D&D 5E Not Much Ado About Bless

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
But we’re discussing bonuses to hit being broken. I agree that situation matters far more than just looking at the numbers.

And yup you need those fighter types there to let the casters do their job. My point wasn’t that wizards make fighters redundant.

My point was that boosting the fighter’s damage makes zero difference to balance in the long run because most of the damage the group is dealing will not be coming from the fighter types.

Going from dealing 30% of the group’s damage to 40% still means that your not dealing as much as the wizard. It just means that you might be saving the wizard a spell or two per day.

IOW no big deal.

Treating aoe damage as equivalent to multi attack damage is IMO one of the largest sins in D&D analysis. Ask yourself, is it better for the fighter to do 25 damage to 4 targets or is it better that he can apply that 25 damage to one enemy up to 4 times (enemy hp permitting).
 

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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Like in all discussions, it depends. If each enemy has 50 hit points, and the Wizard hits them all for 25, then it's going to make a Fighter who can do 25 to 4 targets twice as effective.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Like in all discussions, it depends. If each enemy has 50 hit points, and the Wizard hits them all for 25, then it's going to make a Fighter who can do 25 to 4 targets twice as effective.

That still doesn’t take away the point that damage for damage multi attack damage in general is more valuable than aoe.

You seem to be arguing about the trees when it’s the forest that matters.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
That still doesn’t take away the point that damage for damage multi attack damage in general is more valuable than aoe.

You seem to be arguing about the trees when it’s the forest that matters.
No argument, just pointing out that both kinds of damage can be valuable depending on the situation. A Wizard versus a pack of Goblins can be more valuable than a Fighter. A Fighter versus a Dragon can be more valuable than a Wizard.

What would be better, of course, is if the Fighter had access to abilities like Hordebreaker so they could pick and choose for those instances when you do 25 damage per hit, but only need 12.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
No argument, just pointing out that both kinds of damage can be valuable depending on the situation. A Wizard versus a pack of Goblins can be more valuable than a Fighter. A Fighter versus a Dragon can be more valuable than a Wizard.

Okay. But this has never been in dispute.
 


Dausuul

Legend
Sorry for the OT, but what GWM and sharpshooter combo?
I think Zardnaar meant combos using GWM or Sharpshooter; Reckless Attack + GWM, Crossbow Expert + Sharpshooter, etc.

As far as I know, there isn't a single combo that combines both of those feats. Although it isn't quite impossible. GWM requires you to "make a melee attack with a heavy weapon," and Sharpshooter requires you to "make an attack with a ranged weapon," so if you beat somebody over the head with a longbow, you could take -10/+20.
 


Hussar

Legend
Treating aoe damage as equivalent to multi attack damage is IMO one of the largest sins in D&D analysis. Ask yourself, is it better for the fighter to do 25 damage to 4 targets or is it better that he can apply that 25 damage to one enemy up to 4 times (enemy hp permitting).
Again, it's really, really going to depend on the table.

After all, as was mentioned, doing 25 damage to 4 targets sets up 4 potential deaths rather than 1 or 2 depending on how many HP the baddies have. Additionally, if your DM plays the monsters as intelligent, it's not unreasonable that 4 targets run away after all being damaged like that.

Or, ask yourself this. Which ends a fight faster - two fireballs or a fighter? And, as was mentioned, in any encounter where you have lots of smaller targets, rather than one big one, fireball is going to be far more effective.

So, yeah, you have to calculate total damage. In your example (and note, 25 damage/hit from a fighter is HUGE - we're talking GWF hitting every time to get that kind of average) if the enemies have 26 HP, you waste most of your damage plus 2 of your attacks. With fireball, I only need to make one action to deal the damage. There really isn't any wasted effort because the cost is so low.

For that fighter to do that, before 11th level anyway, he'd have to action surge and then attack 4 times, with two of his attacks mostly being wasted. An action he cannot repeat. The wizard drops a fireball, kills all four targets plus potentially more if they're in the area, and he can (after 5th level anyway) do it again and probably several more times before needing a rest.

