WotC A tweak for the Battlemaster fighter

Ashrym

Adventurer
5 superiority dice per short rest. That's only one or two dice per combat. That's not really significant.
Correction: that's 5 per short rest. It's 0-5 per combat because the use is deliberate. Players use these abilities when it matters, not when an encounter occurs just to spread them out.

There's no randomness in the use forcing a fighter to average the use out. That makes the uses always significant when they occur.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
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.
And that's ignoring the possibility that the higher damage lower chance to hit character already has the enemy dead at this point.

It amazes me that everyone that does that comparison never takes that scenario into account. It's always well the enemy is up with 1 hit remaining. NO. The enemy may very well already be dead by the higher damage lower chance to hit PC's previous hit.

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.
That has nothing to do with overkill. It's not about doing more overkill, it's about less risky options being better in a game that already favors the PC's winning. That's a phenomenon I agree with. But it's not overkill.

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.
Sure, Consistency has benefits. 2 important considerations:

1. Other PC's will be attacking your enemy as well. So the fight will really never hit that dangerously long territory because of that.

2. Extra attacks greatly reduce the overall variance. Considering a fighter can have SS + CE by level 4 and be making 3 attacks with it by level 5, I think that mitigates the issue enough to not worry about.

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.
I agree with the general premise, but I think that in play there are more mitigating factors than you've provided. That said, none of this still has anything to do with overkill. We are talking damage distribution and variance and kill rates. Not wasting damage on variance.
 

Quartz

Explorer
I'll upgrade my chart to 3 attacks. It's really easy. I just plug 3 in place of 2 and everything is formulaed out to work that way.

So looking at the chart the ranger does 22% less damage than the fighter at level 11...
That's because you are not granting the Ranger the Duellist style. And Action Surges aren't relevant here. We're looking at ordinary damage.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
That's because you are not granting the Ranger the Duellist style. And Action Surges aren't relevant here. We're looking at ordinary damage.
We are looking at a class comparison based on damage. Action surge's most common use by far is a damage spike.

We cannot ignore a class spike damage ability in a damage comparison. And just like superiority dice, the effect is always relevant because it's deliberate in it's use instead of controlked by random probability.
 

Esker

Explorer
And that's ignoring the possibility that the higher damage lower chance to hit character already has the enemy dead at this point.

It amazes me that everyone that does that comparison never takes that scenario into account. It's always well the enemy is up with 1 hit remaining. NO. The enemy may very well already be dead by the higher damage lower chance to hit PC's previous hit.
They might, and in scenarios where the high-variance character's damage is just enough to providing good odds of a one-shot kill, that works in their favor (hence the example about 15 HP being a really good number for the 1d8+14 character). But falling just short of a kill happens too. That's why we should look at probability distributions instead of just isolated scenarios.

That has nothing to do with overkill. It's not about doing more overkill, it's about less risky options being better in a game that already favors the PC's winning. That's a phenomenon I agree with. But it's not overkill.
It's not only about overkill, but it's partly about overkill. It's also about "underkill". Any time you fall within an average amount of damage short of a kill such that it takes you another hit to finish the job, the reason the reliable medium damage character has the edge is that their results consist of less overkill and less underkill.

1. Other PC's will be attacking your enemy as well. So the fight will really never hit that dangerously long territory because of that.
It sounds like you're saying PCs never fail to finish off monsters before monsters finish them off. I could also argue that the fact that the other PCs are there is reason to make sure you do your part, so the party as a whole can finish off the monster before their turn comes. Which means that the "one shot kill" edge case that you dismissed should arguably be about the "four shot kill" case.

