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D&D 5E Old Vexed Question: All too Important Dexterity Stat and Finesse Weapons, namely the Rapier

BacchusNL

Explorer
So dex build with rapier and shield could do either duelist style to get basically the same DPR as that two-hander* with a better AC or take the protection style to help their buddies. At higher level, get both. Heck, take sentinel in there somewhere too. Meanwhile they still have far better ranged options (sans house rules) and all the other benefits.

Don't get me wrong, I personally prefer strength based builds, but there's little justification for it from a rules perspective.

*At least close enough that outside of a spreadsheet no one is going to notice. GWM will make your damage more volatile and in the long run may be slightly better, but I'm not convinced it makes much difference at the table.
It was just an example, and numbers or wording can always be tweaked to taste. I don't think a sword & board needs the same DPR as a 2-handed character, obviously, but a TWF character probably should (giving up range and raw damage for better reflexes and number of attacks). That is very hard to do with RAW right now, let alone create a playstyle that feels cohesive I think.
 

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TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I too get that uncomfortable feeling when I see a party full of dex damage fighters. Though then I sometimes think I contribute to this when I let players use Acrobatics to climb a cliff or oppose an athletics check. I think I should be a bit tougher with these things.
 

I too get that uncomfortable feeling when I see a party full of dex damage fighters.
It seems a bit silly to me. If the DM is kind you might find one magic rapier, but you won't find 5. Magic longswords are a dime a dozen.
Though then I sometimes think I contribute to this when I let players use Acrobatics to climb a cliff or oppose an athletics check. I think I should be a bit tougher with these things.
Athletics to climb, acrobatics to grab a branch when they fall.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
It was just an example, and numbers or wording can always be tweaked to taste. I don't think a sword & board needs the same DPR as a 2-handed character, obviously, but a TWF character probably should (giving up range and raw damage for better reflexes and number of attacks). That is very hard to do with RAW right now, let alone create a playstyle that feels cohesive I think.

Since I'm not a statistician nor am I any good at excel, I tried writing some code a while back that took a handful of fighter options and threw them into combat simulator. While I never got to the point of multiple monsters or allies, what I could do was set up cage matches. One fighter vs one level appropriate monster and see how many fights the PC would survive.

After thousands of mini-battles, the two weapon fighter was best at lower levels, duelist with a shield was "best" after level 5 and GWM was last. I'm not saying this is "proof" of anything. After all, I can't simulate every party style or synergy. Just that I take the "GWM IS THE BEST" with a grain of salt.
 

DEX has always been a god-stat. The problem isn't the rapier, or even dealing damage or hitting things with Dex at all. The problem is that Dex factors into too many stats compared to any other score.
Want to go first? Dex.
Want to avoid getting hit? Dex.
Want to get out of the way of a fireball? Dex.
Want to do any physical task that doesn't rely on brute strangth? Dex.
Want to steal something? Dex.
Want to hide something? Dex.
Want to hit with a bow? Dex.
Want to play a class that isn't a caster or a brute? Dex.

I'm sorry I just don't see how 5E allowing you to deal damage with Dex has made Dex significantly more powerful. And I don't see how it's removal would make it less powerful. Even back in 3.5 when things worked as people above have suggested, Dex was still an incredibly powerful stat, determining a disproportionate number of interactions with the game, often heavily valued interactions (such as reflex saves, AC, and hide/move silently; hey we all know that paladin!).

4E attempted to solve this by allowing two or more stats to provide similar effects. Int was available for both AC and Initiative, for example and Fort AC could key off Str or Con and the ever objectionable damage being dealt by Charisma for paladins! It certainly moved the game towards making more classes SAD, but it dramatically reduced the necessity for people to pump dex.

If you want to fix Dex, start at the root.

All that aside, this has never been a problem at my tables, ever. If you're seeing it as a problem at your tables, I'd love to hear some examples, but generally speaking these sorts of "fixes" come across in response to hypotheticals and white room math.

And yet, somehow, in every 5e campaign I've played in, paladins, fighters, and barbarians go with Strength 90% or more of the time.

If you don't like playing with extreme min-maxers, don't play with extreme min-maxers.
 

Since I'm not a statistician nor am I any good at excel, I tried writing some code a while back that took a handful of fighter options and threw them into combat simulator. While I never got to the point of multiple monsters or allies, what I could do was set up cage matches. One fighter vs one level appropriate monster and see how many fights the PC would survive.

After thousands of mini-battles, the two weapon fighter was best at lower levels, duelist with a shield was "best" after level 5 and GWM was last. I'm not saying this is "proof" of anything. After all, I can't simulate every party style or synergy. Just that I take the "GWM IS THE BEST" with a grain of salt.

Yeah, white room analysis FTL.

I also don't think that GWM is as über as some people like to whine, but 1v1 monte carlo-ing grudge match 1v1 doesn't really model the game. Two easy things to point out here:
  • It ignores team synergy for granting advantage, which benefits GWM more than non-GWM.
  • It ignores the cleave effect of plowing through mooks with the bonus attack.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I’ve definitely seen a swing towards Dex over strength at the several tables I play at. Not exclusively but overwhelmingly - 75-80%
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yeah, white room analysis FTL.

I also don't think that GWM is as über as some people like to whine, but 1v1 monte carlo-ing grudge match 1v1 doesn't really model the game. Two easy things to point out here:
  • It ignores team synergy for granting advantage, which benefits GWM more than non-GWM.
  • It ignores the cleave effect of plowing through mooks with the bonus attack.
Yep, absolutely. It also ignores other options like bless, bane, a barbarian that grants advantage to allies with their wolf totem, how you handle things like the shield bash feat, damage past zero and the fact that no one will ever actually notice a big difference in play. Throw in number of combatants and any number of other factors, even things that are going to vary from combat to combat or even one turn to the next.

It's kind of pointless to say one style is best, especially when it comes down to a point or two of extra damage per round. There are simply too many variables.
 

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