On "Damage Inflation"

A lot of people on the boards are complaining about "damage inflation," particularly for martial characters. So I thought I'd take a peak across editions for a moment.

I'm going to look at expected damage based on the PHB1 of several editions, including the latest Next playtest. I'll try to look at fighters and wizards at levels 1, 10, and 20 (where applicable). Since I don't have all the DMGs available (given that the DDN one doesn't exist yet), I'm just creating a fighter starting with 16 Str who wields a greatsword. All stat increases go into Str. For the 4e fighter, I'm using the damage from the most straightforward encounter power at that level. (Yes, you'll be using lots of lower-level encounter powers and at-wills, but you'll also be using dailies, so I picked encounter power as a happy medium.)

D&D Next Playtest
Level 1 Fighter: 1d12+3+1d6 damage (average: 13)
Level 10 Fighter: 1d12+4+5d6 damage (average: 28)
Level 20 Fighter: 1d12+5+6d6+20 damage (average: 52.5)

D&D 3.0
Level 1 Fighter: 2d6+4 damage (average: 11)
Level 10 Fighter: 2d6+6 damage twice (average: 26)
Level 20 Fighter: 2d6+7 damage four times (average: 56) 

D&D 4.0
Level 1 Fighter: 2d10+3 damage (average: 17)
Level 10 Fighter: 3d10+4 damage (average: 32)
Level 20 Fighter: 3d10+5 damage (average: 33)

Now, some comments here. Why is the 3.0 damage so high? Because of iterative attacks, of course. If you hit with all four attacks at level 20 you're doing a boatload of damage. In practice, the last attack or two probably won't hit anything in your level range.

BUT there are a couple huge provisos with these numbers: I'm not including feats or magic items. First off, the math for 3e and 4e assumes you'll be getting a steady influx of magic items. A level 20 fighter in either edition who showed up for a battle with a nonmagical weapon and 20 Strength (as all of these fighters have at that level) would be laughed off the battlefield. And I'm not sure it's even possible to get a fighter to level 20 in either edition without taking at least a feat or two that boosts damage. 5e is very different in that high-level monsters are balanced against a party with no magic items, and the only feats that improve weapon damage are laughably horrible. Like, <+1 average damage per round at level 20 horrible. So these numbers actually ARE close to what a lot of 5e fighters will see at high levels, but they're way off for the other editions.

(Example: if that 3e fighter has a +5 Flaming Greatsword at level 20, hardly an over-the-top purchase, and a +4 Belt of Giant Strength, his average damage goes up to 102... and that's STILL lowballing it. Plus he'll have Weapon Specialization and Power Attack to ramp up the damage even further, and God help you if he's got a cleric and wizard around to buff him.)

But I think my basic point should be obvious here: if anything, there is far LESS damage inflation in Next that in any other edition this century. 

Okay, now let's look at the wizard. Here I'm comparing a wizard casting his highest-damage PHB spell I can find at the appropriate levels. (Unlike the above example, I'm using daily powers for the 4e wizard, since the 3e and DDN wizards are using daily spells too.) 

D&D Next Playtest
Level 1 Wizard (Magic Missile): 2d4+4 damage (average: 9)
Level 10 Wizard (Magic Missile): 10d4+20 damage (average: 45)
Level 20 Wizard (Magic Missile): 18d4+36 damage (average: 81)

D&D 3.0
Level 1 Wizard (Magic Missile): 1d4+1 damage (average: 3.5)
Level 10 Wizard (Firebal): 10d6 damage (average: 35)
Level 20 Wizard (Meteor Swarm): 32d6 damage (average: 112)

D&D 4.0
Level 1 Wizard (Chill Strike): 2d8+3 damage (average: 12)
Level 10 Wizard (Lightning Serpent): 2d12+4 damage (average: 17), ongoing 5
Level 20 Wizard (Disintegrate): 5d10+5 damage (average: 32.5), ongoing 10

And just for fun:
AD&D 1.0
Level 1 Wizard (Shocking Grasp): 1d8+1 (average: 5.5)
Level 10 Wizard (Cone of Cold): 10d4+10 damage (average: 35)
Level 17 Wizard (Meteor Swarm): 40d4 damage (average: 100) 

So we learn from this that (a) Magic Missile is REALLY POWERFUL in Next, and (b) wizards are in more or less the same position as fighters when it comes to damage scaling.  (I'm not using Meteor Swarm for Next because I'm not convinced the meteor damage overlaps, by the way.) Also, not for nothing, (c) wizard damage is pretty well-balanced against fighter damage. 

