D&D 5E The Extra Attack version of Overkill

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
What is overkill? It's damage you could have dealt had the enemy had more hp than it did.

That said, there's also a similar phenomenon with multiattackers. If you kill the final enemy of an encounter before your final attack there was damage left on the table that you otherwise could have done. Much like with overkill considerations, the goal would be to estimate the damage you actually do as opposed to the damage you could have done.

Thoughts?
 

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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Um, I'm not sure of the question, sorry. Are you saying that we should be recording actual damage done by players in combats to estimate the value of extra attacks, as opposed to potential damage?

Because that's a hard thing to do, different encounters are going to let you do more or less damage. We can tabulate wasted damage, but...what would that data tell us?
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I see little overkill or damage left potentially on the table. I would probably estimate overkill / unused damage at about 15-20% of the potential.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Overkill is really only interesting to measure if it's damage that could have been applied elsewhere. Otherwise it really has no meaning. And in the case of damage beyond the kill for the last opponent, when damage doesn't mean anything anymore, that falls into the "no longer interesting" pile.

Really, outside academic interest what does it matter if more damage than needed was done at the end? I guess if you are using resources for that like a paladin's smite you may want to economize - but also may not if you want a good chance to make sure this is the killing blow and it doesn't get any more actions.

I guess I don't understand what makes that measurement interesting.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Um, I'm not sure of the question, sorry. Are you saying that we should be recording actual damage done by players in combats to estimate the value of extra attacks, as opposed to potential damage?
No. That’s far to random, party and encounter dependent.

Because that's a hard thing to do, different encounters are going to let you do more or less damage. We can tabulate wasted damage, but...what would that data tell us?
What if anything does this tell us about the DPR metric itself?
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
That sounds like a significant amount to me.
🤷‍♂️

Significant to me would be 35% or more. Often a PC attacks a creature with just 1-2 hp left for 12 damage, so the vast majority of that damage is wasted. PCs with Extra Attack might not be able to move far enough to engage a new foe after killing another, so unless they can make a thrown weapon attack or something, that extra attack is wasted really.

So, at a cap of maybe 20%, I see it is there but don't see that as significant personally. I understand it is going to happen.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
No. That’s far to random, party and encounter dependent.


What if anything does this tell us about the DPR metric itself?
Oh so your question has more to do with using damage per round as a metric and the effects of "overkill"? Ok, so yeah, objectively, DPR is hard to gauge, and it's probably not a good metric to use since it's so highly variable.

All DRP says is, if facing a target dummy of a known AC, how much damage do you do on average. That's it. It can certainly be useful, to determine what your potential damage can be, if that's something that matters to you.

But it becomes less useful in a live game, as there are many factors to consider. What is the AC of the opponent, how many hit points do you need to kill it, how many enemies are in reach, does the monster have resistance to your weapon damage?

You can't really know these factors, and even if you tracked them for 20 levels of game play, you'd have to hit upon some set standard of encounter design.

DPR gets misused a lot, I'm not a maths guy, but I try to use it when calculating whether an ASI has a significant impact in the short run, for example.

What a more useful metric would be depends entirely on what your character wants to accomplish. If you're a Fighter or a Rogue, that's usually damage.

Should overkill matter? Absolutely. But you'd need some kind of consensus to be able to determine when it does.

The old argument about two weapon vs. two handed fighting comes to mind. One big weapon can "waste" more damage than two smaller weapons.

That can be true, but it might not be true. There probably isn't any way to truly determine it, but in my opinion, I'd say it's probably a large amount. Most monsters don't have the hit points to survive more than 2 rounds of combat, so I'd say any given monster that survives round 1 is probably already down to less than half it's hit points.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I guess I don't understand what makes that measurement interesting.
Overkill goes a long way in explaining the discrepancies in actual observed kill rates compared with estimated HP / DPR kill rates.

Could this provide further explanatory power for such discrepancies? Could it prove to be a better comparison point for overkill adjusted DPR when comparing characters with different numbers of attacks? Etc.
 

The only reason to consider overkill in this manner is for resource management. Going into a rage to kill a single orc is overkill, because all the potential damage the rage could have provided is wasted after the enemy is dead. Same for dropping a fireball on it. When dealing with infinite resources, such as melee weapon attacks and cantrips, it doesn't matter if you kill it by 1 HP or 100 HP, since it's just as dead.

Another aspect to consider with overkill is the usefulness of TWF over GWF. Assuming only one attack per action, GWF will do slightly more damage, but the probability of overkill (damage that could have gone to another target) is much higher. TWF deals smaller amounts of damage that can avoid this waste. I always thought this was a good balance, but it completely falls apart once you hit the point of Extra Attack, since the difference in DPR increases significantly.
 

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