D&D 5E Looking for a house rule for Great Weapon Master

I'm looking for a house rule to reduce the power of the second bullet point. I'll explain my parameters.

-I realize that many people think the feat's power level is necessary to achieve martial-caster parity. I have some other little tweaks that help martials, and this is not something I'm concerned about.
-I also realize this feat works fine when played by the casual non-optimized player that WotC designs class features for. While my group chooses not to optimize, I don't like how much this feat's effectiveness is gameable, and want to remove that aspect of it.
-I would like the replacement feature to at least partially scale in effectiveness with number of attacks, so that it is useful for any martial, but high level fighters with their additional attacks get even more out of it.
-I'm aiming for it to effectively grant a 20th level fighter with 4 attacks an additional 8 to 10 points of damage.

Can anyone think of some good rules to do that? An obvious one is just making it grant a +2 damage per attack, but that just doesn't feel right to me.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Have you considered switching to the 2024 playtest version?


Ability Score Increase. Increase your Strength score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
Cleave. Immediately after you score a Critical Hit with a Melee Weapon or reduce a creature to 0 Hit Points with one, you can make one attack with the same weapon as a Bonus Action.
Heavy Weapon Mastery. When you hit a creature with a Heavy Weapon as part of the Attack Action on your turn, you can cause the weapon to deal extra damage to the target. The extra damage equals your Proficiency Bonus, and you can deal it only once per turn.
 

Here is my version:

Great Weapon Master
You’ve learned to put the weight of a weapon to your advantage, letting its momentum empower your strikes. You gain the following benefits:
• On your turn, when you score a critical hit with a melee weapon or reduce a creature to 0 hit points with one, you can make one melee weapon attack as a bonus action.
• Before you make a melee attack using strength with a two-handed weapon or a versatile weapon used with two hands that you are proficient with, and you do not have disadvantage you can choose to get disadvantage to the attack roll. If the attack hits, you roll the weapon’s damage dice one additional time and add it as extra damage of the hit.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Have it be -2/+4 ?

Scales in power with extra attack. Still feels like GWM. Best case won’t scale astronomically high.
 

jgsugden

Legend
As you note, it isn't really broken. However, if you want to weaken it some, here are some options:

1.) Reduce the +10 damage to +5, 6 or 7 or 8. The reduction in hit chance means they'll still be missing out on damage from missing, so your goal of +8 to +10 should be reasonably close (depending upon the bonus you select, the AC of monsters you use, and the prevalence of advantage).

2.) Eliminate the -5/+10 and give them a bonus d4 per attack with a heavy weapon.

3.) Give them the benefits of savage attacker so that they can reroll the damage.

4.) If you're not against a little accounting, give them a 'wear them down' effect: Each time you hit the target your damage bonus goes up by 1. If you miss, this bonus resets back to 0. Thus, when attacking low AC high hit point foes you can build up high damage bonuses, but against high AC foes the bonus will be small and fade often. The bonus also resets when you roll initiative.

5,) Keep it as is, but on each successive hit using it you reduce the bonus damage by 1. If you miss during your turn, or if you do not use it during your turn, it resets to 10.
 

J-H

Hero
I changed both GWM and SS to provide +2 to damage. They still end up better than a fighting style for the price thanks to the other benefits, so they are worthwhile without creating a major numerical imbalance.
 

Clint_L

Hero
I don't think GWM is OP, but the 2024 version is a nice alternative. I think it actually maths out to better damage in most situations, though.

I think GWM feeling OP is mostly a result of confirmation bias - we naturally remember the hits and forget the misses.

Edit: for example, let's say you would normally need an 11 to hit your foe. Fighter with 20 strength, great sword.

Using GWM your average damage per attack is 5.5. Forgoing it, your average damage actually goes up, to 6.

So GWM is a meaningful choice - you have to constantly figure the odds on when to use it and when not. I like that. The above is a super bare bones example, of course, and the more factors you have to add in, the more complicated the choice gets. For example, the more damage you would do without GWM, the worse it becomes. And, of course, the converse is true as well: the weaker your damage without GWM, the better it is as an option.

Also, you have to factor in what you gave up to get GWM - either an ASI or another feat. So no, I don't think it is currently OP, at all, though clever players can figure out ways to really wring the most out of it, as with many feats (for instance, if you can work in tandem with another party member so that you are often taking swings against paralyzed opponents and getting auto-critical hits, then GWM would be amazing).

But if you just want to increase your level 20 fighter's DPR by about 8 per round, the 2024 version of GWM will do almost exactly that. It's less fun, though, IMO.
 
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Stormonu

Legend
I changed GWM (& SS) so that you drop you PB to hit and gain double that as damage. So, starting off -2 to hit/+4 to damage, doesn't go up to -3 to hit/+6 to damage until 5th level, and maxxes out at -6 to hit +12 to damage. (Of course, I also made similar tweaks to the other styles so they generally get better at higher levels and are dependent on PB).

It's still powerful, but not front-loaded as badly.
 

Horwath

Legend
Have you considered switching to the 2024 playtest version?


Ability Score Increase. Increase your Strength score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
Cleave. Immediately after you score a Critical Hit with a Melee Weapon or reduce a creature to 0 Hit Points with one, you can make one attack with the same weapon as a Bonus Action.
Heavy Weapon Mastery. When you hit a creature with a Heavy Weapon as part of the Attack Action on your turn, you can cause the weapon to deal extra damage to the target. The extra damage equals your Proficiency Bonus, and you can deal it only once per turn.
I like the 2024 version, but maybe not make Cleave spend your Bonus action but it's the part of the action that produced kill or critical.
 

ECMO3

Hero
-I'm aiming for it to effectively grant a 20th level fighter with 4 attacks an additional 8 to 10 points of damage.

At 20th level GWM does not deal nearly that much damage.

Doing 4 attacks a turn with a 20 strength against 20AC you are looking at 0.5 damage per attack or 2 DPR. IF the fighter has advantage every attack that goes up to 1.9 damage per attack or 7.6 more DPR. Both of these are below your 8 DPR threshold.

If you are playing something that has extra damage dice through something like Giants Might, or War Magic that number will go down and can even be upside down.

If your bonus action is generally free, the first part of the ability is generally more powerful than the second at this level due to bounded accuracy and the fact AC scales faster than proficiency bonus.
 
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