Now, if anyone wants to come in and re-run the numbers here with a different spell selection, or including feats and magic items, that would be more than welcome.

TL;DR VERSION: Damage scaling is no greater in Next than it was in any other WOTC edition, even if you only look at martial characters. That damage is just distributed differently (one big attack with a bunch of MDD rather than iterative attacks).
Just to point this out, the 4e tables should go to 30th level instead of 20th, since that is the new maximum level. Maybe it should go 1st-15th-30th?
Just to point this out, the 4e tables should go to 30th level instead of 20th, since that is the new maximum level. Maybe it should go 1st-15th-30th?



The idea of going to level 30 in 4e was to make epic levels "core." You could go past 20 with the epic level splatbook in 3e, and I'm sure there'll be optional rules or splatbooks for epic level in Next, so I don't think a level 30 4e character is equivalent to a level 20 3e/5e character.
Damage scaling is no greater in Next than it was in any other WOTC edition, even if you only look at martial characters. That damage is just distributed differently (one big attack with a bunch of MDD rather than iterative attacks).

Interesting point. I think a lot of people had forgotten just how much damage a fighter could do with a sword, back in the 3E days, just because it was so inferior to the HP-bypass spells that wizards and clerics were gaining around level 10.

I have to admit that three attacks for 20 still feels more reasonable than one attack for 50, but that's not really a logical argument. Maybe it's just easier to visualize? I can see an awesome fighter making more attacks, but I can't visualize an awesome fighter suddenly gaining the ability to cleave through three feet of stone. And as much as people say it's an abstraction, and the one attack roll actually represents a number of attacks over the course of the round, it doesn't seem like an accurate representation of that - making multiple attack rolls does seem like an accurate way of modeling multiple attacks in a round.

The metagame is not the game.



I have to admit that three attacks for 20 still feels more reasonable than one attack for 50, but that's not really a logical argument. Maybe it's just easier to visualize? I can see an awesome fighter making more attacks, but I can't visualize an awesome fighter suddenly gaining the ability to cleave through three feet of stone. And as much as people say it's an abstraction, and the one attack roll actually represents a number of attacks over the course of the round, it doesn't seem like an accurate representation of that - making multiple attack rolls does seem like an accurate way of modeling multiple attacks in a round.



I've been trying to express the same feeling, but couldn't quite put it in words.
Your explanation was enough for me to recognize it as the same thing I was thinking, but i'm still not satisfied with it to really point to it and say "THAT'S exactly what I wanted to say!!"

(am I making sense here?)

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Good point OP. Good point.
My two copper.

I think the issue most have with damage in Next is that it’s the same scale for every character.  Damage in Next is like the amount of attacks in 3e but unlike the damage which was based on a multitude of magic items. One of the two things I like the most about Next is how magic isn’t such an essential component in character development. We still lost a lot of character development. It was a type of character development that needed to go but it also needed to be replaced.


MDB and MDD might be decent substitutes if they weren’t standard and they were curved against other ways you could develop a character like improving AC, DR, accuracy, the number of attacks, hp in a more meaningful way, crit rate, saving throws, ability scores and the amount of attacks. The problem with damage inflation in Next isn’t that amount its that its standard and it far outranks other forms of improvements.  

For the couple people who prefer the "feel" of multiple attacks, the next packet with weapon dice might feel a bit more like that.
"When you take the attack action, make a weapon attack roll, with success dealing damage equal to the damage die of your weapon plus the relevant ability modifier. As you increase in level, your improved skill allows you to make more attacks during your action. This is represented by rolling your weapon damage die multiple times, as shown on the chart, and adding them together. (Do not add your ability modifier more than once.)"

That sounds a lot better to me than the current wording. It would also make more sense as to why you lose one die when you want to trip someone (or use some other maneuver) - it's directly analogous to 3E, using one of your attacks to make a trip attempt, except you only make the one attack roll. Of course, last I heard they were getting rid of the damage exchange when performing a maneuver, so we'll have to wait and see what they do with that.

The metagame is not the game.

Damage scaling is no greater in Next than it was in any other WOTC edition, even if you only look at martial characters. That damage is just distributed differently (one big attack with a bunch of MDD rather than iterative attacks).

Interesting point. I think a lot of people had forgotten just how much damage a fighter could do with a sword, back in the 3E days, just because it was so inferior to the HP-bypass spells that wizards and clerics were gaining around level 10.

