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D&D 5E What do you think would balance Expertise on Attack Rolls?

Slit518

Explorer
I am curious, what do you all think would balance Expertise on Attack Rolls?
  1. Have it only be for the first attack in a round?
  2. Have it be a Short Rest Power?
  3. Have it be a Long Rest Power?
  4. Have it only be usable for a certain weapon type (similar to Specialization in previous editions)?
  5. It cannot be balanced and shouldn't be thought of?
  6. Don't let it be available to every class, just a select few, such as the Paladin; Ranger; Warrior?
  7. Have it be a Feat that needs to be purchased with certain requirements met?
  8. A combination of several things?
  9. I have another idea!
I am curious, what do you think?
 

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Mort

Legend
Supporter
So this is equivalent to the Devotion Paladin's channel divinity power (Us an action to add CHA to 1 weapon's attacks for 1 minute, once per long rest) - or at least pretty close as far as numbers.

It is very, very strong because with bounded accuracy the bonus to hit makes a big difference. So I too would default to #5.

Question, why the change? Are characters not hitting often enough in your campaign?
 

I agree that it's 5 on your list. Bounded Accuracy is the name of the game. If it's a constant effect it's totally broken. If it's a conditional or limited use effect it's a lot of extra math that 5e tries to avoid and probably still too strong. Especially when it gets combined with GWM or Sharpshooter.

The better model is the Barbarian's Reckless Attack. Advantage on attack rolls has limited stacking potential, the ability comes with a clear cost for using it, and it fits both thematically and mechanically with the rest of the class. Those are the sort of questions you need to be asking when you consider handing out attack bonuses. For another example, the Archery Fighting Style's +2 bonus is meant to be a counter balance to having a -2 cover penalty for shooting into melee (never mind that many people ignore the latter part).
 

Quartz

Adventurer
Expertise on attack rolls is very powerful. Now, if you were to allow a PC to use their Proficiency Bonus instead of their stat bonus, that's a different matter, and I think would be a way of modelling an experienced fighter. So instead of rolling 1d20 + PB + Stat mod vs AC they roll 1d20 + PB + PB vs AC. But 1d20 + (2x PB) + Stat mod vs AC is very powerful. Of course, I'm a guy who thinks Expertise as is on Skill Rolls is too powerful.

If you allow my modification it should be Fighter-only and would be a good way of allowing a fighter to have high non-combat stats; I'm happy with allowing Fighters to use their PB instead of Dex when calculating AC, for instance. It would be a good fit for the Battlemaster.

Hmm... possibly the Assassin rogue too - knowledge vs power.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
5 is the default answer. Even normal expertise messes up skill challenges.
But thinking about it further, there is a different way to make it work:
You can have Expertise, if you remove ability bonuses from attack roles.
I agree on this except the side remark on skills. Expertise on skills was kinda needed because otherwise there is too much swinginess of the d20 compared to the bonus difference between a specialist in a skill and a character who never cared about it (in fact the only other way would have been to use d10 on ability checks but they were too married to the idea of using the same dice for all checks).

But expertise on attacks doesn't feel right. Attacks are fundamentally different from checks because of the grinding nature of combat vs the success/failure basis of skills. Averages are more important in combat while swing is more important in skills. And doubling your proficiency bonus is a very significant increase in average.
 

Slit518

Explorer
Isn't there a hard DC cap of 30 or 35? Or am I mistaken?

What is the highest Armor Class without breaking too many rules? Full Plate +3 with Shield +3 with the Defense Fighting Style? 21 + 5 + 1? So that would equal 27. I am sure there are feats; spells; skills that can bring it higher, or other combinations.
 

Permanent it’s a great power, magic weapon cap at +3, expertise could give +6.

As a ressource power it’s not very different from precision attack of the BM. Precision attack give +4.5 to 6.5 on average. It’s a key feature used with SS or GWM.

