D&D 5E Classes, and the structure of DPR

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
That's very true. As a DM I assume intelligent or cunning creatures - with experience of combat and whose lives depend on it - will circumvent the heavily armoured defensive types. Another example of the difficulties of designing effective defensive features.
I don't think it's difficult. It just means the whole team has to invest into boosting their own personal defense before it really pays off. It's fairly easy to invest in personal defense though. Casters can multiclass to a class with heavy armor or medium armor and shields (plenty of choices for that).

Martials can invest into Barbarian Rage or defensive spells.

Sure, but - to my taste - these broad, always-on defenses are the least interesting.
Maybe. I'm not sure that activated defenses are particularly more interesting to me or even powerful enough to take. Look at feats like defensive duelist or the battlemaster parry maneuver or the monks deflect arrows. All are activated options that you rarely see picked or used.

Were you inclined, you might investigate via probability distribution functions the efficacy of blur in conjunction with decent armor. Yes, it uses a resource. It frees up more resources, however.
I think this is one area where people focus too much on relative impact instead of absolute.

As an example, take a character getting attacked 6 times in a combat with a 50% chance to be hit. On average he will take 3 hits. Blur would reduce it so that he takes 1.5 hits. That a 1.5 hit difference.

Then look at an example of a character getting attacked 6 times in combat with a 30% chance to be hit. On average he will take 1.8 hits. Blur would reduce it so that he takes .54 hits. That's a 1.26 hit difference.

Point being, blur isn't actually preventing alot of hits in most combats.

A true Scotsman is a noble gentleman.
True Scotsman, meet Whiteroom Strawman ;)

The two strongest fighting styles are archery and defense. Dueling is third. However, you will consistently see the damage overrated.
IMO.

Archery is the best for archers.
Dueling is the best for sword and shield.
Defense is the best for Two Handed Weapons.

It's a tie between dueling and defense for combat with one handed weapon and a free hand.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
But your analysis is exactly my point, GWM NOT used properly /optimaly, isn't all that great. But your not using it optimally.

Change the fact pattern:

1. You said tier 2 so run it against AC 15 but with 18 or, more likely, 20 strength.

2. Assume the GWM utilizes advantage to its fullest. Say the DM allows flanking, or assume a vengeance paladin or (since D&D is a team game) assume a team member cast something like Fairie Fire on the bad guys. The GWM will get more out of advantage.

3. Forget the great sword and use a halberd and Polearm Master. Even if the fighter has an 18 strength vs. 20 strength, he'll be ahead in DPR, but regardless he'll have 20 STR by 8th level (still tier 2) and will be really ahead when properly utilizing advantage. Remember, he'll be getting 3 attacks and sometimes even 4 a round, and that's tier 2.

I've tried out the GWM, PAM fighter (with blind fighting style), he's an absolute beast.
Were you using precision attack manuever?
 

Mort

Legend
Were you using precision attack manuever?
Had it, but because advantage was so prevalent (I stopped allowing the flanking variant rule when I DM and this reinforced that!) needed it like once in the 4 hour session I was using the character. But yes, that also skews the math heavily in favor of GWM.
 

Mort

Legend
Achery is the best for archers.
Dueling is the best for sword and shield.
Defense is the best for Two Handed Weapons.

It's a tie between dueling and defense for combat with one handed weapon and a free hand.

If you allow Tasha's, I think Blind Fighting over takes Defense for two handed fighters but otherwise, yeah.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
If you allow Tasha's, I think Blind Fighting over takes Defense for two handed fighters but otherwise, yeah.
I think it can be in the right party. I don't think it necessarily always is. But if I was going into a campaign totally blind (no pun intended) i'd rather have blind fighting as the reward for having it when it will work is too great compared to the risk of giving up 1 AC.
 

Mort

Legend
I think it can be in the right party. I don't think it necessarily always is. But if I was going into a campaign totally blind (no pun intended) i'd rather have blind fighting as the reward for having it when it will work is too great compared to the risk of giving up 1 AC.

