# D&D 5EEvaluating Range versus Damage (SS vs GWM) - putting a price on range

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
You'll hit on 70% of those 20% of attacks and increase your hit percentage 14%. Of course, you can do the same with SS. But if you do this with the Battlemaster I encourage you to come up with some estimation of bonus action attack chances.

A GWM, Precision-using, GWF-having, greatsword-wielding Battlemaster will do 39.0 dpr versus an AC 17 foe. How often will he drop a foe to zero? Will he intentionally choose to target weaker enemies just to trigger a bonus attack? (I would...). For simple math let's assume that he gets a bonus attack on 25% of rounds in addition to his roughly 15% chance for a critical on one of his three attacks. That's a bonus attack 40% of the time and an extra 3.9 pts of damage per round.
It proved to be simple to model. I just made a row per round and summed and divided. That allowed me to create Precision attack rounds. I found for both parties, Precision attacking was best. I identified a fault in our assumption that killing outright would happen in a quarter of rounds and that would be on top of critical attacks, because critical attacks are by far the most likely to kill outright and should overlap a lot of the time. Therefore I reverted to the higher of the two values (0.25). Accepted, sometimes a critical hit won't kill outright, but we are talking about fractions of a damage point here.

Using Precision

• A = GWM Greatsword = 39/turn
• B = SS/CEx Hand Xbow = 35.7/turn at 120' range*
*If the ranged attacker has 10% more up-time as I suggest, that becomes 39.3 per turn.

The ranged attacker benefits from better damage mitigation, which the GWM fighter has sacrificed for GWF. The relevant foe has +10 Multiattack for 20 per hit.
• A = we believe the GWM fighter kills outright 1/4 of the time, so he is hit back at least 3/4 of the time (depends on initiative) = 0.65*20*2*0.75 = 19.5
• B = we believe the SS/CEx fighter is in melee no more than half the time 0.65*20*2*0.5 = 13
• We call mitigated damage 60% of the value of dealt damage = 3.9
With these factors, ranged attacker ends up enjoying 43.2 effective damage against GWM 39. Raw damage was 35.7 versus 39.

This example suggests a factor of +20% for range, which I believe low-balls it because damage mitigation is probably higher, up-time advantage is probably greater, and I have ignored the benefits of focused fire.

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#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
5e lacks balance mechanisms for ranged attack.
+2 ac bonus from cover is not enough to counterbalance range and possible focus fire options.

Especially fighting style and cover removal and removing of long range by sharp shooter pushes it ober the top.

Solution is quite easy: add point blank range from 3e. You only add precision based damage within 30ft from your target.

I am indifferent however if the -5/+10 part will be usable from ojside point blank range or if the better option would be increasing point blank range to 60ft or both.
I like the point blank option but it still gets pretty exploitable with Longbows, and you still have Hand Crossbows dealing GWM damage out to 30'. The two solutions I like are really simple.

Sharpshooter - power attack is once per turn.
Crossbow Expert - doesn't obviate disadvantage for ranged in melee, except for hand crossbow (which is much reduced in power due to SS change).

#### EternalRain

##### First Post
Another great benefit to ranged that I found in play was the ability to be able to hit the right target.

i don't know if this got figure into [MENTION=71699]vonklaude[/MENTION]'s calculations, but I want to at least 2nd this thought. Getting to choose what your attacking is very important - as long as your DM doesn't have them constantly ducking behind cover!

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
i don't know if this got figure into [MENTION=71699]vonklaude[/MENTION]'s calculations, but I want to at least 2nd this thought. Getting to choose what your attacking is very important - as long as your DM doesn't have them constantly ducking behind cover!
It would come into the up-time assumption. And I agree with you about its importance and probably haven't factored it in strongly enough. I've assumed 10% better up-time/target-selection for ranged. It could be a lot more than that.

Part of the reason I chose 10% is I wanted a number that was thoroughly credible, i.e. that it would be hard to argue should be made smaller. With that low-balled number, we still show that ranged damage is worth 1.3x melee damage!

#### UngeheuerLich

##### Legend
I like the point blank option but it still gets pretty exploitable with Longbows, and you still have Hand Crossbows dealing GWM damage out to 30'. The two solutions I like are really simple.

Sharpshooter - power attack is once per turn.
Crossbow Expert - doesn't obviate disadvantage for ranged in melee, except for hand crossbow (which is much reduced in power due to SS change).

I forgot: I consider dex bonus to damage as precision damage.
And strength based damage is also not appliciable.
That way, a longbow fired from further than 30ft only does 1d8 points of damage. Which is still plenty but only half of what it would do else.
Heavy armlor mastery would also be a quite good counter to massive longbow fire, reducing damage to 0 in 37.5% of all cases.
And furthermore cantrips would not look so bad anymore compared to long and crossbows.

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#### guachi

##### Hero
At least cite the AC you are looking at when you mention DPR. A very low AC can more than double DPR compared to a 20 AC.

I was using an AC of 17 (65% chance of hit). It's the same AC that vonklaude is using in his other calculations.

Assumptions:
EK 8/Rogue 3
DEX +5
INT +1
rapier
Greenflame Blade can hit two targets
Sentinel triggers
Sneak attack is available on your turn and not-your-turn

The final three assumptions are best case scenario, but it's a good place to start!

First attack average damage: 25.85 Your GFB is active and your Sneak attack triggers if you hit (65%).
Second attack average damage: 9.42. No GFB and Sneak attack only triggers if you missed the first time (35%) and hit the second time (65%)
Sentinel attack average damage: 12.6 No GFB but your Sneak attack will trigger every time you hit (65%).

