Shields, Leather, Daggers, & Healing Potions: Most Popular D&D Items

It's time for another one of D&D Beyond's big data dumps! We've already seen the most common adventures, classes by tier, subclasses, multiclass combos, spells, and more. This time round, they take a look at the most often chosen weapons on their platform. Shields, leather armour, daggers, and potions of healing dominate.

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32% of active characters are equipping a shield, and 42% wear leather armour. Almost nobody wears ring mail. Lots of characters get leather armour for free.


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Daggers are also often free. Rapiers beat longswords. Nobody is Indiana Jones. Duel wielding a weapon counts twice is in this data set.


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Watch the whole video here.




 
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Russ Morrissey

Comments

lyracian

Villager
Abnd since most non-fighting classes don't get heavy armor they need Dex over Str. The cleric is the exception.
As a Fighter you can go either way. Dex is not superior to strength, but it seems so on first glance. And it might make you a bit more versatile because you can do ranged combat.
I am interested to know why you think Dex is not superior? If you have a very large amount of cash then Plate armour gives you +1 AC over the Dex build but you get none of the other advantages such as initiative, common save that Dex offers.

I like playing a heavy armour fighter but I do not consider it the best choice from optimisation.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I'm glad for this one. Because it clearly shows the bias of their collecting method which can shed light on the utility of the other releases.

Look, if purchasing light armor, you're not going to go for leather unless you're a very low level and the money is tight. So the fact that it's the "most popular" is bunk. It's the "most common" possibly, but that's just because it's given out with several classes. And those characters are either (a) never played, (b) never played enough to accumulate the low cost of studdent leather armor, or (c) have replacement armor but still have their original armor on the sheet.

Note that (a) and (c) have nothing to do with popularity or anything, and even (b) is just representative of low character levels or a game (like AL?) with limited purchase ability.

But this is important, because it's a clear illustration about how their data is impacted by unplayed characters and the like, which really needs to be considered when looking at their other data. Looking at data and making proclamations like "most games do not allow feats" is false - there's insufficient data to make such a call.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
I am interested to know why you think Dex is not superior? If you have a very large amount of cash then Plate armour gives you +1 AC over the Dex build but you get none of the other advantages such as initiative, common save that Dex offers.

I like playing a heavy armour fighter but I do not consider it the best choice from optimisation.
Strength builds allow for earlier feats because you are not so hard pressed increasing Dexterity for AC and attack bonus.
Str only has a single skill which covers all you need as explorer: climbing, swimming etc.
Str also has merits on its own: jumping distance, lifting objects, carrying loot.
Str is the more offensice stat allowing you to knock prone, shove someone over a cliff or grab them so they can't run away. You know a nice way to end a grab on you? Just shove the enemy away, out of reach. If you have extra attack you can still attack afterwards or try a second time.
You can use ranged weapons and a shield at the same time. If you intend on using a ranged weapon, shields are ruled out because of the action cost to equip it. So realistically someone wanting to take advantage of dex is 2AC below the strength user.

What is left for dex? Initiative. And you know what? As a fighter or healer it is actually not bad to be the last one to act on your side, because you want the wizard to drop a fireball befire you charge in. Also because there is noch charge action, often it is better to have the enemy approach first. If you approached first you either dash and have no action left or you move and ready a single attack.
So for someone with multiple attacks it can actually help to be slow.

Edit: that in no way invalidates dexterity as a stat. Different archetypes should value one over the other. It is not a mistake to be strength guy, I actually is a mistake if noone in the group has a good strength as well as if noone has good dexterity. A balanced group has both.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Heh, rapiers... paging [MENTION=6799753]lowkey13[/MENTION] . LOL.
 
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Wrathamon

Explorer
DMs need to enforce that STR is used for jumping and climbing and not Dexterity (Acrobatics) Checks to parkour around the STR dump they took. :) probably not a popular opinion for many.
 
DMs need to enforce that STR is used for jumping and climbing and not Dexterity (Acrobatics) Checks to parkour around the STR dump they took. :) probably not a popular opinion for many.
Even less popular is my opinion that DMs should make sure every adventure has a balanced mix of skill challenges and save throws for all six ability scores, and just as many opportunities to grant Disadvantage as there are to grant Advantage.
 
