How Calculating Damage in DnD 5e Works
by Samuel James in
DnD Rules

When you’re embarking on an epic adventure, one of the most satisfying moments is dealing damage to the fearsome monsters that block your path. But how does calculating damage in DnD 5e work, you ask? Fear not, intrepid adventurer! Today, we’ll be breaking down the basics of dealing and taking damage in DnD 5e, so you can send those goblins and dragons packing.

Step 1: Understanding Damage Types

First things first, let’s talk about the different types of damage you’ll come across in DnD 5e. There are 13 damage types in total, and knowing the ins and outs of each can give you an edge in battle. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Acid
  2. Bludgeoning
  3. Cold
  4. Fire
  5. Force
  6. Lightning
  7. Necrotic
  8. Piercing
  9. Poison
  10. Psychic
  11. Radiant
  12. Slashing
  13. Thunder

Each damage type has its own flavor and quirks, and certain creatures may be resistant or immune to specific types. Keep this in mind when preparing spells or choosing weapons, as it can mean the difference between victory and defeat!

Step 2: Roll to Hit

Before we can dive into calculating damage, we have to determine if your attack hits its mark. To do this, you’ll need to make an attack roll. Here’s the formula:

See also  Exploring the Benefits of Hiring a Paid DM for Your DnD 5e Adventure

Attack Roll = d20 + Ability Modifier + Proficiency Bonus (if applicable)

The Ability Modifier depends on the type of attack you’re making. For melee attacks, it’s typically your Strength modifier, while ranged attacks use your Dexterity modifier. Spell attacks will use your spellcasting ability modifier, which varies by class. If you’re proficient with the weapon or spell you’re using, you’ll also add your Proficiency Bonus.

Compare your attack roll to the target’s Armor Class (AC). If your roll is equal to or higher than their AC, congratulations! Your attack lands, and it’s time to calculate the damage.

Step 3: Roll for Damage

Now that you’ve hit your target, it’s time to roll for damage. The damage dice you’ll roll depends on the weapon or spell you’re using. For example, a longsword deals 1d8 slashing damage, while the fireball spell deals 8d6 fire damage. Here’s the basic formula for calculating damage:

Damage = Damage Dice + Ability Modifier (if applicable)

Just like with attack rolls, you’ll add your relevant Ability Modifier to your damage roll. Melee attacks add your Strength modifier, while ranged attacks add your Dexterity modifier. However, this doesn’t apply to spell damage – you’ll only add your spellcasting ability modifier if the spell specifically says so.

Step 4: Adjust for Resistances, Immunities, and Vulnerabilities

Now that you’ve rolled your damage, it’s time to see how it affects your target. Many creatures have resistances, immunities, or vulnerabilities to specific damage types. If a creature is resistant to a damage type, it takes half damage from that type. If it’s immune, it takes no damage. If it’s vulnerable, it takes double damage.

See also  Guide: Medicine Check To Stabilize 5e

For example, let’s say you’re fighting a fire elemental and deal 12 slashing damage with your longsword. Fire elementals are immune to slashing damage from nonmagical weapons, so your attack won’t deal any damage at all! However, if you were using a magical longsword, your attack would deal its full 12 slashing damage. Now, if you cast a cold spell that dealt 10 cold damage, the fire elemental would take double damage due to its vulnerability to cold, resulting in a whopping 20 damage dealt!

Always be mindful of your foes’ resistances, immunities, and vulnerabilities. Sometimes, switching tactics or using a different damage type can make all the difference.

Step 5: Add Extra Damage Dice (If Applicable)

Some abilities, spells, and features grant you additional damage dice when you hit with an attack. For example, a rogue’s Sneak Attack feature adds extra d6s of damage when certain conditions are met. Similarly, a paladin’s Divine Smite allows them to expend a spell slot to deal additional radiant damage on a hit. When you have these extra damage dice, simply roll them and add the result to your base damage.

Here’s a quick example: A 5th-level rogue with a shortbow (1d6 piercing damage) lands a Sneak Attack. Their Dexterity modifier is +3, and their Sneak Attack damage at 5th level is 3d6. The total damage would be calculated as follows:

Damage = 1d6 (shortbow) + 3 (Dexterity modifier) + 3d6 (Sneak Attack)

Step 6: Apply Special Effects

Finally, some attacks and spells have special effects that trigger when you deal damage. For instance, the spell inflict wounds deals necrotic damage and prevents the target from regaining hit points until the start of your next turn. Be sure to apply any additional effects from your attacks, spells, or abilities as appropriate.

See also  Introducing D&D for 5 Year Olds (And Beyond!)

And there you have it! You’ve successfully calculated damage in DnD 5e. As you can see, it’s not as daunting as it may seem at first. Keep these steps in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of vanquishing your foes.

In Summary: How Calculating Damage in DnD 5e Works

  1. Understand the different damage types.
  2. Roll to hit using the attack roll formula.
  3. Roll for damage using the damage dice and add relevant ability modifiers.
  4. Adjust for resistances, immunities, and vulnerabilities.
  5. Add extra damage dice from abilities, spells, or features if applicable.
  6. Apply any special effects triggered by your attack or spell.

With these steps in hand, you’re now equipped to take on the monsters of DnD 5e with confidence. Now go forth and let your heroic deeds be remembered in the annals of history! Happy adventuring, and may the dice be ever in your favor.

Samuel James is a passionate writer with a love for MMO and ARPG games. When he's not busy exploring virtual worlds, he enjoys taking his dog for long walks and writing detailed gaming guides for XPGoblin. He also loves watching sci-fi films, with a particular fondness for the works of Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott.
Share Post:

Related Posts