Hell yeah, especially because of how hit dice worked in 3.5 (where your first few extra hit dice, whether they came from being a classed character or a monster) massively boosted your HP, proportionally, and 1- and 2-HD things were tremendously squishy, 1st and 2nd level weapon-users are total death blenders. A level 1 or 2 fighter just mows down orc after orc after orc, killing an average of almost an orc a round all on his own. (With no particular optimization tricks.) Of course, he's correspondingly fragile himself. As levels increase, not only do HP-bypass spells get more and more available, but the ratio of damage dealt by attaks to monster HP falls through the floor, even when iterative attacks are factored in (barring extremely powerful optimization tricks "coming online" later.)

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
You are overestimating damage for the wizard because you are just looking at the maximum damage they can cast, not their frequency.

This maximum damage for a wizard is limited to a one or two per day (given you only take the top spell they can cast) while for martial classes it is every turn...

So given these numbers, a wizard and a martial character are balanced in the first fight, then the wizard is stricktly inferior.

On a side note, I'm not saying that wizards or any casters should be balanced only toward the damage they can provide.

The issue isn't that we're suddenly doing more damage than we were before, it's that hitting things feels trivial and damage feels like an assumption, especially at higher levels when someone who builds for attack stats ends up with a +10 to the roll and the AC average is 15.


Doing lots of damage is cool, but knowing that you'll almost always do that damage all the time makes it dull.


I also think that multiple attacks are really fun. More fun than one attack with the "lotta d-" method for rolling damage. I think 3e's iterative attacks were unnecessarily cumbersome, but that's not the only way to do multiple attacks. I think you should also work to keep the number down just for the sake of speed of play, so 3 attacks good, 5 attacks bad.

Multiple attacks should be used as a tool for martial class damage scaling just like spells have cones, and bursts. For single target effects I would prefer the damage dice increase as they level, versus rollng more of the same type of dice. Basically I prefer the 4E expression of damage, because it keeps the ammount of dice rolled to a reasonable amount.

It is interesting to watch 5E use hit points as a measure to determine monster toughness, and one of the main complaints of 4E was monsters had too many hit points.
A lot of people on the boards are complaining about "damage inflation," particularly for martial characters. So I thought I'd take a peak across editions for a moment.

I'm going to look at expected damage based on the PHB1 of several editions, including the latest Next playtest. I'll try to look at fighters and wizards at levels 1, 10, and 20 (where applicable). Since I don't have all the DMGs available (given that the DDN one doesn't exist yet), I'm just creating a fighter starting with 16 Str who wields a greatsword. All stat increases go into Str. For the 4e fighter, I'm using the damage from the most straightforward encounter power at that level. (Yes, you'll be using lots of lower-level encounter powers and at-wills, but you'll also be using dailies, so I picked encounter power as a happy medium.)

D&D Next Playtest
Level 1 Fighter: 1d12+3+1d6 damage (average: 13)
Level 10 Fighter: 1d12+4+5d6 damage (average: 28)
Level 20 Fighter: 1d12+5+6d6+20 damage (average: 52.5)

D&D 3.0
Level 1 Fighter: 2d6+4 damage (average: 11)
Level 10 Fighter: 2d6+6 damage twice (average: 26)
Level 20 Fighter: 2d6+7 damage four times (average: 56) 

D&D 4.0
Level 1 Fighter: 2d10+3 damage (average: 17)
Level 10 Fighter: 3d10+4 damage (average: 32)
Level 20 Fighter: 3d10+5 damage (average: 33)

Now, some comments here. Why is the 3.0 damage so high? Because of iterative attacks, of course. If you hit with all four attacks at level 20 you're doing a boatload of damage. In practice, the last attack or two probably won't hit anything in your level range.

BUT there are a couple huge provisos with these numbers: I'm not including feats or magic items. First off, the math for 3e and 4e assumes you'll be getting a steady influx of magic items. A level 20 fighter in either edition who showed up for a battle with a nonmagical weapon and 20 Strength (as all of these fighters have at that level) would be laughed off the battlefield. And I'm not sure it's even possible to get a fighter to level 20 in either edition without taking at least a feat or two that boosts damage. 5e is very different in that high-level monsters are balanced against a party with no magic items, and the only feats that improve weapon damage are laughably horrible. Like, <+1 average="" damage="" per="" round="" at="" level="" 20="" horrible="" so="" these="" numbers="" actually="" are="" close="" to="" what="" a="" lot="" of="" 5e="" fighters="" will="" see="" high="" levels="" but="" they="" re="" way="" off="" for="" the="" other="" editions="" br="">
(Example: if that 3e fighter has a +5 Flaming Greatsword at level 20, hardly an over-the-top purchase, and a +4 Belt of Giant Strength, his average damage goes up to 102... and that's STILL lowballing it. Plus he'll have Weapon Specialization and Power Attack to ramp up the damage even further, and God help you if he's got a cleric and wizard around to buff him.)

