparing the damage output of two builds with similar averages but different variances, the lower variance build is preferable every time.
That's not really true though. About the only time overkill grants the PC that does less any sort of advantage or parity is if both pcs are killing an enemy in exactly 1 hit, maybe 2 hits. That's rare in practice. At level enemies hp goes up absurdly fast. It's rare to keep on fighting orcs and goblins.

So in practice, the blurb about overkill is meaningless. It doesn't apply to practical situations. Higher DPR is still the easiest computed and best indicator of melee offensive effectiveness. That's because overkill on any creature that takes 3+ attacks to kill isn't a big enough factor to mitigate higher DPR.

One reason being that if you are achieving your average by combining a lot of misses with a lot of overkill damage, your average is overstated compared to the character that hits reliably and does near average damage most of the time.
It's not though. At the end of the day, the higher DPR PC will still nearly always kill the enemy faster than the lower DPR PC. (As mentioned above, the only exception was enemies both would kill in 1 hit or that both required 2 hits to kill.)


The flexibility of the fighter's damage is a big part of their value: they can attack the same target multiple times, or kill several mooks in a turn, and, as you note, use action surge when it is most tactically advantageous. It makes them better than the rogue or the paladin at effective killing, even if their average DPR numbers might be the same.
It makes them better at killing multiple small enemies. Against the bigger enemies with sufficient hp then the paladin actually performs better as he has the resources to ensure it dies on the 2nd turn whereas the fighter doesnt'.

It also means, by the way, that -5/+10 builds aren't quite as good as the average suggests.
Actually they are better than the average suggests. They can 100% kill more different enemies in a single attack than their non -5/+10 counterparts.

For example a 15 hp enemy pretty much always dies by them in a single attack. The same 15 hp enemy takes 2-3 attacks from a non-5/+10 PC to kill. (Thinking of a longbow wielding bow user).

I guess we could flip that around and say they are less effective at killing 6 hp enemies, but that's kind of obvious and not a scenario past level 5-6 that will come into play very often.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
It's subsumed. You'll note that the spreadsheet has no Bonus Action section either. Just put in the total number of attacks the fighter gets, from 3 (for a 11th level fighter with no Reaction or Bonus attack) to 6 (for a 20th level fighter making both a Reaction attack and a Bonus Attack), in cell B2.




Because if you got off your high horse and examined the issue, you would find that that is not the case.
I posted the freaking numbers for a level 10 fighter and level 10 ranger. The ranger at that point was less than 15% better at will damage than the fighter. Are you really telling me that going from 2 to 3 attacks isn't going to surpass that?
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
It's subsumed. You'll note that the spreadsheet has no Bonus Action section either. Just put in the total number of attacks the fighter gets, from 3 (for a 11th level fighter with no Reaction or Bonus attack) to 6 (for a 20th level fighter making both a Reaction attack and a Bonus Attack), in cell B2.
When you post stuff for other people to use, you really need to better specify and clearly mark your built in assumptions. You didn't because they are flat out unrealistic. Use some realistic assumptions and run the numbers and you will find I am right...
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
Because I'm looking at just the base damage. As I mentioned in my OP. Action Surge gives ONE extra action (set of attacks) pwer short rest. Superiority dice are 4 per short rest. And I didn't account for Smites either.
Just looking at base damage is very misleading. Those mechanics don't exist in a vacuum in gameplay so shouldn't be solely examined in a vacuum comparing gameplay.

Action surge only gives 1 extra action until it gives 2 extra actions and superiority dice are only 4 per short rest until they become 6+ per short rest. If we are looking at 3 attacks per round for a fighter then we are looking at 5 superiority dice per short rest minimum. The dice themselves increase in number and value as the battlemaster level increases.

It's not just the damage but also the effect. It's also part of a complete package.
 

Quartz

Explorer
5 superiority dice per short rest. That's only one or two dice per combat. That's not really significant.
 

Esker

Explorer
That's not really true though. About the only time overkill grants the PC that does less any sort of advantage or parity is if both pcs are killing an enemy in exactly 1 hit, maybe 2 hits. That's rare in practice. At level enemies hp goes up absurdly fast. It's rare to keep on fighting orcs and goblins.
It's not only the first hit against an enemy that matters, though. Any time the enemy is within a potential average hit of dying, a character with a low chance of doing a very high amount of damage is not as effective as a character with a high chance of doing just enough damage, if the averages are close.