Like I said, track the damage. Heck, even only track the actual damage - don't track any extra damage that goes over the monster's HP - and the wizard is so far ahead of the fighter that it doesn't matter how much you buff the fighter. At best that fully buffed fighter with GWF and a flaming sword is just equal to the damage that that wizard is doing. Which is what it's supposed to be. Fighters aren't supposed to be the primary damage dealers.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Again, it's really, really going to depend on the table.

After all, as was mentioned, doing 25 damage to 4 targets sets up 4 potential deaths rather than 1 or 2 depending on how many HP the baddies have. Additionally, if your DM plays the monsters as intelligent, it's not unreasonable that 4 targets run away after all being damaged like that.

Or, ask yourself this. Which ends a fight faster - two fireballs or a fighter? And, as was mentioned, in any encounter where you have lots of smaller targets, rather than one big one, fireball is going to be far more effective.

So, yeah, you have to calculate total damage. In your example (and note, 25 damage/hit from a fighter is HUGE - we're talking GWF hitting every time to get that kind of average) if the enemies have 26 HP, you waste most of your damage plus 2 of your attacks. With fireball, I only need to make one action to deal the damage. There really isn't any wasted effort because the cost is so low.

For that fighter to do that, before 11th level anyway, he'd have to action surge and then attack 4 times, with two of his attacks mostly being wasted. An action he cannot repeat. The wizard drops a fireball, kills all four targets plus potentially more if they're in the area, and he can (after 5th level anyway) do it again and probably several more times before needing a rest.

Like I said, track the damage. Heck, even only track the actual damage - don't track any extra damage that goes over the monster's HP - and the wizard is so far ahead of the fighter that it doesn't matter how much you buff the fighter. At best that fully buffed fighter with GWF and a flaming sword is just equal to the damage that that wizard is doing. Which is what it's supposed to be. Fighters aren't supposed to be the primary damage dealers.
Now to be fair, the Fighter is going to be able to attack many more times than the Wizard hurtling magical flaming blasts. So it's not like the Wizard outperforms in every fight.
 

Hussar

Legend
Now to be fair, the Fighter is going to be able to attack many more times than the Wizard hurtling magical flaming blasts. So it's not like the Wizard outperforms in every fight.
Oh very true. Absolutely true.

But, we have to track over time. Looking at fights in isolation won't tell us anything.

And, over time, the wizard will deal more total damage that the fighter every time.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Now whether that's more effective damage is up for debate, but damage is probably the weakest thing a wizard can contribute anyways (but the most synergistic with what the rest of the party is doing).
 

Hussar

Legend
Now whether that's more effective damage is up for debate, but damage is probably the weakest thing a wizard can contribute anyways (but the most synergistic with what the rest of the party is doing).
Still doesn't change my point that bless isn't actually changing the balance much. The fighter dealing 20% more damage doesn't really matter since the fighter's in the bottom half of the damage pool anyway. A +1 strength doesn't matter either - to address the other thread that spawned this one. Again, helping the fighter deal a bit more damage doesn't amount to changing the game since it's not the fighter that's the primary source of damage from the party anyway.
 


jgsugden

Legend
It reads to me as if you are valuing equally over the whole encounter. An enemy casting a control spell on round 4 isn’t nearly the same as casting that spell on round 1. If bless is up on round 1 it will make a much larger difference in that encounter than if the enemy gets 1 extra round in which he uses that same control spell on round 4 (IMO starting tier 2 bless is likely to cause more damage than an equal level guiding bolt *some exceptions apply)
You seem to be getting half my point, but missing the other half.

If you cast it in Rd 1, there is no immediate direct change on the battlefield. Nobody falls down. Nobody loses hps. You're altering the attack probability and the saving throw probability of future situations, and in both cases you're doing so in a manner that will matter in 1 in 8 rolls. So, on average, you're going to get 1 extra hit out of 8 attack rolls, and you're going to make 1 extra saving throw once in every 8 saving throws. This is (as a 1st level spell) going to be limited to 3 creatures, so at low levels those 8 attack rolls will require about 3 rounds (or less if you dual wield, but then your damage is less per attack, so it offsets).