But I think my basic point should be obvious here: if anything, there is far LESS damage inflation in Next that in any other edition this century. 

Okay, now let's look at the wizard. Here I'm comparing a wizard casting his highest-damage PHB spell I can find at the appropriate levels. (Unlike the above example, I'm using daily powers for the 4e wizard, since the 3e and DDN wizards are using daily spells too.) 

D&D Next Playtest
Level 1 Wizard (Magic Missile): 2d4+4 damage (average: 9)
Level 10 Wizard (Magic Missile): 10d4+20 damage (average: 45)
Level 20 Wizard (Magic Missile): 18d4+36 damage (average: 81)

D&D 3.0
Level 1 Wizard (Magic Missile): 1d4+1 damage (average: 3.5)
Level 10 Wizard (Firebal): 10d6 damage (average: 35)
Level 20 Wizard (Meteor Swarm): 32d6 damage (average: 112)

D&D 4.0
Level 1 Wizard (Chill Strike): 2d8+3 damage (average: 12)
Level 10 Wizard (Lightning Serpent): 2d12+4 damage (average: 17), ongoing 5
Level 20 Wizard (Disintegrate): 5d10+5 damage (average: 32.5), ongoing 10

And just for fun:
AD&D 1.0
Level 1 Wizard (Shocking Grasp): 1d8+1 (average: 5.5)
Level 10 Wizard (Cone of Cold): 10d4+10 damage (average: 35)
Level 17 Wizard (Meteor Swarm): 40d4 damage (average: 100) 

So we learn from this that (a) Magic Missile is REALLY POWERFUL in Next, and (b) wizards are in more or less the same position as fighters when it comes to damage scaling.  (I'm not using Meteor Swarm for Next because I'm not convinced the meteor damage overlaps, by the way.) Also, not for nothing, (c) wizard damage is pretty well-balanced against fighter damage. 

Now, if anyone wants to come in and re-run the numbers here with a different spell selection, or including feats and magic items, that would be more than welcome.

TL;DR VERSION: Damage scaling is no greater in Next than it was in any other WOTC edition, even if you only look at martial characters. That damage is just distributed differently (one big attack with a bunch of MDD rather than iterative attacks).




Your numbers are slightly off.

First consider that in 3.0, multiple attacks don't always hit, in fact each subsequent attack suffers a greater penalty AND multiple attacks can only be done on a Full Attack of which if the DM uses strategy at all, will only happen every few rounds.

Then consider the weapon mastery feat for D&D Next which pretty much increases the chance to get a good roll on the martial dice.

And that's the issue with Martial Dice, there is no restriction so you are consistantly, round after after round scoring strong hits.

Its not to say 3.5 wasn't overpowered in itself either, because with Power Attack at later levels, Damage was inflated.

- - - -

Monsters and NPCs in D&D Next literely drop like flies, they need at least 3HD to survive an average hit. The solution isn't to just pump up their HD, the solution is too put bounds on damage as they have put bounds on accuracy.

- - - -

Also consider that some players and DMs don't consider HPs as abstract as other may. This means they use standardized damage to gauge the Hit Points and Damage of environmental effects such as natural fire, falling debris or the damage of a claw from a certain beast and so on.

By making damage completely abstract and out of control, you are taking sense of control from the DM

- - - -

And I'm sorry but multiple attacks at reasonable amount of damage just (for some reason), no matter what the math says, feels more (dare I say) 'realistic' then a fireball in every strike. It just 'feels' more natural. Not everyone feels like that but I'm one of them.

Its one of the reasons I'm excited for Weapon Damage Dice, because hopefuly (with a module) we will be able to 'translate' that into multiple attacks for people who prefer that sort of style. I'm just hoping they will be modest with the WDD creep as they have been modest with Accuracy.