There is no balance here.
A permanent expertise weapon would be a legendary item.
using this feature less time per day will change its strength accordingly.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Super Reckless attacks:

"When you make your first attack on your turn, you can decide to attack recklessly. Doing so gives you can double your profiency bonus on melee weapon attack rolls during this turn, but your are Vulnerable to all damage until your next turn.''
 


It sounds broken on paper. But for most of the game it's about as good as Bless.
Except it also doesn't affect Ability Checks and Saving Throws. And might only affect a single character. Expertise to Attacks doesn't get much better until level 9 and up. So it's crappy Bless for half a campaign.

If it only affects a single creature, requires Concentration, and only has a couple uses that recharge on a Long Rest it shouldn't be that game breaking. As @Mort says, it's potentially identical to the Devotion Paladin's Channel Divinity that has a short rest recharge.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
You'd have to rework how AC works. You'd need to intro proficiency bonuses to AC...along with expertise bonuses to AC. That's how you'd balance it out. You would need to make armor expertise a feat for non-martial classes and automatic for martial classes. Boost the barbarian's and monk's unarmored defense by proficiency bonus at least, if not outright give them expertise automatically.

I'd suggest that expertise in attacks and armor would be limited to one weapon/attack and one type of armor per feat. It shouldn't be common at all. Rather something to show...well, rarefied expertise in use of that weapon and armor.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Isn't there a hard DC cap of 30 or 35? Or am I mistaken?

What is the highest Armor Class without breaking too many rules? Full Plate +3 with Shield +3 with the Defense Fighting Style? 21 + 5 + 1? So that would equal 27. I am sure there are feats; spells; skills that can bring it higher, or other combinations.
30 is the highest DC given, recommended for “nearly impossible” tasks. But there’s no real reason a DM couldn’t set a higher DC than that, if they wanted to.
A level 17+ rogue with expertise in a skill and a 20 in the stat has a +17, so the highest possible roll would be 37. Add in things like bless or guidance and you'd get to 41. With magic items (gloves of thievery) you can get another +5, tops.

Expertise in weapons would get you to the same spot, but magic weapons cap out at +3, so AC would fall behind. You can also get multiple magic armors that stack (plate and shield). So you'd have to boost potential AC to keep up. Providing prof bonuses and expertise with armor would work.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Expertise in weapons would get you to the same spot, but magic weapons cap out at +3, so AC would fall behind. You can also get multiple magic armors that stack (plate and shield). So you'd have to boost potential AC to keep up. Providing prof bonuses and expertise with armor would work.

But then all you have is another arms race. Another, well this is the new thing to get.

Personally, I prefer to not give out plussed weapons or armor. Instead giving out weapons and armor with interesting abilities. Avoids the whole issue without mucking up the math.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
But then all you have is another arms race. Another, well this is the new thing to get.

Personally, I prefer to not give out plussed weapons or armor. Instead giving out weapons and armor with interesting abilities. Avoids the whole issue without mucking up the math.
With weapon expertise it’s already an arms race that armor loses. The only way to balance expertise in attacks is expertise in defense.
 


Mort

Legend
Supporter
With weapon expertise it’s already an arms race that armor loses. The only way to balance expertise in attacks is expertise in defense.
Right, that was part of what I was responding to. Introducing weapon expertise is step 1. Introducing, essentially, armor expertise is perpetuating the arms race. Better, IMO, not to start.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
But, what if you want armor to lose because that is the point? The point being to hit more often (or getting hit).
Then just lower monster ACs and boost monster to-hit modifiers. Unless you have a lot of PvP in your games, you don't need to worry about adding rules to make it fair. Just change the monster stats to do what you want.
Right, that was part of what I was responding to. Introducing weapon expertise is step 1. Introducing, essentially, armor expertise is perpetuating the arms race. Better, IMO, not to start.
5e math already allows for hitting much more often thanks to generally lower ACs, especially among monsters. Introducing expertise is likely too much.
So you recognize that attacks already win the arms race, but want attacks to win the arms race even harder?

Again, just drop monster AC and boost monster to-hit modifiers. No need to add subsystems that would need to be balanced.
 


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