1 AC is good and all, but Blind Fighting even gets around magical darkness, something too many parties struggle with. Guess I've just seen too many DMs who love invisible, mirror imaged, displaced opponents to not recommend it.
 

ECMO3

Hero
But your analysis is exactly my point, GWM NOT used properly /optimaly, isn't all that great. But your not using it optimally.

Change the fact pattern:

1. You said tier 2 so run it against AC 15 but with 18 or, more likely, 20 strength.
Tier 2 means generally one ASI, this means you took GWM instead of taking an ASI and if you are using point buy you have a 16STR.

Yes you can run the numbers with a V Human or Custom with higher numbers or do it as a fighter than gets an ASI at 6th level, but the result is hardly going to change substantially

2. Assume the GWM utilizes advantage to its fullest. Say the DM allows flanking, or assume a vengeance paladin or (since D&D is a team game) assume a team member cast something like Fairie Fire on the bad guys. The GWM will get more out of advantage.

I think most DMs do not use flanking. The other things sure.

Even with advantage it is hardly as OP as you imply. Assuming you did play a V human and you have both an 20 and GWM at 6th level and assuming you get advantage on 50% of your attacks (and I think that is a high bar) your average is

13 DPA with GWM and 10 DPA if you took a 20 strength instead.

So that is it 3 point of damage per attack if you both have an 20 strength and advantage half the time against a 15AC opponent in tier 2.

Important to this discussion though the other character could have taken a different feat, including others that could enhance damage. For example, something like Hex that would give +3.5 on every attack for an hour (assuming you made concentration).

Finally damage rolled is not the same as damage dealt, you will roll on average 3 more damage against such foes, but it will come in much larger chunks and when you roll 25 damage for an attack against a foe with 5hps left, that 20 is going into the calculations, while it is not really damage you are doing.

3. Forget the great sword and use a halberd and Polearm Master. Even if the fighter has an 18 strength vs. 20 strength, he'll be ahead in DPR, but regardless he'll have 20 STR by 8th level (still tier 2) and will be really ahead when properly utilizing advantage. Remember, he'll be getting 3 attacks and sometimes even 4 a round, and that's tier 2.
Now you have used 2 feats and your DPR is even lower, and you can only do this with a human or custom in point buy.

Moreover this assumes you will be using your reaction to make an attack. If you win initiative you either have to stay back (reducing your DPR) or you won't get a free reaction attack on an enemy. More often than not you will be making 2 in attacks a round. You will get 3 on occasion and sometimes you will get 4 like you said. Finally you are not using flanking if you are doing this because you are witing for enemies to come to you, vice positioning yourself and flanking them. To flank you need an ally to be in contact first, that means the enemy is very unlikely to move into your reach.

However, you are losing 1.5DPR every single attack going with a 1d10 weapon over a 2d6 weapon. So now you have completely eliminated any numerical advantage that GWM would have given you. So if you make 3 attacks on your turn you are down 8 from where you would have been with a greatsword or maul and made 3 attacks with GWM. If you compare it to making 2 GWM attacks vs 3 PAM attacks (i.e. no crits).

I've tried out the GWM, PAM fighter (with blind fighting style), he's an absolute beast.

Sure it is fun and it can be powerful, but it is hardly OP. It also sucks when at 8th level you have a slew of +1 axes, shortswords and maces and then find a long sword of wounding while you are still walking around swinging a non-magical silvered Halberd.
 
Last edited:

ECMO3

Hero
The two strongest fighting styles are archery and defense. Dueling is third. However, you will consistently see the damage overrated.

Archery is strong, the others are not that great IME. I have never tried thrown weapon fighting, that does look encouraging. Blind fighting is situational although really good when you need it.

When I play a ranger I take Druidic Warrior, and usually get guidance and magic stone, the later to use on enemies you need magic to hit. At lower levels I find the lack of magic or silver weapons to be very debilitating and this is true well into tier 2 in many campaigns. We had a were rat nearly wipe out our party of 3rd level players (my monk/wizard did actually die). We had no magic weapons and no silver weapons. The others eventually won the day with spells, but one of our charracters was making attacks for hex damage only. Since then I have been a big fan of magic stone and you can replace it every level so if you do get a magic bow you can trade it for shillaleagh or if you get a magic Rapier and Bow you can trade it for druidcraft or mending.