- - - -

You can show me as much math as you want, I've been play testing D&D Next while playing D&D 3.5 at the same time and the martial PCs in D&D Next consistantly do more damage then our 3.5 game and require allot more creatures to even be challenged.
You are overestimating damage for the wizard because you are just looking at the maximum damage they can cast, not their frequency.

This maximum damage for a wizard is limited to a one or two per day (given you only take the top spell they can cast) while for martial classes it is every turn...

So given these numbers, a wizard and a martial character are balanced in the first fight, then the wizard is stricktly inferior.

On a side note, I'm not saying that wizards or any casters should be balanced only toward the damage they can provide.

Yeah, but what wizard in 3e and 4e went for purely damage attacks? I certainly never saw the powerful wizards opt for single target damage spells in either edition. In practice fighters in both editions are better at that (barring stuff such as DR or forced movement in 3e) than wizards. The designers also don't deny that balancing damage output is hard. It were the utility and status effects that where a challenge to balance...

Anyway, in the end damage in itself is meaningless. As the OP already pointed out, it is very challenging to give a decent value (e.g. any sane fighter in 3e would have Power Attack by level 10, and no fighter in 3e or 4e would have a Strength of 20 at level 20). In the end you also need to take the hit points into account of the monsters and those differ a lot between the editions as well. You could deal a thousend points of damage per round, but if a monster has tens of thousends of hit points that would still not be a lot ;)

As for multi attacks, the biggest downside in 3e was that it forced people to stay motionless during a fight. The moment you somehow forced that fighter to move their damage dropped by a huge factor, making fights a lot less dynamic.

Also note that by keeping damage low the +X from Strength and +X from a magic weapon means so much more.

Instead what WOTC have done is inflated damage and done damage control by pumping up the damage from magic items to things like 3d6 and 2d8 and Mike Mearls even considered removing strength as a bonus to damage.

So I say why not just tone down the damage and let those small bonuses matter.

Also note that by keeping damage low the +X from Strength and +X from a magic weapon means so much more.

Instead what WOTC have done is inflated damage and done damage control by pumping up the damage from magic items to things like 3d6 and 2d8 and Mike Mearls even considered removing strength as a bonus to damage.

So I say why not just tone down the damage and let those small bonuses matter.

Totally, especially considering Ability Scores are the absolute core of 5th Ed.

oh hellz yeah. But then we might have to have multiple attacks. Shock horror.

And I agree, the full-round action sucked. We don't need to do that again.



Your numbers are slightly off.

First consider that in 3.0, multiple attacks don't always hit, in fact each subsequent attack suffers a greater penalty AND multiple attacks can only be done on a Full Attack of which if the DM uses strategy at all, will only happen every few rounds.



This is true, but 3e also tends to stack up magical equipment, buffs, and feats/abilities that have a huge impact on character damage. (For example, that Fighter20 is a bit of an idiot for not sinking a level into Barbarian for Rage.) As I mentioned in my OP, just a couple level-appropriate items at level 20 will double the fighter's damage output.

Then consider the weapon mastery feat for D&D Next which pretty much increases the chance to get a good roll on the martial dice.



I had indeed misread this feat - at level 20, it would raise your average damage from 52.5 to 56.4, so it's not completely terrible. But compare that to 3e Power Attack, which will increase the level 20 fighter's max damage from 56 to A Whole Bunch with a penalty to hit. Or to be fairer, compare it to Weapon Specialization, which will increase it from 56 to 64 with no penalty at all. So yeah, excluding feats still SIGNIFICANTLY favors 3e.

Its not to say 3.5 wasn't overpowered in itself either, because with Power Attack at later levels, Damage was inflated.



If you're arguing now that fighters were overpowered in 3.5, I don't know what to tell you.

Monsters and NPCs in D&D Next literely drop like flies, they need at least 3HD to survive an average hit. The solution isn't to just pump up their HD, the solution is too put bounds on damage as they have put bounds on accuracy.



But that's not what the data tells us. PCs are doing about the same damage as they were in previous editions, if not less. If stuff is dying too quick it's because that stuff doesn't have enough hp or defenses. 3e certainly didn't have bounds on damage, so why would it be neccesary for Next?

Also consider that some players and DMs don't consider HPs as abstract as other may. This means they use standardized damage to gauge the Hit Points and Damage of environmental effects such as natural fire, falling debris or the damage of a claw from a certain beast and so on.