You know what's even better than a PC's armor and high dexterity? Personality and how it's roleplayed.

That +1 modifier might help you in a particular situation, but solid character development through play shall lead you to the promised land.

VS
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
On Rapiers. They beat Longswords, but not Longswords+Warhammers+Battleaxes combined so I wouldn't say dex builds are far outdistancing Strength builds based on that. At least not for people who what 1d8 weapon damage.
 

Hussar

Legend
On Rapiers. They beat Longswords, but not Longswords+Warhammers+Battleaxes combined so I wouldn't say dex builds are far outdistancing Strength builds based on that. At least not for people who what 1d8 weapon damage.
Sort of though. Only 3 of the top 10 equipped weapons are Str based. It's not really hard to imagine that Dex is king here.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Sort of though. Only 3 of the top 10 equipped weapons are Str based. It's not really hard to imagine that Dex is king here.
Dual wielding is counted twice though, without knowing what percentage is dex dual wielding (and strength dual wielding) you can't tell how big the gap between king and queen is.
 
On Rapiers. They beat Longswords, but not Longswords+Warhammers+Battleaxes combined so I wouldn't say dex builds are far outdistancing Strength builds based on that. At least not for people who what 1d8 weapon damage.
I think this is why a popular houserule is to reduce the damage of the rapier to 1d6.
 

Hussar

Legend
Dual wielding is counted twice though, without knowing what percentage is dex dual wielding (and strength dual wielding) you can't tell how big the gap between king and queen is.
Kinda sorta though. Sure, there could be tons of longsword and dagger wielders out there, but, honestly? I doubt it. Dual wielding is only 1/4 of the possible options for fighter types (the most likely to be using martial weapons) and if Str were king, then wouldn't we see a lot higher examples of two handed weapons?

Although, honestly, I think that 1st level characters are HEAVILY skewing these results. It would be far more interesting to see this same data from say, 5th level onwards. It's not like 1st level characters can afford plate mail after all. I think we'd get a clearer picture of what's actually seeing play if we stripped out levels 1-3 from the data.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
I have no clue about this reply to my quote... please elaborate.
I think that they were attempting to imply that in a world with magically enhanced creatures and objects like Dragons, Monks, Bracers of Armour etc, mundane, non-magical creatures and equipment would not behave as they do in our world.

Sort of though. Only 3 of the top 10 equipped weapons are Str based. It's not really hard to imagine that Dex is king here.
Only 3 of the top 10 equipped weapons are Dex Based.

Does anyone know what they mean by "Equipped"? Does it mean that it just has the stats on the character sheet and that the character is carrying them, or does it mean that the character is actively wielding it, and would have to start spending actions to swap to a different weapon?
I mean almost all characters carry at least one dagger as a backup weapon and tool. They work just fine for both Str- and dex-based characters, and are a handy ranged option.
And a lot of character classes start with daggers as part of their beginning equipment.
It doesn't mean that most characters would be using a dagger over their primary weapon, just that most characters have one on their person somewhere.

As has been pointed out, I think that the preponderance of characters generated at level 1 and possibly never played might be emphasising the weapons and armour found in the starting equipment of classes.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Kinda sorta though. Sure, there could be tons of longsword and dagger wielders out there, but, honestly? I doubt it. Dual wielding is only 1/4 of the possible options for fighter types (the most likely to be using martial weapons) and if Str were king, then wouldn't we see a lot higher examples of two handed weapons?
Not my point. My point is that many of the short sword, dagger, and even rapier numbers are having 2 apply to one character while I think less of the Longsword, Warhammer, Battleaxe numbers are doubling up.

Making it hard to judge how many melee characters are Dex based or strength based given the data for weapons

Although, honestly, I think that 1st level characters are HEAVILY skewing these results. It would be far more interesting to see this same data from say, 5th level onwards. It's not like 1st level characters can afford plate mail after all. I think we'd get a clearer picture of what's actually seeing play if we stripped out levels 1-3 from the data.
This I completely agree with.
 

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