If I am not playing a Ranger I get superior technique. The maneuvers I like to get are disarming strike, bait and switch or trip attack, probably in that order. In raw damage these are not as good as archery, or probably dueling, but I find them more useful and with the once a SR recharge you can use it in about half of the battles you find yourself in.
 
Last edited:

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
If you believe in “hot” and “cold” dice this might be a meaningful concern, but over time your average damage will approach the expected value, which makes consistently using GWM or SS when they improve your expected damage and not using it when it won’t an overall positive value proposition.
Ah, so we want to talk statistics now?

You failed to grasp my point, and perhaps I wasn't clear, so I will attempt again :) You are 100% correct that over time, the average will be reached. However, this is over a campaign, with probably hundreds of rolls.

However, a battle is short - 4 rounds is not unusual. And even though the dice is random and "fair", a random distribution is NOT homogenous. There will be strings of good, or bad rolls, just by chance. So in one battle the barbarian GWM is rolling well and is destroying everything. But in the next, they might have a streak of bad roll and do almost nothing. And that could mean a lost battle!

edit: I see someone else answered already, but I hope this is still helpful.
 
Last edited:

Oofta

Legend
I always take analysis of "best" with a grain of salt, but it's been difficult to really judge because who really tracks in the detail you would need? Well ... I've been playing Solasta a bit lately, and one of the things it has is custom made adventures. One aspect of this is that at the end it tells you statistics for your PC.

Funny thing is that according to analysis by various sites such as this one, paladins in the game are far better than fighters. On the page I linked paladins rank at least an "A" based on subclass while fighters rank a "C". So I put it to the test. Ran through a mod (the Slave Lord series) that did levels 1-4 then 4-6 and 6-10 as separate units. Surprise, surprise, my two weapon fighter had around 40% better damage after every unit. I made sure the paladin used all their smites and kept the ability scores, equipment, etc. relatively close.

So I'm not saying this has anything to do with real world D&D, after all it's a video game that doesn't have all the options since it's based on the public rules with custom classes. That, and there's really no reason not to short rest after every fight, so the fighter had their second wind and action surge for every combat.

What I am saying is that as far as I can tell based on my analysis is that the fighter in terms of the role that they played with my build was significantly better and given the limited options I don't see why I would rank the paladin as better then the fighter. The paladin has a few options that might be handy, but not anything that would balance it out.

Oh, and the battle cleric (ranked S+ IIRC on the web site) was in 3rd place, the paladin was last. The wizard was always first by a little bit because enemies showed up in fireball formation frequently and they gave me a wand of fireballs way too early.

So ... unless you play several sessions tracking every point of damage dealt and taken and you happen to be facing the same rest restrictions and monsters I happen to facing ... yeah. Interesting analysis, just not sure how much it matters.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Maybe. I'm not sure that activated defenses are particularly more interesting to me or even powerful enough to take. Look at feats like defensive duelist or the battlemaster parry maneuver or the monks deflect arrows. All are activated options that you rarely see picked or used.
Defensive duelist was picked by a battlemaster in my OOTA campaign, in late tier 2 I think it was. It was extremely strong.

I think this is one area where people focus too much on relative impact instead of absolute.

As an example, take a character getting attacked 6 times in a combat with a 50% chance to be hit. On average he will take 3 hits. Blur would reduce it so that he takes 1.5 hits. That a 1.5 hit difference.

Then look at an example of a character getting attacked 6 times in combat with a 30% chance to be hit. On average he will take 1.8 hits. Blur would reduce it so that he takes .54 hits. That's a 1.26 hit difference.

Point being, blur isn't actually preventing alot of hits in most combats.
The better analysis uses a probability distribution function, and takes into consideration critical hits.