By making damage completely abstract and out of control, you are taking sense of control from the DM



How is this damage abstract? You hit someone with your weapon and they take damage. Getting sliced by a level 20 fighter is more deadly than falling off a five-story building. If you want to flavor it as a flurry of quick hits rather than one big hit, you're free to do so in Next; if I want to flavor my barbarian as a guy who makes powerful but slow attacks, I *can't* do that in 3e.

And I'm sorry but multiple attacks at reasonable amount of damage just (for some reason), no matter what the math says, feels more (dare I say) 'realistic' then a fireball in every strike. It just 'feels' more natural. Not everyone feels like that but I'm one of them.



Is Sneak Attack a special case? A 3e rogue can do a fireball of damage with his dagger every time the enemy is flanked.

Its one of the reasons I'm excited for Weapon Damage Dice, because hopefuly (with a module) we will be able to 'translate' that into multiple attacks for people who prefer that sort of style. I'm just hoping they will be modest with the WDD creep as they have been modest with Accuracy.



Agreed - it sounds like the WD mechanic will be easier to flavor however you want it, which is good.


You can show me as much math as you want, I've been play testing D&D Next while playing D&D 3.5 at the same time and the martial PCs in D&D Next consistantly do more damage then our 3.5 game and require allot more creatures to even be challenged.



Well, there could be a bunch of reasons for this. Maybe it's psychological - since the 3e guys are rolling more attacks, maybe their damage feels less extreme. Or maybe the DM is better at preventing 3.5 characters from doing max damage (by preventing them from getting in full attack actions, etc). Or maybe the Next fighter's Parry ability is obscenely overpowered at the moment and that crazy defensive boost is making your DDN characters last longer. But I'm just trying to show it's not due to "damage inflation."
Maybe it's psychological - since the 3e guys are rolling more attacks, maybe their damage feels less extreme. Or maybe the DM is better at preventing 3.5 characters from doing max damage (by preventing them from getting in full attack actions, etc).

In Next, that big damage number is listed right there in the class progression, visible for all to see. In 3E, it was obfuscated amongst minor bonuses in various places, which were multiplied across iterative attacks - you couldn't just see that a fighter would deal a ton of damage.

From what they've said, most people played 3E in the 1-7 level range, so they didn't really experience the rocket tag effect of high-levels (at least, not nearly enough to get an equal sense of how things played). Most players don't know from experience what the damage output of a fighter was like, unless they sit down and do the math on it, so they might be mentally comparing the clearly visible damage bonus in Next to their low-level experiences (or imagine high-level experiences) in 3E, and thinking that the Next numbers are way out of line even when they are fairly aligned with 3E.

The metagame is not the game.

Just to respond to your comment about Fighters overpowering Wizards and my answer is no, in fact it comes hand in hand, if damage from martial characters is to be reduced, so should the casters... however, remember that a caster's abilities are limited so yes a spell that he can cast only twice a day should in theory do more damage then a fighter's strike... how much more is debatable.... but this isn't about balance its about putting bounds on damage.

I understand that every edition eventually averaged a large amount of damage but that is a problem across all editions (not so much in 2E however).
Although I am certain that D&D Next feels more inflated then 3.0 from my play experience, I found even 3.0 to have inflated numbers... and if they can put bounds on accuracy, I don't understand why they can't put bounds on damage and solve the problem of rendering +1 a effectively meaningless bonus.  Every +1 should count.

Sometimes bigger isn't always better.
Just to respond to your comment about Fighters overpowering Wizards and my answer is no, in fact it comes hand in hand, if damage from martial characters is to be reduced, so should the casters... however, remember that a caster's abilities are limited so yes a spell that he can cast only twice a day should in theory do more damage then a fighter's strike... how much more is debatable.... but this isn't about balance its about putting bounds on damage.
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This is why 4E's Encounter-based spellcaster resources were so good for the game. Yes, Dailies are still powerful but no longer are you shoehorned in to having to run x battles in order to maintain any semblence of character equity. In 1E/2E/3E, once the party hit level 5-7, suddenly the adventuring day started clocking on the spellcasters' resources. When they were "out" of good spells, they were dead weight or worse, added enemies they weren't equipped to help defeat. Either that, or they simpy dominated the single or very few fights the party had.

The design concept behind 4E was you could end up in any number of fights, hard or light, in an adventuring day and you'd still have good resources at your command.


