D&D 5E Which characters are the DPR (damage per round) leaders at your table(s)?

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I will say this. When I actually kept track of PC damage, the Paladin seemed to be doing more because they could do so much focused on one hit.

BUT, when actually looked at over average, the fighter (and often rogue) more than kept up.

In fact, an optimized fighter can trounce a paladin on DPR over any decent length of time (assuming, again, the paladin isn't allowed to nova all the time).
The only 5e single class fighter at our table was focused on defense and shields instead of damage.

But I'm discussing classes in a general sense, not classes that are optimized tondonabcertain thing. A paladin doesn't have to optimize, multi class, use feats, or have any particular stats or items to double dip on smite dice, it's just how they are designed. The real defense against that being overpowered is to stick as close to the 6-8 encounters a day schedule as possible....but narratively it's not always a thing that can be done.
 

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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
the "optimised" gloomstalker assassin is noted for the first round spikes but completely fades away after that. And that is absolutely fine as far as we are concerned, especially since most of our players don't care, they are just there to have fun roleplaying their characters having adventures anyway.

I find that absolutely hilarious, given what you've posted in other threads regarding optimization, etc.
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
The Shifter Barbarian definitely leads in damage per round. The Sea Elf Paladin isn't far behind. Then you have my Rogue/Fighter (Rune Knight) grappler (thanks, ENWorld for helping me build this guy).
 
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pukunui

Legend
In my Mad Mage campaign, it would have to be the frenzy barbarian with the +2 battleaxe, the evoker wizard with the +1 wand of the war mage and +1 arcane grimoire, and the swashbuckler rogue / hexblade warlock with shadow blade.

The samurai fighter and the watcher paladin / forge cleric are both very tanky but don’t dish out much in the way of damage compared to the other three.
 

The one time we tracked damage, the winner was a Warlock 11/Cleric 3 that used their Warlock slots on Bless + EB spam, adding in Spiritual Weapon during major fights.

Of course, any miss that turned into a hit because of Bless counted as his damage, too.
 

I'm the only person who played a full warlock, and didn't use EB at all.

Edit: But you might be mistaking what I was saying . I think the ranged rogue is very steady (in that they rarely deviate up or down from the same general damage range) moreso than most other classes because 99% of the time they use the same single attack each round. They don't compete for DPS king.
Yeah fair, I guess I am.

Not using EB as a Warlock definitely going hard in the category of "deliberately weakening your own character", you're typically losing, like 30-60% of your round-to-round DPS that way (depending on what setup you actually go with, and assuming single-class), maybe even more, which is a pretty huge sacrifice in the name of role-playing. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's a good illustration of how what players do with a class can be vastly at odds with even the basic "typical" approach to the class. Other classics include the Cleric who can't support/healing spells at all, ever, Wizards who say "screw utility" - or even better the classic caster power-move of "I don't cast levelled spells unless I absolutely have because if I cast levelled spells I might run out", which routinely leads to the PC in question finishing even lengthy adventuring days with literally 90% of their levelled spells still memorized. Those guys have been around since the '80s - indeed I ran an adventure in the early '90s once where a 10th-level (!!!) Wizard refused to cast even a single spell through a lengthy dungeon "in case he ran out" - good thing there was like a 7-person party!
 

I mean, that may be true in your game, but either you had no Warlock or a Warlock who was either incompetent or not building for DPS, if so, because DPS difference between a very mildly optimised Warlock (like basic, obvious choices) and even a well-optimised ranged Rogue is significantly in the favour of the Warlock. GWM Paladins are flashy but have limited staying power and are very RNG-reliant if crit-fishing.
Really? I thought a very mildly optimised rogue can stay within a few DPR of a warlock who isn't trying too hard.
 


SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
This is going to depend on how the GM runs the adventuring day with regards to rests. I recently played a low level game where the GM gave us a rest after every encounter. I was playing a Bard/Warlock so I didn't object at all, but also talked with them about the effects it would have on the game. Our group was low level (most of the adventure had us at level 3) but we were much more effective and not challenged too much by it.

When I ran Curse of Strahd, I played up the hour long period necessary and the group took fewer rests than I actually expected. They were absolutely exhausted and broken after each adventuring day, which was sort of what I was looking for, so I didn't step in and say anything.

In the first campaign, my bard/warlock and the paladin/sorcerer were the damage leaders, followed by the rogue with sharpshooter. The other two characters, a ranger and a fighter weren't too effective but I'm not sure that was because of how the players portrayed them or not.

In the Strahd campaign, the paladin was the damage MVP, but then they were sort of the focus of all the enemy activity as well. There was a wizard in that game, an illusionist, who was the overall MVP for the game with their excellent play, but the infrequent fireballs didn't lift their DPR that much.

In both campaigns the fact is that none of the players were upset at damage levels, but I can tell you that the paladin smites stole the show in terms of WOW factor.
 

jgsugden

Legend
When I look at damage dealing I think about it in a few different categories:

1.) Single target or group.
2.) Efficiency versus Low defenses and high defenses.
3.) Reliability: Do they deal damage consistently, or less reliably but for higher damage per hit?
4.) Reliance - do they need tricks to support them?

