D&D 5E weapon damage


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xazil

Explorer
While I do kind of like the greater average damage of the Greatsword versus the greater critical damage of the Greataxe. It is a little wrong that the longsword wielded twohanded (d10 versatile) critical (2d10 = 11) is also better than the Greatsword (3d6 = 10.5).
 

Squidmaster

First Post
That's a great point. On that front, we probably have to rest our hopes on the fact that almost no one will wield the longsword two-handed anyway. :)
 

pemerton

Legend
the current weapon damage and its complexity is somewhat hidden to the average or beginner player.
That's a feature, not a bug.
It strikes me as a bug, not a feature. I don't see any benefit in making the damage output of a weapon opaque. And modulating average damage via crit damage just seems an invitation to either beginners getting trapped with below-average damage (because they haven't optimised for crits yet) or to players who have mastered the system exploiting via "crit fishing" etc to get average damage above what the system is build around.
 

Salamandyr

Adventurer
Well, statistically, you have a slightly better chance of getting greater damage with the 2d6 instead of 1d12...

This here is something that's been bugging me, especially back in 4e, when the notional superiority of 2d4 & 2d6 on the damage progression track messed up the damage progression of heavy blades. 2d12 may have slightly higher average damage, because it's impossible to roll a 1 on the die. but most all damage will be distributed in the 6 to 10 range, while a great axe will have its damage distributed evenly across the spectrum.

A great axe has a 1 in 12 chance of doing maximum damage. By rolling 2d6, one only has a 1 in 36 chance of doing so. By contrast, there's also only a one in 36 chance of rolling a 2 (and no chance of rolling 1), but it seems to me that whether one prefers consistency or swinginess is a personal choice and 2d6 shouldn't be considered "superior" to 1d12 as a damage expression.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
It strikes me as a bug, not a feature. I don't see any benefit in making the damage output of a weapon opaque. And modulating average damage via crit damage just seems an invitation to either beginners getting trapped with below-average damage (because they haven't optimised for crits yet) or to players who have mastered the system exploiting via "crit fishing" etc to get average damage above what the system is build around.

It's not a trap. You're assuming optimization is the goal, and not optimizing is a harm. For some, optimization is fun. For many, it's not part of the game, and not important in the sense that choosing a weapon that matches their character concept is much more important than the mechanics of the weapon. It should not be assumed that the default is optimization, and therefore those who don't do it are harmed, and everyone needs 100% of the data to make informed decisions.

The only "traps" that should be avoided in the rules are ones that are truly meaningful. A point of damage here or there isn't that meaningful. The system isn't that level of balance and sensitivity. The assumption should be to not put optimization front and center, and those who like optimization should figure the really fine level of details out on their own (as they are likely to do, and have fun with in their own way).
 
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JeffB

Legend
Damage/crit threats by class works great IME with older versions of the game.

A fighter with a spear should be just as deadly as one with a greataxe.

A wizard with a spear should pale in comparison.
 

I think it be good to base weapon damage on class, including crit chance and crit multiplier. The different weapons themselves could feature varying properties that would be useful in different situations,some of which would only be available to those with higher levels of skill (fighter classes).

If base weapon damage also scaled with level, that, along with increasing crit chances, increasing crit damage, and the ability to get full potential out of weapon properties, would help keep the fighting classes mundane yet able to scale a bit better with spell casters. You could aso substitute special maneuvers for crit damage with different ones being available depending on the weapon.
Weapon restrictions would also not be needed. Who cares if Gandalf wanna-be wants to wield a bastard sword? Without the training of a fighter he is going to suck with it anyway so why disallow it?

It would be important in such a system to make sure that no weapon was obviously superior to every other one. Fighters, being the masters of combat, would be better served by broad competence in arms instead of choosing the "best" weapon and hyper-focusing resources into it to the point of being "useless" in situations where their favorite toy cannot be employed.
 

pemerton

Legend
It's not a trap. You're assuming optimization is the goal, and not optimizing is a harm.

<snip>

The only "traps" that should be avoided in the rules are ones that are truly meaningful. A point of damage here or there isn't that meaningful.
From my own experience as a beginning player many years ago, and playing with others, one important consideration in choosing a weapon, especially for a warrior type, is the damage that it does. What is the benefit in having that damage be opaque? How does this improve the game?

Furthermore, if a point of damage here or there is not meaningful, then why is the game fussing over it?

For me it is the same category as Power Attack, and as multile attacks at penalties to hit: both of these are options that are ostensibly meant to increase the damage output of the character, but in fact do not do so reliably across the full range of ACs. They are invitations to bog the game down in statistical calculations.

Options should do what they say on the tin. An option which is labelled "more damage" shold reliably deliver more damage.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
From my own experience as a beginning player many years ago, and playing with others, one important consideration in choosing a weapon, especially for a warrior type, is the damage that it does. What is the benefit in having that damage be opaque? How does this improve the game?

Because it changes the focus from the weapon, and the concept of that weapon for your character, towards the mechanics, and the damage per hit. That's a harm, not an improvement.

Furthermore, if a point of damage here or there is not meaningful, then why is the game fussing over it?

I'd prefer they did not. Which is why I agreed with the original post that they should just use one die for weapons, and not two. So, 2d6 should be 1d12. Because they should not fuss over a single point of average damage, and that opens up more options for future rules involving the die of damage your weapon does. That, and the poor d12 is neglected. :)

For me it is the same category as Power Attack, and as multile attacks at penalties to hit: both of these are options that are ostensibly meant to increase the damage output of the character, but in fact do not do so reliably across the full range of ACs.

Power attack is about damage optimization (and I don't like it - it's a bad focus for the game and I'd prefer it do something like knock a foe down or break his shield or push him back or something like that), but I disagree about two weapon fighting and multiple attacks in general. The later are often for the character concept and aesthetic, rather than the mechanical optimization of damage per round.
 

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