Archery is the best for archers.
Agree.

Dueling is the best for sword and shield.
Defense is the best for Two Handed Weapons.
Disagree. The best value from defense (and defensive duelist, and blur FTM) is when your AC is already high. So the SnB fighter with plate, shield, defence has 21 AC. Defense isn't terrible on THW fighters, but it's not as good as it is on SnB.
 

Yep, that’s the formula.

If you believe in “hot” and “cold” dice this might be a meaningful concern, but over time your average damage will approach the expected value, which makes consistently using GWM or SS when they improve your expected damage and not using it when it won’t an overall positive value proposition.
That is usually true, but depending on the situation, reliable damage trumps the higher average.
 

'You can at least do this with this level 1 spell, but often you'll find better spells to you use with your slots whose impact is going to be much higher than +1d6 damage per attack' - seems like a fine baseline to me even if the player sometimes chooses to use a better spell.
Thing is, if you lose concentration, your baseline is down 10.5 points. A monk with stunning fist can easily make you drop it. You can take resilient constitution to at least have a better chance to resist the stun. But if the monk wants it hard enough, they will get through. The monk will also get into melee easily.
They also set up for other characters to deal more damage.
In our games hex and hunter's mark don't hold that long on average. So sometimes just using hellish rebuke with your slot will be a net advantage.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
That is usually true, but depending on the situation, reliable damage trumps the higher average.
It can. Again, it depends. You don’t just want to use the -5/+10 blindly. Against low-HP opponents, that +10 damage probably won’t matter, but against high-HP ones it might be worth it, depending on their AC. And of course, if you can get advantage, that significantly shifts things in favor of using that -5/+10.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Defensive duelist was picked by a battlemaster in my OOTA campaign, in late tier 2 I think it was. It was extremely strong.
It is a lot better at higher levels. In tier 4 it is equivalent of an at will shield against 1 attack a turn. Shield is stronger but uses a slot.
I think this is one area where people focus too much on relative impact instead of absolute.

As an example, take a character getting attacked 6 times in a combat with a 50% chance to be hit. On average he will take 3 hits. Blur would reduce it so that he takes 1.5 hits. That a 1.5 hit difference.

Then look at an example of a character getting attacked 6 times in combat with a 30% chance to be hit. On average he will take 1.8 hits. Blur would reduce it so that he takes .54 hits. That's a 1.26 hit difference.
yes but that is a huge difference in relative damage taken and it also is the difference between getting hit and not getting hit and other effects besides damage that often come with being hit.

For example getting hit one time less by a Ghoul means 1 less save required to avoid being paralyzed in addition to taking less damage over the course of a battle. With a 0.54 hits per fight most characters will probably not have to save at all. This pays forward too, by preventing the hit and the save to start with it also prevents future hits because if the Ghoul paralyzes on his third hit then the target with no disadvantage will likely get more than once more on the other 3 attacks later in the fight. If he gets paralyzed on the first, he is probably going to take 2 or 3 more hits. A Ghoul is CR1 and 3 hits with 2 criticals is likely going to kill many 1st level characters outright.

When you consider damage you need to consider critical hits. Using the same target 15 to hit, one in every 6 hits is going to crit and if you fight 6 times a day you are going to get crittted once or twice on average. With blur that is a flat 1 in 400 attacks regardless of AC.

Finally this presumes you need a 15 to hit (30%). The math is exponential and because of that Blur is most effective when your base defense is already better than that. We had a guy who played a bladesinger in our game and went multiple levels without getting hit in combat at all (like levels 4 to 7), not a single time and she was the first into melee every combat. Some of that was luck, some of it was the DM choosing not to attack her, but most of it was her base AC that was 22 in bladesong (mage armor, staff of defense, bracers of defense) before the shield spell and she had the lucky feat, for the already very, very rare case that the enemy rolled high enough on two dice.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
The better analysis uses a probability distribution function, and takes into consideration critical hits.
A very specific situation can be analyzed with probability distributions (including crits). However, the analysis for this could change significantly depending on the specific damage, hit rate and number of attacks paramaters you use. IMO, that means that specific kind of analysis in regards to this question won't be generalized enough to be beneficial.