In actual play, the greatest single target damage dealer was an Eldritch Knight / Gloom Stalker Great Weapon master / Paladin. In the first round of a big combat he would attack 10 (or 11) times, with each attack at +13 for 2d6 (reroll 1or 2) + 9 (Strength) + 3 weapon + 10 (great weapon master) ... and he'd smite on top of it. He got the drop on an Ancient Dragon and 'soloed it' before it acted (Surprise round and first round before dragon goes, dragon prone for advantage, 30 damager per hit and the PC was going to get about 17 to 19 attacks before it went.

In terms of area/group, I usually find that a high level sorcerer is my best bet.
 

Depends on the bad guys for sure. Undead hoards are generally too stupid to think that tactically (undead hordes being the best use case because of number of targets and radiant damage) but also cornered animals, held or stuck opponents, or dungeon style tight space encounters all get weedwhacked.
Yep, that's why other than once or twice for variety, I don't throw undead hoards at parties with the spell prepared.
 

ECMO3

Hero
In another thread @Hussar observed that in his experience in 5e, casters' (specifically casters that can put out big AoE such as wizards and sorcerers) overall damage output is higher than martials' overall damage output and that that's just a given.

That has not been my experience. I've found martials, especially well optimized martials, can and do out damage casters, even with AoE counted in.

At your tables (DMing, playing - whatever), what have you noticed? Which classes tend to lead in overall damage output?

This is NOT a question on "effectiveness" or about how classes can contribute in different ways. This is a narrow question on which classes, at the tables you play at, lead in damage output.

Please provide some context for the group. A group that has a bard as the primary caster is going to be very different than a group that has an evoker or blaster sorcerer. And a group that has a sword and board fighter focused on defense is going to be very different from a group that has a crossbow expert/sharpshooter combo!

Thoughts?

Typically a Fighter is highest average damage at our table, but that is because wizards and clerics are spending a lot of time with control or healing. If they focused on damage I think they would both outdo a fighter.

In terms of highest burst damage, I think a mulitclassed assasin-Vengence Paladin is the best I have seen mostly because of action surge, assasinate and smite and this class holds the record for most damage in an attack at my table.

Although I have never seen one played, I think mechanically the new bugbear with a multiclass War Wizard-Assasin-Paladin would do the most in one turn as they could get about a +20 in initiative (Dex+Int+5 alert+1d8 gift of altricity, +1d4 guidance) and do extra 2d6 damage on every attack that turn in addition to smite damage and sneak attack damage. Surprise and crit all that.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
In my friend’s game, it has shifted as characters have developed, but that game also has no pure casters.

At first it was the archer ranger (revised ranger beast master), with my Swashbuckler/Bladesinger just slightly behind. Then an EK fighter joined the team, and my build hit a pain point around 3/2 till 4/4, and the Ranger multiclassed Druid because ranger was frustrating as a spellcaster for her and archery is kinda boring after a while, but then my build really came together and I am reliably hitting with Shadowblade and Booming Blade with advantage, or hitting with a normal attack (with Shadowblade) and then hand crossbow attack, etc.

The EK could probably challenge me for DPR, but he tends to focus on defense and tactics, and the Ranger/Druid is more and more utility and support focused over time, but still keeps up in damage due to her wolf companion and knowing when her best action is to shoot things.

I guess what I’m saying is, we are all a mix of caster and martial, but we deal more damage when we focus on weapon use.

In my level 11 Eberron game, the Wizard and Glamour Bard are the only magic focused full casters, and the Monk/Rogue is the least magical PC.

There is a Swarmkeeper Ranger, Vengeance Paladin, Blade Bard, Glamour Bard, Cobalt Soul Monk/Rogue (9/2), Scribe Wizard, and sometimes one or more of 3 NPC Allies that generally take care of other stuff while the PCs are doing the main thing. (Artillerist, mounted archery Hunter, Horizon Walker, all three prefer range and are super mobile with mounts. I’m planning on doing a “okay you’re the B Team” game soon where they each pick an NPC to play on a side story)

Early on the Wizard was an Evoker, and legitimately blew stuff up really well, but especially after level 5, the Paladin is just terrifying.

The Monk is going to be deadly as he gains more rogue, due to having extra reactions from Cobalt Soul Monk, but he is more tactical than flat DPR focused. The Swarmkeeper keeps up, though, for sure.
 

It is a pretty big blow. But playing the EB spammer twice can get really old. I really wish the Warlock got invocations that modify other cantrips.
I think the trouble is that anything that modified other cantrips to give you similar performance to someone spamming EB+AB on a Hex'd target would look, on paper, pretty ridiculous, especially if you tried to buff them enough to make EB's ability to avoid overdamage not an issue. The most minimal buff would be to make Agonizing Blast apply to other cantrips, but as they gain dice, not attacks, it'd have to apply the stat mod multiple times which would get ugly. That'd still make EB was drastically more effective because of Hex applying per hit, and EB also does Force damage rather than something commonly resisted like most cantrips (Hex does Necrotic though).