That extra hit has to match the average benefit of a guiding bolt for that extra hit to have been equal in damage benefit of a guiding bolt. That average benefit, when a GB hits, is ~14 damage plus the expected average damage increase for that advantage being granted to the next strike and offset by the impact of the chance you miss with the GB. If one hit comes up shy of equivalent damage, then you need to double the number of attacks to 16 before your bless is expected to account for more damage than the guiding bolt - which could be 5 to 6 rounds. By that time, if your combat is not in cleanup mode, you're in an unusual combat.

On the defensive side, bless benefits 1 in 8 saving throws. Often, there will not be enough saving throws made in a combat that the bless will have any real impact defensively. However, the defensive penalty of using bless instead of guiding bolt is more likely to impact the party.

By not directly doing damage on your turn, and instead giving 3 members of your team a buff, you slowed down how quickly you could take monsters down. That means the monsters may get an extra attack. And that extra attack may not be just one attack. If it takes you longer to fell the first monster, that means it will be longer before you start damaging the next monster. Casting bless instead of guiding bolt may result in several extra attacks during a combat being delivered to the party.

Example:

Rd 1 version A: Cleric casts bless, then ogre attacks, then ally fighter attacks, then ogre 2 attacks, then ally rogue attacks, then ogre 3 attacks, then ally paladin attacks. We see three attacks, so there has been 3 opportunities for there to have been a miss turned into a hit, which works out in a ~33% chance that the bless had an impact on the combat.

For comparison: Rd 1 version B: Cleric casts guiding bolt, then ogre attacks, then ally fighter attacks, then ogre 2 attacks, then ally rogue attacks, then ogre 3 attacks, then ally paladin attacks. Cleric opens up with a chance to deal ~14 damage, and increase the chance the fighter hits. At the end of the fighter turn, you're clearly better off and have a bigger head start on taking down a foes.

From there on, there is a 1 in 8 chance that the bless spell would have assisted you. There is a less than 25% chance bless would help you in those last two attacks during the first round. As we close out the first round, there is a good chance the version A party either dropped an ogre, or are about to do so. This means you're likely to see one less attack from that ogre than you otherwise would see if you cast bless. This extra attack outweighs the benefit of the save bonus in most combats, as you need about 8 saving throws amongst 3 PCs in combat to average 1 meaningful benefit.

As the rounds progress, bless - if it is not lost due to a loss of concentration - can catch up on the damage dealt, but it is unlikely to make up for defensive penalty of that extra round of attacks from ogres until after the offensive benefit overtakes the GB in 5 to 7 rounds. Further, you're also expending your concentration during that time, which means other concentration benefit spells are off the table.

There are changes to the situation that can increase or decrease the benefit of bless (such as enemies that force a lot of saves, casting it before combat, etc...), but in general, the benefit of it is extremely overestimated in this edition, and it gets used more than it should.

If you're still not convinced: You also have to factor in the tendency for PCs to use their best attacks first in a combat, meaning that unless the cleric wins initiative, the bless is also often going into effect after some of the most meaningful attack rolls of the combat are in place.

I have many PCs that have this spell. It is not cast often.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
You seem to be getting half my point, but missing the other half.

If you cast it in Rd 1, there is no immediate direct change on the battlefield. Nobody falls down. Nobody loses hps. You're altering the attack probability and the saving throw probability of future situations, and in both cases you're doing so in a manner that will matter in 1 in 8 rolls. So, on average, you're going to get 1 extra hit out of 8 attack rolls, and you're going to make 1 extra saving throw once in every 8 saving throws. This is (as a 1st level spell) going to be limited to 3 creatures, so at low levels those 8 attack rolls will require about 3 rounds (or less if you dual wield, but then your damage is less per attack, so it offsets).

That extra hit has to match the average benefit of a guiding bolt for that extra hit to have been equal in damage benefit of a guiding bolt. That average benefit, when a GB hits, is ~14 damage plus the expected average damage increase for that advantage being granted to the next strike and offset by the impact of the chance you miss with the GB. If one hit comes up shy of equivalent damage, then you need to double the number of attacks to 16 before your bless is expected to account for more damage than the guiding bolt - which could be 5 to 6 rounds. By that time, if your combat is not in cleanup mode, you're in an unusual combat.

