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What is your preferred 2H martial weapon? A 1D12 like a Greataxe, or a 2D6 like a Greatsword or Maul?

Damage roll-wise, with a Greataxe, you have equal chance of rolling any number from 1 to 12. So the damage can swing wildly.

But with 2D6, the probability is more like a bell curve, with 7 being the highest chance at 1/6 chance and the extremes of 2 or 12 at 1/36 chance each, giving the damage more likely to be around the middle - you have a 2/3 chance of getting a 5,6,7,8 or 9 in the roll.

Which do you prefer? The erratic damage from a 1D12, or a more consistent middle of the road damage from a 2D6, assuming the Sword of Justice is not in the game?

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I would always go for a weapon which has more damage dice. Because in some situations, the minimal damage, thus 1 or 2 more points compared to other weapon types, can mean the difference between win or lose. And you want to mitigate risks in tight combat encounters.

Last edited by Nyanko; 17/11/20 12:38 PM.
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Originally Posted by Nyanko
I would always go for a weapon which has more damage dice. Because in some situations, the minimal damage, thus 1 or 2 more points compared to other weapon types, can mean the difference between win or lose. And you want to mitigate risks in tight combat encounters.


Yeah, my own instincts are to go for the 2D6, but since 1D12 weapons are in the game, I'm wondering if there are players out there who prefer the wild swings in damage over consistency.

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Originally Posted by Passerby
Originally Posted by Nyanko
I would always go for a weapon which has more damage dice. Because in some situations, the minimal damage, thus 1 or 2 more points compared to other weapon types, can mean the difference between win or lose. And you want to mitigate risks in tight combat encounters.


Yeah, my own instincts are to go for the 2D6, but since 1D12 weapons are in the game, I'm wondering if there are players out there who prefer the wild swings in damage over consistency.


Flavor wise, it pains me to see something like a barbarian with a great sword (2d6).

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I prefer 2d6. over time I should average +1 damage and I will never do 1 damage. BUT I will base my choice on procs more than dice. So like I'll take a 1d4 with a good proc over a 1d8 with none or a less useful one.

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Originally Posted by RumRunner151
I prefer 2d6. over time I should average +1 damage and I will never do 1 damage. BUT I will base my choice on procs more than dice. So like I'll take a 1d4 with a good proc over a 1d8 with none or a less useful one.


Yes, that's the reason why magic missiles is the most powerful spell in EA. Never misses and does at least 6 damage, even 8 from level 3.

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Originally Posted by Nyanko
Originally Posted by RumRunner151
I prefer 2d6. over time I should average +1 damage and I will never do 1 damage. BUT I will base my choice on procs more than dice. So like I'll take a 1d4 with a good proc over a 1d8 with none or a less useful one.


Yes, that's the reason why magic missiles is the most powerful spell in EA. Never misses and does at least 6 damage, even 8 from level 3.


That is why it is frequently a good spell in general. Why it is the most powerful spell in EA even with the item that buffs it more is the way Larian has implemented combat and specifically advantage/disadvantage and vision. So even though Ray of Sickness should do more damage, you are much less likely to hit with it. Better to take the guaranteed damage.

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In normal DnD rules, if you crit, you had one weapon damage die. So a greataxe does 2d12 on crit, while a greatsword does 3d6 (confirm by Sage Advice, but I don't know how it is coded in this game). So a class like the barbarian, who can add extra dice to a crit, will want a greataxe.

But if you exclude crit, I guess a greatsword would be more consistent.

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Originally Posted by Perignan
In normal DnD rules, if you crit, you had one weapon damage die. So a greataxe does 2d12 on crit, while a greatsword does 3d6 (confirm by Sage Advice, but I don't know how it is coded in this game). So a class like the barbarian, who can add extra dice to a crit, will want a greataxe.

But if you exclude crit, I guess a greatsword would be more consistent.