Total Damage: 47.9

You have higher mobility and can get into combat faster because of Cunning Action. If you have to bonus action dash to get into range you do give up an extra attack from War Magic, though one attack using GFB is still higher damage than two attacks from using your Attack action (unless GFB can't hit a second target)

If you are so far away you must use a bow and there is no sneak possibility = 12.8 DPR. Sneak possibility because you are hidden = 21.45 DPR. Though you're probably better off dashing instead of hiding so you can get into combat faster.

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#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
I was using an AC of 17 (65% chance of hit). It's the same AC that vonklaude is using in his other calculations.

Assumptions:
EK 8/Rogue 3
DEX +5
INT +1
rapier
Greenflame Blade can hit two targets
Sentinel triggers
Sneak attack is available on your turn and not-your-turn
Okay, good. With SS+CEx versus GWM behind us, let's look at this scenario. By uncanny coincidence, this has been on my radar and I am playing a character in TotYP with something like this in mind right now!

The final three assumptions are best case scenario, but it's a good place to start!

First attack average damage: 25.85 Your GFB is active and your Sneak attack triggers if you hit (65%).
Second attack average damage: 9.42. No GFB and Sneak attack only triggers if you missed the first time (35%) and hit the second time (65%)
Sentinel attack average damage: 12.6 No GFB but your Sneak attack will trigger every time you hit (65%).
First point is to check Sneak Attack? Rakish Audacity is not unconditional and conflicts with the Sentinel trigger, but Sneak Attack is still granted by enemies of target (your allies) being within 5'. But then, why doesn't foe just attack us? Thus denying us the trigger? And Rakish Audacity does conflict with Green Flame Blade jumping to a second target.

Okay, so we only get Green Flame Blade bouncing to a second target in cases where Rakish Audacity doesn't give us Sneak Attack. Is that a problem?
We can't assume 100% up-time on Sentinel triggers. Any thoughts on a plausible assumption.

[Edit to note Sneak Attack from Sentinel works, but we need an assumption about Sentinel trigger rate.]

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#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
If you are so far away you must use a bow and there is no sneak possibility = 12.8 DPR. Sneak possibility because you are hidden = 21.45 DPR. Though you're probably better off dashing instead of hiding so you can get into combat faster.
Huh? Why is there no sneak possibility? There are a few neat ways to get it from range. Hide and fire. Hide and fire and have Skulker. Have Superior Darkvision and fire in darkness from outside their torchlight or Darkvision range.

I must misunderstand what you mean?

#### guachi

##### Hero
Okay, good. With SS+CEx versus GWM behind us, let's look at this scenario. By uncanny coincidence, this has been on my radar and I am playing a character in TotYP with something like this in mind right now!

First question is how to trigger Sneak Attack? Rakish Audacity is not unconditional and conflicts with the Sentinel trigger. It also conflicts with Green Flame Blade jumping to a second target.

We only get a Sentinel trigger if a creature disengages (which monsters rarely do).
We only get Green Flame Blade bouncing to a second target in cases where Rakish Audacity doesn't give us Sneak Attack.

So we need a way to grant fiat Sneak Attack. Any thoughts?

Trigger sneak attack by having an ally adjacent to your enemy. Also you need an ally adjacent to your enemy to trigger Sentinel. Both sneak and Sentinel benefit greatly from having other melee allies so they work well together naturally. We won't (except rarely) be triggering Sentinel by having a foe disengage. Also, The GFB jump doesn't have to be to a target 5 feet from you but 5 feet from your original target.

So team up with a melee buddy or two (maybe a wolf barb for advantage, a shield master to knock prone for advantage or move a foe 5 feet so it's adjacent to another foe, etc.).

Heck, go nuts and take Spell Sniper to increase your GFB range to 10 feet and sneak attack from behind the lines with a whip. This gives you a higher chance of getting Sentinel if, e.g., you are standing behind two melee allies. Errata removed the need to be within 5 feet of a foe that attacks an ally. You just need to be in melee range how.

If you're curious, damage on your turn breaks down like this:
Weapon:15.40
GFB Primary target: 6.30
GFB Secondary target: 6.95
Sneak Attack: 6.62

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
Trigger sneak attack by having an ally adjacent to your enemy. Also you need an ally adjacent to your enemy to trigger Sentinel. Both sneak and Sentinel benefit greatly from having other melee allies so they work well together naturally. We won't (except rarely) be triggering Sentinel by having a foe disengage.
Snap! I reached the same conclusion after posting. However, we can't assume enemy will conveniently attack our ally, when they could just attack us and avoid triggering Sentinel. As a DM, I play that creatures whose lives depend on it, who are experienced in life-and-death struggles, are canny enough to recognise such traps as formations containing Sentinel coming against them.

For me, it is plausible that about one-third of the time, we get a Sentinel trigger. The rest of time the creature's target is us: especially if we are their main threat.

Also, The GFB jump doesn't have to be to a target 5 feet from you but 5 feet from your original target.
Sure, but again I don't see why creatures seeing green fire flickering on your blade conveniently position to help you. Again, we need an assumption about how often that happens.

So team up with a melee buddy or two (maybe a wolf barb for advantage, a shield master to knock prone for advantage or move a foe 5 feet so it's adjacent to another foe, etc.).
Okay, so we will assume allies for the ranged attacker too, right? Casters, probably.

15.40[/COLOR]
GFB Primary target: 6.30
GFB Secondary target: 6.95
Sneak Attack: 6.62
I'll work through the scenario. At present, it is asking a lot from foes, in terms of their conveniently triggering our maximum damage. They can't be assumed to be ignoring their greatest threat. So I will add ratios for how frequently everything triggers. We can then argue over those until we have some consensus values.

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