On the defensive side, bless benefits 1 in 8 saving throws. Often, there will not be enough saving throws made in a combat that the bless will have any real impact defensively. However, the defensive penalty of using bless instead of guiding bolt is more likely to impact the party.

By not directly doing damage on your turn, and instead giving 3 members of your team a buff, you slowed down how quickly you could take monsters down. That means the monsters may get an extra attack. And that extra attack may not be just one attack. If it takes you longer to fell the first monster, that means it will be longer before you start damaging the next monster. Casting bless instead of guiding bolt may result in several extra attacks during a combat being delivered to the party.

Example:

Rd 1 version A: Cleric casts bless, then ogre attacks, then ally fighter attacks, then ogre 2 attacks, then ally rogue attacks, then ogre 3 attacks, then ally paladin attacks. We see three attacks, so there has been 3 opportunities for there to have been a miss turned into a hit, which works out in a ~33% chance that the bless had an impact on the combat.

For comparison: Rd 1 version B: Cleric casts guiding bolt, then ogre attacks, then ally fighter attacks, then ogre 2 attacks, then ally rogue attacks, then ogre 3 attacks, then ally paladin attacks. Cleric opens up with a chance to deal ~14 damage, and increase the chance the fighter hits. At the end of the fighter turn, you're clearly better off and have a bigger head start on taking down a foes.

From there on, there is a 1 in 8 chance that the bless spell would have assisted you. There is a less than 25% chance bless would help you in those last two attacks during the first round. As we close out the first round, there is a good chance the version A party either dropped an ogre, or are about to do so. This means you're likely to see one less attack from that ogre than you otherwise would see if you cast bless. This extra attack outweighs the benefit of the save bonus in most combats, as you need about 8 saving throws amongst 3 PCs in combat to average 1 meaningful benefit.

As the rounds progress, bless - if it is not lost due to a loss of concentration - can catch up on the damage dealt, but it is unlikely to make up for defensive penalty of that extra round of attacks from ogres until after the offensive benefit overtakes the GB in 5 to 7 rounds. Further, you're also expending your concentration during that time, which means other concentration benefit spells are off the table.

There are changes to the situation that can increase or decrease the benefit of bless (such as enemies that force a lot of saves, casting it before combat, etc...), but in general, the benefit of it is extremely overestimated in this edition, and it gets used more than it should.

If you're still not convinced: You also have to factor in the tendency for PCs to use their best attacks first in a combat, meaning that unless the cleric wins initiative, the bless is also often going into effect after some of the most meaningful attack rolls of the combat are in place.

I have many PCs that have this spell. It is not cast often.
Does the possibility of missing with Guiding Bolt effect the math any? Just curious.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Still doesn't change my point that bless isn't actually changing the balance much. The fighter dealing 20% more damage doesn't really matter since the fighter's in the bottom half of the damage pool anyway. A +1 strength doesn't matter either - to address the other thread that spawned this one. Again, helping the fighter deal a bit more damage doesn't amount to changing the game since it's not the fighter that's the primary source of damage from the party anyway.

I think you're assertion that the fighter is doing SO MUCH less damage than the wizard bears examination.

At low levels, the wizard certainly has spells that can out damage the fighter but they are high resource cost. So the wizard is in only getting to use them a lot (per adventure) if the DM is allowing the PCs to dictate the pace of play. If not, the wizard will run out of juice fast.

At high levels, the DPR wizard is dealing with factors that limit his damage: magic resistance, elemental resistance/immunity, legendary resistance, monsters not conveniently forming into fireball formation etc. This caps his actual damage well below his theoretical damage.

Further, AoE damage is useful BUT either it's clearing mooks which, while a nuisance, are not a huge threat; or, it's damaging but not downing the serious threats. This is big, because a monster at half hp is just as dangerous as one at full. A fighter can focus on the serious threats to down them.

