Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition-Builds, Beasts and Battles Part 3: Dat Damage!

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition-Builds, Beasts and Battles Part 2: Tanks But No Tanks!
Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition - Builds, Beasts, and Battles part 4: Races
Dungeons & Dragons 5th editionNerdarchist Nubz here with lots of input on attacks and damage from readers like you and my fellow Nerdarchist Dave as well to supply you with numbers, so many numbers, to give you the low down on the beat down.


That’s right, it is time to measure out the top damage potential of Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition player character classes. Que the cheap 70’s music and Barry White, we are gonna jump right into the action with Dat Damage!


Now to properly display the damage of the melee players can do, I need to explain the rules I put down. This is maximum damage potential, so critical hits are assumed on every attack. Also, no feats, racial abilities, or multiclassing is allowed. Since no special ability weapons such as flaming or bane have been revealed, I will not be showing such. I will however assume +5 equipment to be readily available as flat bonus weapons have been shown. The formula used is [# of attacks (weapon damage*critical factor)]+[# of attacks (ability modifier+enchantment bonus)]
The Fighter is an interesting target as he has some INCREDIBLE attack burst effects allowing him to briefly crank up his damage.




This will be noted and calculated in as a separate attack entry. Much thanks to Nerdarchist Dave for clueing me in on the burst effects available to him and explaining the Battle Master archetype. To keep things simple, I will only use one attack maneuver per entry as doing otherwise cheeses the dice and bogs down gameplay.

Effects that allow a fighter to crank his damage are his extra attack ability, action surge, weapon fighting styles.

Please remember there is no feats allowed.

F1: Wielding two scimitars+5; attacks allowed [5(1d6*2)]+[5(5+5)]= 10-110 damage potential

F2: Wielding two scimitars+5 W/Surge and Riposte; [10({1d6+1d12}*2)+[10(5+5)]= 40-460 damage potential

F3: Wielding longsword+5 and shield; [4(1d8*2)]+[4(5+5)]= 48-104 damage potential

F4: Wielding longsword+5 and shield W/Surge and Riposte; [9({1d8+1d12}*2)]+[9(5+5)]= 126-450 damage potential

F5: Wielding Greataxe+5; [4(1d12*2)]+[4(5+5)]= 48-136 damage potential

F6: Wielding Greataxe+5 W/Surge and Riposte; [9(1d12+1d12*2)]+[9(5+5)]= 126-522 damage potential

The Barbarian is pretty straight forward in his function and his abilities to deal damage. For this we will assume the berserker archetype was taken. Like with the Battle Master’s Riposte attack ability, we will assume that the ability is triggered granting the attack. As this can be done infinitely, there is no need for multiple versions to show the effect of the attack. Boosting this is Rage+primal champion+retaliation+frenzy.

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Wielding a Greataxe+5 w/Rage; [4 (1d12*5)]+[4(7+5+4)]= 84-304 damage potential

The Rogue‘s damage is really all in the assassin archetype and it’s assassinate plus death strike stacking for ridiculous amounts of damage once you factor in sneak attack damage.

Wielding two short swords; {[2(1d6+10d6*2)]+[2(5+5)]}2= 134-568 damage potential; worth note is that the assassin can only do it only once… but to quote Nerdarchist Dave, “If that is not enough, you have bigger problems then damage.”

and Sorcery

Now as I had said before on the Facebook page, I have not been very impressed with magic’s ability to drop the dice on a single target. That being said, it has plenty of ways to drop an opponent with non damaging attacks or Damage Over Time abilities. This and Area Of Effect damage is where magic really seams to hang it’s hat.

Meteor Swarm: Four 40′ radius spheres drop on areas of your choice within ONE MILE of you. Each one of these do 20d6 fire and 20d6 bludgeoning damage (dex save for half) but can only effect an individual once regardless of how many meteor’s drop on him. This tops the damage out at 40-240 total damage.

Disintegrate: Project out a 60′ ray of green force that does 10d6+40 force damage to a single target. This can be boosted by using a 7th level or higher spell slot for 3d6 per spell level. I.E. The terror of 3rd edition does 50-100 damage base but can be boosted to 59-154 by using up your 9th level spell slot. Dex save completely negates it.