From what they've said, most people played 3E in the 1-7 level range, so they didn't really experience the rocket tag effect of high-levels (at least, not nearly enough to get an equal sense of how things played). Most players don't know from experience what the damage output of a fighter was like, unless they sit down and do the math on it, so they might be mentally comparing the clearly visible damage bonus in Next to their low-level experiences (or imagine high-level experiences) in 3E, and thinking that the Next numbers are way out of line even when they are fairly aligned with 3E.




You do have a point... in fact where you notice the biggest inflation is from levels 1-5 ... because in 3E, you just get weapon + strength ... maybe power attack bonus (assuming you can sacrifice the accuracy)... whereas in D&D Next you get +1d6 right off the bat and +2d6 at level 3... you are basically a 3E fighter with a flaming sword from the start.


Just to respond to your comment about Fighters overpowering Wizards and my answer is no, in fact it comes hand in hand, if damage from martial characters is to be reduced, so should the casters... however, remember that a caster's abilities are limited so yes a spell that he can cast only twice a day should in theory do more damage then a fighter's strike... how much more is debatable.... but this isn't about balance its about putting bounds on damage.
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This is why 4E's Encounter-based spellcaster resources were so good for the game. Yes, Dailies are still powerful but no longer are you shoehorned in to having to run x battles in order to maintain any semblence of character equity. In 1E/2E/3E, once the party hit level 5-7, suddenly the adventuring day started clocking on the spellcasters' resources. When they were "out" of good spells, they were dead weight or worse, added enemies they weren't equipped to help defeat. Either that, or they simpy dominated the single or very few fights the party had.

The design concept behind 4E was you could end up in any number of fights, hard or light, in an adventuring day and you'd still have good resources at your command.




I agree that encounter based resources are a good tool for spell-casters. But that is really a matter of preference... but I don't want this to turn into a 5 minute work day or Fighter vs. Wizards thread
Maybe I'm off-base here, but when I've complained about 'damage inflation' I was speaking specifically about the Martial Damage Bonus, which does artbitrarily inflate damage within DDN by introducing a redundant mechanic (MDD already gives the bonus, so why not just change things there?)
Maybe I'm off-base here, but when I've complained about 'damage inflation' I was speaking specifically about the Martial Damage Bonus, which does artbitrarily inflate damage within DDN by introducing a redundant mechanic (MDD already gives the bonus, so why not just change things there?)



It's been confirmed that the next packet will get rid of the MDB as part of the transition from MDD to weapon dice. So that particular problem may be solved!
Maybe I'm off-base here, but when I've complained about 'damage inflation' I was speaking specifically about the Martial Damage Bonus, which does artbitrarily inflate damage within DDN by introducing a redundant mechanic (MDD already gives the bonus, so why not just change things there?)



Your not off base, its also part of the problem... but I'm taking it a step further and stating even Martial Damage Dice by itself (to an extent) causes Damage Inflation.
I support the OP, Damage needs to drop some, but HP needs to go up.

HP sits at 1e/2e levels, but damage is above 1e/2e (And people seem to prefer it that way because it keeps martials in line with casters). Scale HP to be somewhere in the middle of 1e/2e and 3e and it would probably feel better.  
My two copper.

I agree that encounter based resources are a good tool for spell-casters. But that is really a matter of preference... but I don't want this to turn into a 5 minute work day or Fighter vs. Wizards thread



True, but the damage calculations get wonky when said Wizard is either warping the very fabric or reality or sipping a latte. Tongue Out

I support the OP, Damage needs to drop some, but HP needs to go up.

HP sits at 1e/2e levels, but damage is above 1e/2e (And people seem to prefer it that way because it keeps martials in line with casters). Scale HP to be somewhere in the middle of 1e/2e and 3e and it would probably feel better.  



Maybe I'm misreading the packet or misremembering 3e default rules, but doesn't the current packet use the exact same hp rules as 3e?
Also note that by keeping damage low the +X from Strength and +X from a magic weapon means so much more.

Instead what WOTC have done is inflated damage and done damage control by pumping up the damage from magic items to things like 3d6 and 2d8 and Mike Mearls even considered removing strength as a bonus to damage.

So I say why not just tone down the damage and let those small bonuses matter.




Yeah I been saying that for a while now. If it makes sense to bound accuracy it makes sense to bound everything.
Your 4e numbers are meaningless because 1) they exclude a bunch of bonuses that were expected as part of the core math and 2) we actually know what the striker dpr benchmarks are for 4e.
I support the OP, Damage needs to drop some, but HP needs to go up.