And that's where bless comes in. Bless is useless for AoE spells anyway (well any which require a saving throw not an attack roll, but that's, what, 99%?) Whereas the fighter gets a nice damage boost.

And for casters that DO benefit from bless offensively (eldritch blast spamming warlocks jump out here) they certainly do get a big, likely balance affecting bump.

None of which, IMO or experience, suggests bless is OP(too many balancing factors), but I don't think the whole casters out damage martials track is useful in that discussion (because the answer isn't actually that clear cut in favor of casters).
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Again, it's really, really going to depend on the table.

After all, as was mentioned, doing 25 damage to 4 targets sets up 4 potential deaths rather than 1 or 2 depending on how many HP the baddies have. Additionally, if your DM plays the monsters as intelligent, it's not unreasonable that 4 targets run away after all being damaged like that.

Or, ask yourself this. Which ends a fight faster - two fireballs or a fighter? And, as was mentioned, in any encounter where you have lots of smaller targets, rather than one big one, fireball is going to be far more effective.

So, yeah, you have to calculate total damage. In your example (and note, 25 damage/hit from a fighter is HUGE - we're talking GWF hitting every time to get that kind of average) if the enemies have 26 HP, you waste most of your damage plus 2 of your attacks. With fireball, I only need to make one action to deal the damage. There really isn't any wasted effort because the cost is so low.

For that fighter to do that, before 11th level anyway, he'd have to action surge and then attack 4 times, with two of his attacks mostly being wasted. An action he cannot repeat. The wizard drops a fireball, kills all four targets plus potentially more if they're in the area, and he can (after 5th level anyway) do it again and probably several more times before needing a rest.

Like I said, track the damage. Heck, even only track the actual damage - don't track any extra damage that goes over the monster's HP - and the wizard is so far ahead of the fighter that it doesn't matter how much you buff the fighter. At best that fully buffed fighter with GWF and a flaming sword is just equal to the damage that that wizard is doing. Which is what it's supposed to be. Fighters aren't supposed to be the primary damage dealers.
Total Damage is a terrible metric to use when talking about AOE vs multi attack damage. AOE will always be higher and it has to be, because if it wasn't then it wouldn't compete at all with single target damage via multi attack.
 

Hussar

Legend
I think you're assertion that the fighter is doing SO MUCH less damage than the wizard bears examination.

At low levels, the wizard certainly has spells that can out damage the fighter but they are high resource cost. So the wizard is in only getting to use them a lot (per adventure) if the DM is allowing the PCs to dictate the pace of play. If not, the wizard will run out of juice fast.

At high levels, the DPR wizard is dealing with factors that limit his damage: magic resistance, elemental resistance/immunity, legendary resistance, monsters not conveniently forming into fireball formation etc. This caps his actual damage well below his theoretical damage.

Further, AoE damage is useful BUT either it's clearing mooks which, while a nuisance, are not a huge threat; or, it's damaging but not downing the serious threats. This is big, because a monster at half hp is just as dangerous as one at full. A fighter can focus on the serious threats to down them.

And that's where bless comes in. Bless is useless for AoE spells anyway (well any which require a saving throw not an attack roll, but that's, what, 99%?) Whereas the fighter gets a nice damage boost.

And for casters that DO benefit from bless offensively (eldritch blast spamming warlocks jump out here) they certainly do get a big, likely balance affecting bump.

None of which, IMO or experience, suggests bless is OP(too many balancing factors), but I don't think the whole casters out damage martials track is useful in that discussion (because the answer isn't actually that clear cut in favor of casters).
Well, I've done this several times, both as a player and as a DM - tracking the damage between characters, and every single time I've done it, the casters are dealing considerably more damage in total. Out of five or six PC's (what our groups usually are) the fighter types or the rogues are always in 3rd place or lower. The sorcerers or the wizards, except in a few cases (like the one sorcerer we had that focused almost exclusively on enchantment spells and almost never cast a direct damage spell) were always on top.

My suggestion is to actually track it in your own groups. It's really eye opening to see just how much the spread is (IMO, about 50-60% of the party's total damage will come from 2 characters with the other three or four splitting the remainder).
 

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