Can someone help a noob calculate attack bonus?

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Hey All,

So me and my friends (all of which are new players) just recently made characters for 4e. Everything was going smoothly until I hit the "Attack Workspace", "Damage Workspace", and "Basic Attacks" sections of the character sheet.

My character is a Level 1 Eladrin Wizard. I don't understand what goes into the two sections mentioned above.

Ability Scores:

Score       Ability                Ability Modifier

10            Strength                    0
11            Constitution              0
15            Dexterity                   2
18            Intelligence               4
14            Wisdom                     2
12            Charisma                   1

I have the Orb of Imposition for my arcane implement mastery. I also bought a quarterstaff and a dagger.

My understanding of the Attack Workspace section is that it just helps you remember your attack bonus for basic attacks. I don't quite know what a basic attack is for a wizard. Is it an at-will spell? Or is a melee attack? I figured since all of my attacks revolve around my intelligence, I use the intelligence modifier. But what about proficiencies? Do I add the +2 from the quarterstaff to give me a total intelligence attack bonus of +6?

For Damage, is it just my Intelligence modifier? (+4) And I also don't know how to fill out the Basic Attacks section of the sheet. I'm sorry if this has been mentioned before, I couldn't quite find an answer to it though.

If anyone can help me out or point me to a spot in the book (Player's Handbook 1) then my group and I will greatly appreciate it.

Thanks! <3 
The Attack Workspace and Damage Workspace are mostly useless later on, but it's worth calculating anyway. For a Wizard, the Basic Attacks section is entirely worthless, you have no Str and are using an Orb which isn't a melee weapon, so your Melee Basic Attack is not worth anything, and your Ranged Basic Attack, if you have it, is Magic Missile, which automatically does a fixed ammount of damage.

All powers that require an attack roll tell you what Ability to use, for most of your powers it will be Int, but not all of them (Specifically, Melee Basic Attacks use Strength). Weapon Attacks add the Proficiency Bonus from the weapon you are using, but you have to be wielding the weapon (if you are holding your Orb, you cannot make a Weapon Attack with your Staff because a Staff requires 2 hands to wield); Implement Attacks (ie. your spells) do NOT add the Proficiency Bonus.
Normally it's 1/2 Level + Strength Mod + Proficiency Bonus + Enhancement Bonus + Other Bonuses. For you, this will be all of +3 if you Wield the Dagger in your Off-hand. For a Fighter with a Longsword, this will be roughly +8.
Damage is 1[W] + Strength Mod + Enhancement Bonus + Other Bonuses. 1[W] tells you to roll 1 of whatever is listed in the Weapons damage entry. So for you with a dagger, you will deal 1d4+0 damage, and a Fighter with a Longsword will deal 1d8+4.
At least until you go up in levels, and the difference between someone with a good MBA and someone with a bad MBA will dramatically increase. At high level I don't even bother rolling MBAs on my Wizard.

Page 274 of the Players Handbook or 216 of the Rules Compendium covers how to figure out your Attack Bonus pretty well
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Weapon Attacks add the Proficiency Bonus from the weapon you are using, but you have to be wielding the weapon (if you are holding your Orb, you cannot make a Weapon Attack with your Staff because a Staff requires 2 hands to wield); Implement Attacks (ie. your spells) do NOT add the Proficiency Bonus.



Thanks a lot! So as a wizard I pretty much get no bonuses for weapons that I use? (orbs/staffs/wands) ?  
Implements are rather different from Weapons though they serve the same function for casters (Staffs are both Weapons and Implements, but that only matters for 1 or 2 classes). You get bonuses to attack and damage from Magical Implements you use, and there are feats (and your class feature) that give you different benefits for using Implements, such as Orb Expertise which gives you a +1 to hit and +1 to push/pull/slide distances when you attack with an Orb.

The supposed "balance" is that you are attacking Fortutude, Reflex, or Will (collectively called the Non-AC Defenses, or NADs) while Weapon users attack Armor Class (AC), and the NADs are typically 1-3 lower than AC on monsters.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
So I have to be wielding some sort of implement (orb/staff/wand) in order to cast any spells, correct? I can't be empty-handed?
So I have to be wielding some sort of implement (orb/staff/wand) in order to cast any spells, correct? I can't be empty-handed?


No, you can cast empty handed, but you won't get magic item enchanment bonuses to attacks and damage.

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So I have to be wielding some sort of implement (orb/staff/wand) in order to cast any spells, correct? I can't be empty-handed?


No, you can cast empty handed, but you won't get magic item enchanment bonuses to attacks and damage.