At the end of the day, the higher DPR PC will still nearly always kill the enemy faster than the lower DPR PC.
I'm not talking about comparing two PCs with very different average DPR, I'm talking about comparing two PCs with similar DPRs, but different variances. The bigger the difference in variance, the bigger the difference in DPR has to be for the high-mean-high-variance character to be more effective.

Take an extreme example, much more pronounced than any difference you'd see in reality, but presented as a proof-of-concept. Character 1 only hits on a natural 20 but does 20d6 damage when they do hit. Character 2 always hits, but only does 1d6 damage on a hit. So both have 3.5 DPR but achieved in very different ways. Suppose each character is going one-on-one with an enemy with 70 HP. No real battle has an expected length of 20 rounds, but again, we're taking an extreme which is far, far away from the one-to-two-shot enemy scenario.

Character 1 has a chance to one-shot it, and is virtually guaranteed not to need more than two hits, but also has good chance they'll whiff round after round. Meanwhile, Character 2 has almost no chance to kill the enemy in fewer than 15 hits, but makes steady progress every round. Who would you bet on finishing the job faster?

Character 2 finishes first about 53% of the time; Character 1 about 45% of the time, with the other 2% being ties.

In a long battle like this, the matched DPR characters are pretty well matched for who finishes first, though the low variance character has a non-trivial edge. So who would you rather be?

If the odds are stacked against you such that you're likely to die "on average", then you'd take the Hail Mary and hope for that early crit. But most encounters are balanced such that the PCs are unlikely to die unless things go badly for them. So typically, guarding against tail risk is more important than trying to blow through encounters faster than expected. In that typical case, you stand to lose more by taking longer than average than you stand to gain by finishing sooner than average.

In this toy example, Character 1 has about a 1/4 chance of needing more than 40 rounds to finish the enemy, whereas Character 2 is nearly guaranteed to finish in 25 rounds or fewer.

So in terms of guarding against tail risk, you'd much rather be the low variance character.

It makes them better at killing multiple small enemies. Against the bigger enemies with sufficient hp then the paladin actually performs better as he has the resources to ensure it dies on the 2nd turn whereas the fighter doesnt'.
You're right about that, assuming the paladin has a high chance of hitting, and therefore being able to expend their smite slots when they want to. Smite is in some ways like an even more flexible action surge: a single smite is not worth as much damage as a whole new attack action, but since you use it when you know you hit, and since you can use it twice in a row, it's a more flexible and reliable form of damage (when you're facing a single big enemy). This actually supports my point.

Actually they are better than the average suggests. They can 100% kill more different enemies in a single attack than their non -5/+10 counterparts.

For example a 15 hp enemy pretty much always dies by them in a single attack. The same 15 hp enemy takes 2-3 attacks from a non-5/+10 PC to kill. (Thinking of a longbow wielding bow user).
Let's say the non-SS PC has a 60% chance to do 1d8+4, whereas the SS-PC has a 35% chance to do 1d8+14. So the regular archer has a DPR of 5.1, compared with the SS archer's DPR of 6.5. So the SS archer is about 25% better from an average DPR perspective. And indeed, against a foe with exactly 15 HP, such that on a hit the SS archer is guaranteed to kill them, they're very likely to do the job faster, and also less likely to take a dangerously long time.

But suppose the enemy has 18 HP, so the SS archer still has a better than 50% chance of one-shotting them if they hit, but no longer a guarantee.

The SS archer has a lower expected number of turns needed to finish the enemy (3.9 vs 4.3), and a much better chance of doing it within two rounds (41% vs 16%), but they also have nearly double the chance of taking a "dangerously long time" (say 8 rounds or more; about twice the average), at 12% vs 6.5%. Even if your threshold for "dangerously long" is more liberal, at 1.5 times the average, or 6 rounds, the non-SS character has a slightly better chance of staying clear of that danger zone.

So if you're optimizing for the odds of impressive breezy battles, yes, the extra 1.4 DPR is worth the added variance. But if you're hedging against catastrophe, you'd rather not use the -5/+10.
 

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