And until like, 2019, it seems like WotC were doing everything by requiring 70% approval. Nothing that made another cantrip nearly as a good as EB would have got 70% approval (even if it was in reality significantly weaker), so "on paper" mattered a lot.

In actual play, the greatest single target damage dealer was an Eldritch Knight / Gloom Stalker Great Weapon master / Paladin. In the first round of a big combat he would attack 10 (or 11) times, with each attack at +13 for 2d6 (reroll 1or 2) + 9 (Strength) + 3 weapon + 10 (great weapon master) ... and he'd smite on top of it. He got the drop on an Ancient Dragon and 'soloed it' before it acted (Surprise round and first round before dragon goes, dragon prone for advantage, 30 damager per hit and the PC was going to get about 17 to 19 attacks before it went.
Christ in heaven. And they thought 2E multiclassing was bad! I thought Samurai was painful burst but it's a joke next to that.
 

Really? I thought a very mildly optimised rogue can stay within a few DPR of a warlock who isn't trying too hard.
Not last time I saw the figures, though maybe something changed with Rogues or I missed something. The thing with Warlocks is that optimizing a Warlock "very mildly" but also very powerfully means:

1) Max CHA - which you obviously would do.

2) Pick Agonizing Blast as one of your invocations. All your other Invocations are up to you.

3) Use Hex fairly aggressively.

4) Cast Eldritch Blast.

You don't need to pick a specific patron or pact, and all of the above is so obvious that a non-power-gamer with zero advice from the internet can trivially figure it out. I've literally seen it happen - it can also happen after first level - one of our Warlocks took AB as his 5th level Invocation when he realized how good it would be (entirely without prompting!). You've also got 60ft range (or 300ft if you want) so don't have to be in melee or even within 30ft which makes it far easier to consistently apply full DPR and minimizes risk.

I'm not sure what the Rogue setup that compares to that but is "very mild" in terms of optimization is. All the optimizations I can off-hand think of that increase Rogue DPR much (to still below the above "build") involve specific subclasses - and I think if you have to select a specific subclass, you're already far beyond "very mild" optimization (obviously YMMV).

Totally open to being wrong on this!

Part of this of course is just that Warlocks and their invocations represent what might arguably be a fundamentally superior way to hand out abilities than most classes/subclasses. Whilst I don't expect the 2024 D&D to change over to this, I suspect any future full edition might have a more invocation-like approach to abilities for many classes.
 

I think the trouble is that anything that modified other cantrips to give you similar performance to someone spamming EB+AB on a Hex'd target would look, on paper, pretty ridiculous, especially if you tried to buff them enough to make EB's ability to avoid overdamage not an issue. The most minimal buff would be to make Agonizing Blast apply to other cantrips, but as they gain dice, not attacks, it'd have to apply the stat mod multiple times which would get ugly. That'd still make EB was drastically more effective because of Hex applying per hit, and EB also does Force damage rather than something commonly resisted like most cantrips (Hex does Necrotic though).
Indeed. The mechanics of Eldritch Balst and Agonising blast really limit Warlock design.

Not last time I saw the figures, though maybe something changed with Rogues or I missed something. The thing with Warlocks is that optimizing a Warlock "very mildly" but also very powerfully means:

1) Max CHA - which you obviously would do.

2) Pick Agonizing Blast as one of your invocations. All your other Invocations are up to you.

3) Use Hex fairly aggressively.

4) Cast Eldritch Blast.

You don't need to pick a specific patron or pact, and all of the above is so obvious that a non-power-gamer with zero advice from the internet can trivially figure it out. I've literally seen it happen - it can also happen after first level - one of our Warlocks took AB as his 5th level Invocation when he realized how good it would be (entirely without prompting!). You've also got 60ft range (or 300ft if you want) so don't have to be in melee or even within 30ft which makes it far easier to consistently apply full DPR and minimizes risk.

I'm not sure what the Rogue setup that compares to that but is "very mild" in terms of optimization is. All the optimizations I can off-hand think of that increase Rogue DPR much (to still below the above "build") involve specific subclasses - and I think if you have to select a specific subclass, you're already far beyond "very mild" optimization (obviously YMMV).

Totally open to being wrong on this!
Ranged rogues can get reasonably close to this: generally a bit below or above depending on the level since rogue damage goes up more smoothly.

The steps are:
1) Have a decent Dex. - As with the Warlock and Cha, a fairly safe assumption.
2) Take steady aim.
3) Shoot. (Presumably with shortbow, but any ranged weapon will do.
 

Indeed. The mechanics of Eldritch Balst and Agonising blast really limit Warlock design.

Ranged rogues can get reasonably close to this: generally a bit below or above depending on the level since rogue damage goes up more smoothly.

The steps are:
1) Have a decent Dex. - As with the Warlock and Cha, a fairly safe assumption.
2) Take steady aim.
3) Shoot. (Presumably with shortbow, but any ranged weapon will do.
Ah good point re: Steady Aim - I had forgotten that. It's still rather disadvantaged by needing to be within 30ft rather than 60ft and requiring you to stand stock-still even if you have other bonus actions etc. (which can be a problem if some annoying enemy is 40ft away), but it definitely helps bring Ranged rogues closer.
 



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