How many 1st level Fighers can an 11th Level Fighter Kill?

Stalker0

Adventurer
I think this would be a fun little experiment series. 5e's bounded accuracy has made it where high level characters, while strong, are supposed to be toppled by the mob. Numbers mean more than level in 5e. So lets see how well that plays out in practice.

In this series, we will take a pretty high level character (11th), and see how well they do against a mob of their lesser (1st level ) breathren. For this game, we need to make a few rules:

1) Terrain: Open Field
2) Rules: Standard Rules, no Feats, No Magic Items.
3) Standard Elite Point Buy.
4) Standard Human (aka the lame one with +1 to all stats!)

We are going to start with the classic Sword Board Fighter, a Champion 11th Fighter. He'll have the plate, the shield, +2 damage from dueling, and +1 AC from his various fighting styles. That combined with this stat boosts, we get the key stats below.

Str: 20
Con: 17
HP: 120 (we are adding in second wind, because he is absolutely going to have a chance to use it).
AC: 21
Attack: x3 +9 (1d8+7), crit 19-20

vs our 1st level Fighter, using Sword, Chainmail, Shield. He will be using dueling as well to keep it consistent.
Str: 16
Con: 15
HP: 12
AC: 18
Attack: +5 (1d8+5)

We are going to keep the arena very simple. The big man is surrounded by guys. We have people in reserve so that if a person falls, more will take his place. No ranged weapons, these aren't pansies!! How long can the big guy hold on?

First, we take a look at the big man's damage. Damage isn't the important thing, its more about how many men does he kill a round. The key is depending on that d8 roll, it can be a kill, or just a mortal wound. Mortal wounds may be damaging, but 1st level fighters can second wind, so healing is an option.

After a lot of math, we determine the fighter will kill 1.41 men per round. Now, since this is not a complete kill, second wind is factored in, reducing it by an average of 6.5 damage, which is spot on as half a kill. This lowers it by .5 to .91 (basically the wounded fighter his healed to full, so we have to kill him all over again). The fighter does get action surge on the first round, doubling his power to 2.82. This is again reduced by .5 to 2.32.


For our 1st level fighters, after MATH, they will do an average DPR of 2.6 damage (go AC!). Doesnt' look like much, but with 8 guys surrounding, that damage adds up!


So our players are set, and the battle begins!!!! Ultimately, how many guys can the big man take out?


The answer.....10. The fighter kills the 8 guys surrounding him, along with 2 guys in reserve. He can just finish the task, dropping him to ~5ish HP. Any more is just too overwhelming, and he falls in battle. Obviously our math is an approximation, but it goes to show that the 11th level fighter can take on a small squad by himself, but the numbers do add up, and he certainly can be challenged by enough small guys.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
I think it is nice.
The 10 fighters all able to attack the one is very unfavourable for the 11th level fighter. But it prevents him doing anything he wants in a city. A squad of guards can bring him down.
 
I think this would be a fun little experiment series. 5e's bounded accuracy has made it where high level characters, while strong, are supposed to be toppled by the mob. Numbers mean more than level in 5e. So lets see how well that plays out in practice.

In this series, we will take a pretty high level character (11th), and see how well they do against a mob of their lesser (1st level ) breathren. For this game, we need to make a few rules:

1) Terrain: Open Field
2) Rules: Standard Rules, no Feats, No Magic Items.
3) Standard Elite Point Buy.
4) Standard Human (aka the lame one with +1 to all stats!)

We are going to start with the classic Sword Board Fighter, a Champion 11th Fighter. He'll have the plate, the shield, +2 damage from dueling, and +1 AC from his various fighting styles. That combined with this stat boosts, we get the key stats below.

Str: 20
Con: 17
HP: 120 (we are adding in second wind, because he is absolutely going to have a chance to use it).
AC: 21
Attack: x3 +9 (1d8+7), crit 19-20

vs our 1st level Fighter, using Sword, Chainmail, Shield. He will be using dueling as well to keep it consistent.
Str: 16
Con: 15
HP: 12
AC: 18
Attack: +5 (1d8+5)

We are going to keep the arena very simple. The big man is surrounded by guys. We have people in reserve so that if a person falls, more will take his place. No ranged weapons, these aren't pansies!! How long can the big guy hold on?

First, we take a look at the big man's damage. Damage isn't the important thing, its more about how many men does he kill a round. The key is depending on that d8 roll, it can be a kill, or just a mortal wound. Mortal wounds may be damaging, but 1st level fighters can second wind, so healing is an option.

After a lot of math, we determine the fighter will kill 1.41 men per round. Now, since this is not a complete kill, second wind is factored in, reducing it by an average of 6.5 damage, which is spot on as half a kill. This lowers it by .5 to .91 (basically the wounded fighter his healed to full, so we have to kill him all over again). The fighter does get action surge on the first round, doubling his power to 2.82. This is again reduced by .5 to 2.32.