Okay so since I'm first level, and I have a quarterstaff, if I equip that quarterstaff do I get the proficiency bonus to my spells? Sorry, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around this.. -_-

Also, since I have the quarterstaff, should I change my arcane implement to the staff of defense instead of the orb??  ><

edit: I should also note, when I "bought" this staff, I bought it from the "weapons" section of the book, not the "adventuring gear" section. I don't know if that makes a difference or not... Only magic orbs/staffs/wands give a wizard a proficiency bonus? or can a non-magic ord/staff/wand give the proficiency bonus as well?
So I have to be wielding some sort of implement (orb/staff/wand) in order to cast any spells, correct? I can't be empty-handed?


No, you can cast empty handed, but you won't get magic item enchanment bonuses to attacks and damage.


Okay so since I'm first level, and I have a quarterstaff, if I equip that quarterstaff do I get the proficiency bonus to my spells? Sorry, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around this.. -_-



Implement powers *never* get a proficiency bonus to attack rolls.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Implement powers *never* get a proficiency bonus to attack rolls.



But they do if you have a magic orb/staff/wand, right? I'm so confused now. I'm reading through the PHB trying to make sense of it, but every time I think I get it right, I'm wrong. >< 

Thanks for your help though..

Implement powers NEVER get a proficiency bonus to attack.  Never never ever EVER under ANY circumstances.

Here's what you have, for (as far as I can remember) all wizard spells:

Your ability modifier, which is INT for all your spells.  For you, that's a +4.

That's probably all you got right now.

Later on, when you increase in level, you'll add half your level as a modifier to attack rolls.  At level 2, it will be +1.  At level 4, +2, etc.

You'll eventually acquire a magic implement.  You'll add it's enhancement bonus to your attack rolls.

At some point, you'll want to take an Expertise feat with your favorite implement.  That will add a feat bonus to your attack rolls, based on your level (1-10, +1.  11-20, +2, 21-30, +3).

There are other ways to get bonuses to attack rolls, but these are the most common.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Okay let's forget the quarterstaff for now.

So at Level 1, is it possible for me to wield a staff implement in my main hand, and an orb implement in my other? In that case how does the enhancement bonus work? (let's assume i picked the staff of defense for my arcane mastery)
You *can* dual-wield, but that doesn't mean you *should*. It's practically worthless without certain feats.

However, assuming you decide to dual-wield, enchantment bonuses work as follows:
1. When you attack, pick an implement to attack with
2. If that implement is enchanted you can use it's enchantment bonus and properties. You can't use anything from the other implement.

Additionally, dual-wielding a staff and an orb prevents you from making melee attacks with the staff. Not like you'd want to, but just throwing it out there.
Okay let's forget the quarterstaff for now.


Forget the what now?

So at Level 1, is it possible for me to wield a staff implement in my main hand, and an orb implement in my other?


Yes.  This ruling is a bit obscure, but basically a staff can be used one-handed as an implement.  You only need to wield it in two hands to use it as a weapon.  So you can indeed wield both an orb and a staff at the same time.

In that case how does the enhancement bonus work? (let's assume i picked the staff of defense for my arcane mastery)


As a general rule, you can wield more than one weapon and/or implement.  However, when you make an attack, you can only use one weapon or one implement.  If you are wielding more than one qualifying items, you have to choose which one you want to attack with. 

So if you are wielding both an orb and a staff, you would have to choose which one you want to use when you make your attack.  Do you want to attack with your orb.  Or do you want to attack with your staff.  Your attack will only gain the enhancement bonus and the properties of the implement you choose to attack with (usually*) .  You do not add the enhancement bonuses together**.

The Staff of Defense feature does not require you to attack with your staff.  It merely requires that you wield a staff.  You can most definitely use a different implement to attack with, such as an orb or wand and still retain the benefit of Staff of Defense.  In fact, you never actually need to invest resources in your staff.  The feature applies even if you are using a completely mundane staff.  So you could, for example, simply keep your staff around to function like a shield and invest in a different implement for offense.



* It's "usually" because the properties of most magic weapons and implements usually only work when attacking with said weapon or implement.  You can usually assume that this is the case.  However, some properties function simply by wielding the item.  Either way, how the property functions will be explicitly spelled out in the magic item's description. 
**The feat, Duel Implement Spellcasting, basically allows you to add the enhancement bonus of two implements together when you attack, though only for the purpose of determining damage.
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Wow! Thanks a lot for your responses! This has definitely clarified things for me! I feel a lot better now about it. :P


I tried reading as much as I could in the book, but they definitely made it unclear regarding staffs as implements and what not.