This is partially incorrect. https://www.dndbeyond.com/sources/basic-rules/combat#DamageRolls says "Roll all of the attack's damage dice twice and add them together"
Critical hits double ALL the weapon dice, not just one of.

Half-Orc/Barbarian's brutal deal an additional weapon damage dice.
-A greataxe will do 3d12 (2d12 for crit + 1d12 for brutal crit)
-A greatsword will do 5d6 (4d6 for crit + 1d6 for brutal crit)

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You are right of course. That should teach me not to post when I'm tired from work. I was thinking of brutal critical and savage attack, like you pointed out. Thanks for correcting me smile

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I mean, you had the right idea. If you want to do MASSIVE damage on a crit, then a half-orc/barbarian with a greataxe is your best bet (Do Savage Attack and Brutal Critical stack??? 4d12 damage!!?!)

Doing completely unnecessary math, if you have Savage Attack OR Brutal Crit, then a greataxe will do more expected damage if you hit on a 15+ due to the increased crit damage. Otherwise, a greatsword is better
If you have both (or Brutal Crit at level 13) for 2 additional weapon dice, then greataxe is better than greatsword if you hit on a 9+
If you can add 3 additional weapon dice, then greataxe is better than a greatsword if you hit on a 3+
If you can add 4 additional weapon dice, then greataxe is strictly superior.

Maths

Damage formula is (normal damage * number of times you'll hit for normal damage + crit damage ) divided by 20
Greataxe average damage over all rolls on the d20 if you need a roll of X to hit = [1d12*(20-X)+(2d12+1d12*N)*1]/20 where N is the additional number of damage dice
Greatsword avera damage over all rolls on the d20 if you need a roll of X to hit = [2d6*(20-X)+(4d6+1d6*N)*1]/20 where N is the additional number of damage dice
Solve for X such that greataxe damage > greatsword damage

Last edited by mrfuji3; 18/11/20 03:01 AM. Reason: math
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As far as I know, both savage attack fomr half-orc and brutal critical from barbarian stack. So a level 17th level barbarian can do 6d12 on a critical hit (1d12 greataxe, 1d12 crit, 1d12 savage attack and 3d12 brutal critical at level 17). Which is kind of nice smile

Last edited by Perignan; 18/11/20 02:42 AM.
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I see, so skills like savage attack and brutal criticals make 1D12 weapons better than 2D6 ones. We just don't see the benefits now until the level cap is raised and Barbarians are introduced.

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Not knocking people for saying Barbarians don't like using great swords, but mine did and not just for the damage dice. I mean there are other ways to increase damage output and bonuses to damage using other weapons. The great sword is probably the most versatile weapon and most common outside of the great axe. Here is the thing one must remember though, that barbarians can use ANY weapon of Martial or Simple make. I get how everyone is saying one damage dice is crappy, but if you get disarmed or your left to pick up just a longsword then you are going to pick up whatever weapon you can use for damage. Damage is damage. Magic Missile is by far the most powerful spell in the game and it is easily countered with Shield spell (which I'm assuming still blocks magic missile unless 5E revamped it). Wizards use that spell because it is potent, but they use other spells due to the fact that any caster worth their stuff knows of it and has the counter for it. So, yes, great swords are mighty, but they have to hit to do damage. If you got a great axe with a +1 you are going to take the +1 to hit over the damage dice. Maybe some of you wouldn't and hey, props to you and your character your choice, but if I got a +5 Scythe as a barbarian I'd start using that unless I had a specific in game reason I only used a certain weapon type.

I think people see big damage dice and say, "Ooo, I can kill them in one hit with this weapon!" Yeah, at low levels. Your abilities though at later levels and feats will be what does it at mid and high levels. Wizards are going to drop magic missile eventually and not due to it not being as powerful, but due to the fact bad guys are going to get tougher and smarter. Magic missle will still be powerful, but it will be countered or negated completely by powerful casters. Plus higher level spells will just out shine any weapon damage non-casters will do with weapons. That's why magic weapons regardless of their damage dice are going to be what levels the playing field.