HP sits at 1e/2e levels, but damage is above 1e/2e (And people seem to prefer it that way because it keeps martials in line with casters). Scale HP to be somewhere in the middle of 1e/2e and 3e and it would probably feel better.  



You are talking about monster right? Character HP is higher than it was in 3e with wizards getting d6 and much higher than 2e where warrior got 3 hp a level after 9 and Wizards got 1.

D&D Next Playtest
Level 1 Fighter: 1d12+3+1d6 damage (average: 13)

D&D Next Playtest
Level 1 Wizard (Magic Missile): 2d4+4 damage (average: 9)

So we learn from this that (a) Magic Missile is REALLY POWERFUL in Next



I am not convinced that using magic to do 2/3 the damage of a sword swing or arrow is "REALLY POWERFUL". 
I support the OP, Damage needs to drop some, but HP needs to go up.

HP sits at 1e/2e levels, but damage is above 1e/2e (And people seem to prefer it that way because it keeps martials in line with casters). Scale HP to be somewhere in the middle of 1e/2e and 3e and it would probably feel better.  



You are talking about monster right? Character HP is higher than it was in 3e with wizards getting d6 and much higher than 2e where warrior got 3 hp a level after 9 and Wizards got 1.


Yes I'm talking monsters.
My two copper.

D&D Next Playtest
Level 1 Fighter: 1d12+3+1d6 damage (average: 13)

D&D Next Playtest
Level 1 Wizard (Magic Missile): 2d4+4 damage (average: 9)

So we learn from this that (a) Magic Missile is REALLY POWERFUL in Next



I am not convinced that using magic to do 2/3 the damage of a sword swing or arrow is "REALLY POWERFUL". 


auto-hit and at a distance ought to make it even
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I am not convinced that using magic to do 2/3 the damage of a sword swing or arrow is "REALLY POWERFUL". 

auto-hit and at a distance ought to make it even

That's a solid argument to make, but it doesn't justify the former being at-will while the latter is only thrice per day.

I'm all in favor of wizards and fighters doing equal damage, where fighters get that top-tier damage all day long and wizards can only keep it up two or three times per day (but with conditionals, like area-effect or auto-hit, that don't affect its peak power output).

The metagame is not the game.

I state in the OP that the 4e numbers (and 3e numbers for that matter) are way under what you'd see in play. I don't have the DMG for either edition on hand, but if you want to give me the expected damage for level 1/10/20 fighters in those editions it'd be great info. (The 5e expected damage would probably be very close to what I listed, since there are few feats that boost damage and magic items aren't part of the expected math.)
I am not convinced that using magic to do 2/3 the damage of a sword swing or arrow is "REALLY POWERFUL". 

auto-hit and at a distance ought to make it even

That's a solid argument to make, but it doesn't justify the former being at-will while the latter is only thrice per day.

I'm all in favor of wizards and fighters doing equal damage, where fighters get that top-tier damage all day long and wizards can only keep it up two or three times per day (but with conditionals, like area-effect or auto-hit, that don't affect its peak power output).



Agreed if you change "two or three" with "four to six" times per day. else we end up with FMWD
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I state in the OP that the 4e numbers (and 3e numbers for that matter) are way under what you'd see in play. I don't have the DMG for either edition on hand, but if you want to give me the expected damage for level 1/10/20 fighters in those editions it'd be great info. (The 5e expected damage would probably be very close to what I listed, since there are few feats that boost damage and magic items aren't part of the expected math.)


He did say his maths were pretty conservative.
The visual they provide is still relevant though 
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From my personal experiance a well built fighter in 3rd and 4th can produce the following numbers reliably at 20th (21 for 4th because of how things changed at that level going from paragon to Epic.

3rd Ed fighter - ~60 on a single hit goint to ~100 on crit meaning that if they landed 3/4 of the shots from a full attack action they put out between 180-220 damage a round.

4th Ed fighter non crit about 45 damage crit damage up to about 80 (noticably less than 3rd but fighters in 4th are not strikers and this is a defender/striker hybrid build which is often more effective game wise.)

Both could be pushed higher but these numbers represent "well optomised but not going into charop special chease sauce territory" aka anyone with a decent sence of system mastery could have built these characters.

Yes the 3rd ed fighter was a combat god and he still sucked when the mage could just disintegrate or turn into an enormous red dragon.
Yeah, the trick about 3e numbers is that anyone with a straight-classed level 20 fighter is already failing CharOp 101.