2. Extra attacks greatly reduce the overall variance. Considering a fighter can have SS + CE by level 4 and be making 3 attacks with it by level 5, I think that mitigates the issue enough to not worry about.
Absolutely. The fighter's many attacks was the variance-reducing mechanism that spurred me to discuss the topic of variance in the first place.

none of this still has anything to do with overkill. We are talking damage distribution and variance and kill rates. Not wasting damage on variance.
I'm not sure exactly what distinction you're making. Overkill is part of the right tail that balances out the left-tail misses when looking at average damage.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
That's because you are not granting the Ranger the Duellist style. And Action Surges aren't relevant here. We're looking at ordinary damage.
Okay... I took away his TWF style and bonus action attack. Now he has duelist style. I've attached the chart. There was a tiny improvement.
Fighter vs Ranger lvl 11 both duelist.PNG
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
Yes we can. We ignore Action Surge for the same reason we ignore the Paladin's Smite. We're comparing the ordinary, base, damage.
I wouldn't ignore smite damage either. If we are only contributing base damage then spells off, no hunter's mark. It's not guaranteed to be taken by the ranger, or cast over other spells, or maintained because of concentration checks on a melee build. There's more to dispute the relevance of hunter's mark than smiting or action surge. Smiting and action surge are more reliable.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
5 superiority dice per short rest. That's only one or two dice per combat. That's not really significant.
Well that really depends. It is not uncommon for my group to get a short rest between every combat. That is why it is really helpful to account for everything in the spreadsheet.
 
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FrogReaver

Adventurer
I wouldn't ignore smite damage either. If we are only contributing base damage then spells off, no hunter's mark. It's not guaranteed to be taken by the ranger, or cast over other spells, or maintained because of concentration checks on a melee build. There's more to dispute the relevance of hunter's mark than smiting or action surge. Smiting and action surge are more reliable.
I honestly fail to see the use in considering any scenario where a significant factor is left out of a class comparison. Like if we grant the Ranger Hunter's Mark and ignore action surge and superiority dice and divine smite, then what is the comparison really telling us? That ranger's using spells are better than fighters and paladins who don't use spells or combat maneuvers? I could have made that point without having to do any spreadsheet math to back it up. Everyone would have accepted it on it's face.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Yes we can. We ignore Action Surge for the same reason we ignore the Paladin's Smite. We're comparing the ordinary, base, damage.
OK, at this point it really sounds like you are baking the numbers to prove a point rather than analyzing the data to discover an issue. A class is designed to use all of its features (at least is should be). To pick and choose which ones you want is not good analysis. If you want a fair and accurate comparison you need to account for smite damage, hunter's mark damage, maneuver dice damage, action surge damage and everything else. As it stands you are drawing conclusions from incomplete information. That does not lead to accurate results. If you are really interested in finding out if there is a problem you would find away to add everything into your analysis. I am confident you can do it! Good luck and please post the results when your complete!
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Yes we can. We ignore Action Surge for the same reason we ignore the Paladin's Smite. We're comparing the ordinary, base, damage.
Isn't action surge ordinary base damage? Is a significant class feature. It is not an optional feat.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
So how about adding per-round usage to the Battlemaster's maneuvers?

That is, at 3rd level the BM's maneuvers are as in the PHB, per Short Rest, but this changes at 5th level (maybe 6th?): in addition to the three uses per Short Rest, the Fighter gets one free use per round, two per round at 11th level, and three times per round at 17th level. You no longer gain extra superiority dice beyond the initial four. The BM gets a die or two of extra damage or can use them for other maneuvers.
Anyways, to move on from disputing the perceived problem.

This is a terribly OP proposal.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
That'd help the BM, some, the Monk, more, and the Warlock ...whoah.
This is true. The 5 minute rest option makes warlocks brutal. They still can't really unload a lot of spells per encounter but they can unload all their spell slots every encounter. At higher levels 3 spells per encounter in 5th level slots adds up fast.

It still doesn't increase 6-9th level spells for them and it does cause them to spam eldritch blast less unless it's a long fight, but it ends up being a lot of 5th level spells without a doubt.
 

Esker

Explorer
This is true. The 5 minute rest option makes warlocks brutal. They still can't really unload a lot of spells per encounter but they can unload all their spell slots every encounter. At higher levels 3 spells per encounter in 5th level slots adds up fast.

It still doesn't increase 6-9th level spells for them and it does cause them to spam eldritch blast less unless it's a long fight, but it ends up being a lot of 5th level spells without a doubt.
Even at 5th level, 2 3rd level spells every encounter is a lot!
 

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