So now I have one more question for now and then I promise I won't bug you guys anymore:

If I'm level one and start with 100gp and I buy an arcane implement (in this case, staff), I don't get any type of bonuses or enhancements, correct? The book doesn't really give any sort of stats regarding the implements under the "Adventuring Gear" section. The enhancement/enchantment bonuses don't start showing up until I get some magic items, correct? Just tryin' to make sure that I'm okay with just buying a staff at level 1 instead of missing out on something. :P

Thanks again for all your help guys.. this will definitely help out my little D&D group :D
Wow! Thanks a lot for your responses! This has definitely clarified things for me! I feel a lot better now about it. :P


I tried reading as much as I could in the book, but they definitely made it unclear regarding staffs as implements and what not.

So now I have one more question for now and then I promise I won't bug you guys anymore:

If I'm level one and start with 100gp and I buy an arcane implement (in this case, staff), I don't get any type of bonuses or enhancements, correct? The book doesn't really give any sort of stats regarding the implements under the "Adventuring Gear" section. The enhancement/enchantment bonuses don't start showing up until I get some magic items, correct? Just tryin' to make sure that I'm okay with just buying a staff at level 1 instead of missing out on something. :P

Thanks again for all your help guys.. this will definitely help out my little D&D group :D

Right, you don't get any enhancement bonus to your implement attacks if you have a non-magical staff, but as a Wizard you do get to use the Staff of Defense class feature, which requires you to wield a staff.

Also, if you're using PH2 or some of the later rulebooks, at first level you could take an implement expertise feat of some sort and gain a feat bonus to implement attacks and possibly some other advantages while you're wielding your implement (depending on the specific feat you choose)... even if the implement isn't magical.

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I tried reading as much as I could in the book, but they definitely made it unclear regarding staffs as implements and what not.



That's partially because the concept of "weapliments" wasn't completely ironed out when the PH first came out, but was shortly after refined and clarified.  I'll try to explain.

"Weapliment" is the unofficial term for items that function as both a weapon and an implement.  Several classes, such as the wizard, sorcerer, and swordmage, get the ability to use certain weapons as implements.  Additionally, certain magic items, such as pact blades, holy avengers, songbows, can be used as weapliments by specific classes.

The main thing to keep in mind when you use a weapon as an implement is that none of the weapon's mundane properties apply to your attack.  This includes not only the weapon's proficiency bonus, as already noted in this thread, but also anything listed under "properties" on the weapon table entry (PH; pg 218-219), such as versatile and high-crit. 

Note that I bolded mundane.  The properties of magical items still apply to your implement attacks.  For example, a wizard using a quaterstaff with the Subtle Weapon enchantment (Adventurer's Vault) could gain the item bonus to damage with both her weapon and implement attacks.

And finally, one more important note.  Weapliments are still considered a weapon of their group when used as an implement.  This means that powers, feats, and abilities that trigger off of using a specific group of weapon function when using said weapons as implements.  For example, when a swordmage uses a rapier as an implement, it is still considered a light blade.  Likewise, a swordmage could apply the Light Blade Precision feat to implement attack made with a rapier.

So now I have one more question for now and then I promise I won't bug you guys anymore:

If I'm level one and start with 100gp and I buy an arcane implement (in this case, staff), I don't get any type of bonuses or enhancements, correct?


Correct.  Your standard, mundane implement does not provide any enhancement bonuses to attack or damage rolls.  Just like how a mundane dagger or longsword does not provide any enhancement bonuses.

However, as you probably know by now, you still want to have a mundane implement if you have any abilities or feats that require an implement.  Your wizard's Staff of Defense feature requires an staff, whether or not it's magical.  Likewise, if you had the Staff Expertise feat, you would have to use a staff to gain the bonus to attack and damage.
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The biggest reason for a wizard to weild a melee weapon would be so that he could FLANK an enemy.
If an enemy got close enough to hit the wizard one of his freinds could attack the monster from behind to kill it faster.

Also wizard should carry a dagger because cutting a rope with a quarterstaff just don't work.    
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The biggest reason for a wizard to weild a melee weapon would be so that he could FLANK an enemy.   



Weapon not required.  All you need is to be adjacent the foe and opposite your ally.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
The biggest reason for a wizard to weild a melee weapon would be so that he could FLANK an enemy.   



Weapon not required.  All you need is to be adjacent the foe and opposite your ally.


And not Stunned, Unconscious, Dazed, Dominated, Petrified, Blinded, Unable to see the target, or otherwise "cannot flank"
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.