Delayed blast fireball: 150′ range doing 12d6 in a 20′ sphere. Can be boosted by upto 2d6 by using a higher level spell slot and also can be boosted by delaying the blast upto 10 rounds at the rate of 1d6 per round. Now to save you the math, this means base can do 22-132 and 24-148 if you use your 9th level spell slot with a dex save for half.

Harm: 60 foot range is better then it was in previous editions but it only does a flat rate of 14d6 necrotic damage (dex save for half). There is the worth the note that it reduces the targets maximum hp by that amount if it fails a con save.

Worth note is that the sorcerer can turn a spell into a quick action, thus allowing two spells to go off at once, one of which would have to be a cantrip.  Still, makes me giggle if the dice make chaos magic go off twice in a round for some insane attack and damage potential.


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Worth note:

Worth note is that when you want to lay the smack down with attack and damage, there is certain things you can do to tweak your attack damage one way or another. I omitted these to really focus on the class abilities, attacks and equipment builds.


Half Orc is a big hitter here as it gets +2 strength and gets to roll an extra die of damage on melee criticals, similar and stacking with the barbarian ability.

Human has +1 to all stats (or +1 to two) and the optional rule to start with a bonus feat. While this cannot help all builds, there are a few feats that can do some significant damage.

Dragonborn (that’s right… dragon boobs) gets a +2 to strength and gets to do a devastating breath attack once per rest.

Halfling gets a +2 to dex, not to mention the lucky ability cuts your chance to fumble a roll in half, thus allowing you to improve your damage per round by being slightly more accurately. Not to mention the lightfoot can hide in allies space to get nasty sneak attacks.

Elves get a +2 dex but also get two abilities that can help you out slightly. High elves get a cantrip, potentially handy for early DPS, and the forest elf can hide in any natural environments to get a sneak attack in. Not to mention their weapon proficiencies are very nice. Drow also get spell like abilities to pack some punch. Worth note is the faerie fire allows them to gain advantage OR CANCEL THEIR WEAKNESS TO LIGHT for any attack they choose.

Half elf get +2 cha, and +1 to two others. Add to this their proficiencies similar to the elves and you have just enough boost to be mentioned.

Dwarfs are a bit of a powerhouse class defensively but offensively they do have an option or two. The proficiencies are nice to add a bit of clout in melee, and the mountain dwarf gains +2 strength to really add punch to it.

Tiefling gain, along with the ability bonuses, a few spell like abilities that can add some much needed punch to a build.

Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition


Now though there is many feats and many many builds that can incorporate them, I will only mention the big ones related to attack and damage here.

Great weapon master combines power attack and cleave of the previous editions. That being said, against heavily armored targets you will actually see a drop in your damage per round average by using this feat. Easiest way to see if it is worth turning on is to figure out what you must roll to hit them, and then add 5 to it to see what you will need with the “power attack” on. Generally if that higher number is 12 or lower, I say swing away! That being said, the ability to move between attacks in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition makes this cleaving ability able to clear whole rooms of minions.

Duel Wielder allows you to have any type of weapon in your hands while duel wielding.

Polearm Master allows you to threaten at reach and to use the butt end of your weapon for a bonus attack almost like duel wielding. Pretty nifty for those dragoon builds.

Savage attacker allows your average rolled damage to be much higher.

Tavern Brawler makes sure you are never without something to attack with.

attack and damage

Martial adept… ohhh… ohh… baby… oh yeah… hand me the tissue. See those beautiful damage boost of the Battle Master under fighter section?

Yeah… add that to any class twice per rest or use your abilities more often if you are already a fighter. DEADLY in the hands of a rogue or barbarian.

Alright, well that is my bits of head explodey math on attacks and damage. Sure I missed some things, but I tried to highlight the top potential damage not the average.

For highest average, the barbarian and rogue take the crown by far if you factor out limited use abilities, though together in a team their attack and damage potential are ridiculous.

None the less, see something that bears mentioning? Have a build you wish to share? Send it to us in the comments or through a message to us. We would love to hear from you and see you next week when we will be talking about-

races in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition!






This is Nerdarchist Nubz for Nerdarchy.com signing off, stay nerdy my friends and role with it.


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Follow Nigel “Nubz” Sanford:
Nubz hails from the American Pacific Northwest where he has spent the last 24 years living the gamer life and running campaigns of all kinds. Through this he has managed to sate his acting bug and entertain many. Now a father, he wishes to pursue writing to leave a legacy in Nerd culture for his offspring to enjoy.

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