For our 1st level fighters, after MATH, they will do an average DPR of 2.6 damage (go AC!). Doesnt' look like much, but with 8 guys surrounding, that damage adds up!


So our players are set, and the battle begins!!!! Ultimately, how many guys can the big man take out?


The answer.....10. The fighter kills the 8 guys surrounding him, along with 2 guys in reserve. He can just finish the task, dropping him to ~5ish HP. Any more is just too overwhelming, and he falls in battle. Obviously our math is an approximation, but it goes to show that the 11th level fighter can take on a small squad by himself, but the numbers do add up, and he certainly can be challenged by enough small guys.
You can't simply take average DPR's to come away with a meaningful comparison.
 

DragonBelow

Explorer
Seems pretty meaningful to me as a way to get a ballpark idea, you can get much closer with simulations too, but that is basically what he did (I presume). It would be fun to try to reproduce his "findings".
 
Seems pretty meaningful to me as a way to get a ballpark idea, you can get much closer with simulations too, but that is basically what he did (I presume). It would be fun to try to reproduce his "findings".
If he simulated he will get close. If he just used averages then he probably isn't anywhere near the actual average. Could easily be 30-40% off from his stated value if that's the case.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Ok, now try this at a real table.

One guy plays the 11th lv ftr. Everyone else plays the 8 1st lv fighters surrounding him.
No terrain, no ranged attacks.

Some questions though:
1) How far away do the replacement rookies start?
Do they re-spawn in place?
Do they have to move in?
Do they have to run in?

2) What's the dimensions of the fight area?

3) What type of initiative system is being used?

I'll bet in a real "game" your vet doesn't make it to 10 kills.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Ok, now try this at a real table.

One guy plays the 11th lv ftr. Everyone else plays the 8 1st lv fighters surrounding him.
No terrain, no ranged attacks.

Some questions though:
1) How far away do the replacement rookies start?
Do they re-spawn in place?
Do they have to move in?
Do they have to run in?

2) What's the dimensions of the fight area?

3) What type of initiative system is being used?

I'll bet in a real "game" your vet doesn't make it to 10 kills.
Well, sure, you said there's only 8 of them.
 
What if the 11th level fighter chose Archery as his second style, and the grunts have to close from a fair distance?

Or the Champion is facing a firing line of archers ...
...or Both.


Heh, what about the equivalent exercise for wizards? An 11th level wiz facing off against a graduating class of 1st level wizards - only spell allowed is Magic Missile...
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
What if the 1st-levels dogpile (grapple + shove + keep grappling so he can't stand up)?

The rules are unclear on whether a single Escape Action is capable of freeing you from multiple grapplers, but for the sake of argument let's say it is. Maybe half the grunts focus on grappling -- with 4 checks (proficient with Athletics gets them +5 each) that's reasonably likely to overwhelm the big guy (proficient with Athletics is +9 bonus) -- my math says that each round the big guy has a 20% chance of winning against all 4 grunts. And if he only wins against 2 grunts, then he can be grappled and prone. On those rounds, the grunts have advantage on attacks against him; so the grunts have given up half their attacks in exchange for advantage on the other half, which is not horrible. But more important, the big guy has disadvantage on attacks against the grunts, which could be quite a substantial benefit to them.
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Well, from the 100,000 simulations I ran, the average kills before the "Champion" falls was 7.90 with a standard deviation of 2.84 kills. A maximum of 22 kills (9 times) and 26 times with no kills at all.

I don't know how you handled initiative, but I gave the Champion a +1 modifier and the 1st-level fighters no modifier, with the Champion also going first in the case of ties. I also gave the Champion the 103 hp average and randomly added the second wind if hp dropped below 82 (since his max boost would add 21, returning him to full). The action surge was added the first round. Like you, replacements moved in when kills happened so the Champion was always attacked 8 times per round.

The chart shows the observed number of times X kills occurred. Your calculated estimated kills of 10 is high a bit IMO and I hope this helps. If you want the excel spreadsheet with the macro, just let me know.

killchart.png
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
What if the 1st-levels dogpile (grapple + shove + keep grappling so he can't stand up)?
Yeah, I thought about this as well and it is a much more realistic approach to the fight. The champion wouldn't last long IMO when gang-tackled. He would quickly be restrained in all likelihood and suffer from advantage on attacks against him, being knocked prone, advantage against him then, etc. Many conditions could alter the outcome of the fight, and it wouldn't be in favor of the champion.

If I feel ambitious, maybe I'll code it and run the sims this week.
 

Draegn

Explorer
In my game it would only take a single first level fighter to take down any level you might possibly imagine. I use critical hit charts and appropriate weapon skills.

Is using the terms AC, HP, EXP... enough to say you're playing d&d? Or do house rules and home brew content negate that?
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
Hey numbers and percentages may be off slightly, but in the end...

It informs me that a squad (10-13) of guards could be a viable threat.

Good info.
 

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