Note: I just typed this up and saw Perignan pretty much said what I said. Sorry for repeating.

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No shame in using a sword with a barbarian. Always remember the alpha barbarian, Conan, uses a sword as his main weapon :P

And the fact one of the best weapons we get early on in the game is a two handed sword should help being confident in this decision. A +2 AC on a barbarian is just too good to discard.

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Martial classes (barbarian, fighter, paladin, ranger ) and even some clerics (depending on domain) are profient with every weapon in the game.
Just take the weapon with the best enchantment you can find.
Keep different weapons with different damage types or different enchantments.
Some enemies are resistent/immune/vulnerable to some kind of attacks.
Some enchantments on weapons are more useful against some enemies than against others.


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Just a quick note, the best way to look at it is average damage. Average damage is calculated by adding the high and low of the damage die and dividing by 2.

So, a d6 is (1+6)/2=3.5, a d12 is 6.5. (It might seems like it would be 3, but 0 is excluded from the range, so the average is 3.5, not 3.)

Thus, 2d6 is 7 average damage per round, versus 1d12 at 6.5, therefore 2d6 will, on average, deal more damage than 1d12. so, straight up, a great sword is better than a great axe. Likewise a 2d4 redcap sickle (5 ADPR, is better than most other light weapons, like a rapier at 4.5ADPR.)

A magic weapons with a static +1 increase the damage die by one size (d4 to d6, d6 to d8, d8 to d10.)

Magic weapons with a static bonus also improve your to hit chances, +5% for each +1, so you need to balance how much additional damage you do and your improved chance to hit when comparing magic versus non-magic weapons.

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In my humble opinion, as much as I like 5e and its game balance, I wish the weapons table was a bit better designed. It is not easy for players to choose a weapon for flavor or style/concept, when some are clearly more efficient. I wish some choices were a bit more viable. What if a Fighter has the concept of dual-wielding daggers? If the all-around weak daggers had a compensating perk in 5e, it could be less of a sacrifice to make that choice (which probably no one does with current weapons stats).

In this case though 1d12 is not bad at all, but why did WotC make the greatsword have a better average damage ? 5e broke from the traditions of past editions, except for the weapons table.

Anyhow, it probably won't change anytime soon.

Last edited by Baraz; 21/11/20 01:32 AM.
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Originally Posted by Baraz
In my humble opinion, as much as I like 5e and its game balance, I wish the weapons table was a bit better designed. It is not easy for players to choose a weapon for flavor or style/concept, when some are clearly more efficient. I wish some choices were a bit more viable. What if a Fighter has the concept of dual-wielding daggers? If the all-around weak daggers had a compensating perk in 5e, it could be less of a sacrifice to make that choice (which probably no one does with current weapons stats).

In this case though 1d12 is not bad at all, but why did WotC make the greatsword have a better average damage ? 5e broke from the traditions of past editions, except for the weapons table.

Anyhow, it probably won't change anytime soon.

This is where the DM comes in. I mean, WotC could have put in a 3-5 page weapon table with dozens of different options. Or the DM could allow differently-flavored weapons: rapier flavored as a katana, shortswords flavored as daggers, etc.
Daggers are kind of balanced. They have weak damage, but are finesse, thrown, and light. No other weapons are all 3, so you've traded damage for versatility.

And the greataxe is better if you want larger-valued crits and/or if you can reroll a single weapon damage die (not sure if this is a real mechanic anywhere)

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1d12.

For me the thrill is in the highs and lows. Thinking in terms of curves ruins the fun. For me thinking in terms of mathematical curves and average damage outputs is like thinking about your favorite baseball team in terms of baseball stats. Some people love it because they love the mystical qualities of math but for me thinking about curves is a classic case of killing to dissect.

Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—
We murder to dissect.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45557/the-tables-turned

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