Disagree. The best value from defense (and defensive duelist, and blur FTM) is when your AC is already high. So the SnB fighter with plate, shield, defence has 21 AC. Defense isn't terrible on THW fighters, but it's not as good as it is on SnB.
This is only true if you are talking relatively. Absolute matters more given the number of hits we are talking about potentially receiving. +1 AC will cause the same number of hits to miss at 20AC as at 10AC.

Disadvantage has the most absolute affect on reducing hits when you are at 50% to be hit. Why - because the difference between h and h*(1-h) is maximized on the scale of 0 to 1 when h = 0.5. *h=chance to be hit
 
Last edited:

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Thing is, if you lose concentration...
Your first explanation was something totally else and now you've shifted the explanation why to 'losing concentration'. Always is a bit frustrating when that happens.

That said, this was the reason I had expected you to go with initially. But the real question is how likely is it for a warlock to lose concentration twice before his next short rest. That's going to depend mostly on how many attacks he's facing, whether he has any AC boosts or Concentration save boosts. I'll ignore the last two parameters and set the warlocks AC at about 15 for this walkthrough (a reasonably moderate AC). Each attack will have about a 60% chance to hit you. Each hit will have about a 65% chance of maintaining concentration. This means each attack you face has a 0.6*0.35 = 21% chance of causing you to lose concentration. We could use that probability in a negative binomial distribution to determine how many times we can expect to be attacked before losing concentration twice. Without actually performing the calculation - the point is that we can expect to take a significant number of attacks before we would expect to lose than concentration.

In our games hex and hunter's mark don't hold that long on average. So sometimes just using hellish rebuke with your slot will be a net advantage.
In terms of total damage caused hellish rebuke tends to stay competitive with hex for most of the game (primarily due to scaling warlock slots). If you were really prone to losing concentration I'd recommend hellish rebuke over hex. That said, hellish rebuke does have a bit of a targeting problem as you can't be sure you'll get to hit the target you want with it.
 
Last edited:

ECMO3

Hero
This is only true if you are talking relatively. Absolute matters more given the number of hits we are talking about potentially receiving. +1 AC will cause the same number of hits to miss at 20AC as at 10AC.
This is only true if you assume there is never any advantage or disadvantage and everything is a straight roll with no modifiers.

Even when this is the case, when the numbers of hits is low already this dramatically changes the damage taken. For example, going from a 19 required to hit to a 20 required to hit will cut the number of hits in half and cut the amount of damage dice rolled against you by a full third. That is the difference between 100 damage and 67 damage on a series of attack rolls (and it would be less than 67 if some of that damage is a bonus and not from dice).

If you put disadvantage on top of that +1 it cuts the number of hits by 98% and the damage dice taken by 97%. That is the difference between 100 damage and 3 damage.
 
Last edited:

ECMO3

Hero
In terms of total damage caused hellish rebuke tends to stay competitive with hex for most of the game (primarily due to scaling warlock slots). If you were really prone to losing concentration I'd recommend hellish rebuke over hex. That said, hellish rebuke does have a bit of a targeting problem as you can't be sure you'll get to hit the target you want with it.
What kills hex most of all in the games I have played is the bonus action required to move it to a new creature or worse the hexed creature escaping/fleeing. Because of this, both Armor of Agathys and Hellish rebuke are going to do more damage. Of those I prefer AOA. Even though it is less damage on a single hit, it can and often does hit more than once per casting and gives you hps too. Also AOA does not require a reaction so you can even double it up and use both!

That said I still like hex not for the damage, but for the disadvantage it causes on ability checks. That can be a huge boon even if you only use it for 1 turn. Grappled by a Frog about to swallow you (pun intended) - Hex him before you try to break the grapple. Hex is the most common spell I get through a feat (magic initiate or Fey touched) and I especially like it for Rogues and Wizards.
 
Last edited:


Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top