Why do we roll for damage?

40 posts / 0 new
Last post
It's how it's always been done, but I was hoping 4E would kill this sacred cow.

When an attack beats defense by fifty cajillion but you roll 1 for damage, what is the reasoning for that? Does the ax somehow have a mind of its own? Isn't my ability to catch a moving target and penetrate the armor pretty much the same ability that's going to determine how much it hurts? I mean seriously, what are we simulating by rolling twice?

This was necessary in the past, because defense didn't go up with level, but now it does, so get rid of it! There are two options I can think of:

1. Use multipliers. 1x weapons do damage equal to the amount that the attack exceeds defense, 1.5x weapons do an extra 50% damage, etc.

2. Use a chart. Just look up how much you hit by and compare it to the damage level of the attack. Easy.
Yeah, I don't know about that. The game seems to be removing die rolls as is. I for one LIKE rolling damage. I used to play a game that used a system similar to what you described and it lead to lots and lots of nickle and diming combats when facing monsters that were hard to hit.

Extremist reaction: why don't we just have a formulae for how likely the party is going to win the encounter and have one roll to see if they do. There could be an easy reference chart to how well they did. i.e. Beat the encounter DC by 4? You lost 2 of your highest level spells and 8% of your HP.
The horrible truth - "Their new marketing strategy (Evergreen Essentials) pretty much requires that anything new that sees print refer back almost exclusively to Essentials." Tony Vargas
Yeah, I don't know about that. The game seems to be removing die rolls as is. I for one LIKE rolling damage. I used to play a game that used a system similar to what you described and it lead to lots and lots of nickle and diming combats when facing monsters that were hard to hit.

Extremist reaction: why don't we just have a formulae for how likely the party is going to win the encounter and have one roll to see if they do. There could be an easy reference chart to how well they did. i.e. Beat the encounter DC by 4? You lost 2 of your highest level spells and 8% of your HP.

Hehe, funny you should say that. I think that would be a useful tool for resolving situations where some of the characters go off on their own but the rest of the players don't want to be bored waiting for them to come back. Of course, that's beside the point...
It's how it's always been done, but I was hoping 4E would kill this sacred cow.

When an attack beats defense by fifty cajillion but you roll 1 for damage, what is the reasoning for that? Does the ax somehow have a mind of its own? Isn't my ability to catch a moving target and penetrate the armor pretty much the same ability that's going to determine how much it hurts? I mean seriously, what are we simulating by rolling twice?

This was necessary in the past, because defense didn't go up with level, but now it does, so get rid of it! There are two options I can think of:

1. Use multipliers. 1x weapons do damage equal to the amount that the attack exceeds defense, 1.5x weapons do an extra 50% damage, etc.

2. Use a chart. Just look up how much you hit by and compare it to the damage level of the attack. Easy.

The main problem with just using the attack result is in differentiating weapons; that's the main reason a separate die is rolled for damage.

However, if you find a way to calculate the weapon's likeliness of dealing damage to the foe into the roll, it would solve that problem.

For example:

If Armor (which absorbs or deflects damage directed at it) provides a bonus to AC, why can't weapons provide a bonus to Hit (to counter armor's protection).

I've touched on this in another thread, here: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=945809

It has its faults, but I think with some work it could simplify combat somewhat, making it more like a skill check. It was a one-off idea, and I didn't try to expound on it, because I wasn't sure where to take it.
You could always use the average damage for any attack if you wanted to. Keep in mind though it takes some of the excitement out of the game. Like the time you got lucky on your first day with the party and the 3rd level ranger attacked you and you killed him due to a critical hit. (True story, I was first level fighter; it was an evil party which I didn't know when I made Kell ).

1d4 = 2.5
1d6 = 3.5
1d8 = 4.5
1d10 = 5.5
1d12 = 6.5

Keep in mind though using the average with DR in the game would screw with your party a lot
The main problem with just using the attack result is in differentiating weapons; that's the main reason a separate die is rolled for damage.

Not only that...

I always perceived a successful attack roll as...you were able to get through the opponents defenses, but that doesn't mean you got through the way you'd like. Sometimes you can only land a quick, less deadly blow. Other times you can land a huge critical blow.

This explains why a high attack roll (20) opens up for criticals.

Just the way i see it.
My entire group weighs in on the "because it's FUN!" response. They would definitely want to roll the hit, then consult a chart or apply a modifier to find out the damage.

I do like the idea of quicky resolutions for off-screen mini-explorations, though.
Not only that...

I always perceived a successful attack roll as...you were able to get through the opponents defenses, but that doesn't mean you got through the way you'd like. Sometimes you can only land a quick, less deadly blow. Other times you can land a huge critical blow.

This explains why a high attack roll (20) opens up for criticals.

Just the way i see it.

Ha! I knew someone would say that! You've fallen into my trap... humhahahahaaaa!

Seriously though, by that logic, a critical should do a lot of damage. Then why is it possible to roll a 1 on crits? Wow... a critical for 2 damage. Is there anything more lame?
Ha! I knew someone would say that! You've fallen into my trap... humhahahahaaaa!

AHHHHHHHH!!!! cut me down (he screams from the net 20 feet in the air)

True, it's weird. But there needs to be some way of saying "you succeeded, but you didn't hack their head off" or maybe "you succeeded wonderfully, now their head's on the ground".
Because the attack roll, with the exception of a critical hit, is a simple 'hit or not'; the die roll itself has no bearing on how well, or how poorly, you hit the target. Either you did, or you didn't; it's merely dramatic flavor to describe a high roll as a brutal swing or a low roll as a clumsy one. Beating the AC by 20 or 2 is irrelevant.

As far as the critical hit goes, remember that D&D combat is 99 percent abstract. You rolled dice, beat armor class, and dealt HP damage ... but that does not, in fact, mean you made contact with the opponent, at all. HP represent general defensive ability as much as AC (this is why Swashbucklers, whom you'd expect to have low HD, have d10s; it represents their ability to AVOID damage). Losing HP could be a shield hit, a parry, a last minute dodge that costs the target a lock of his hair, and so forth.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Ha! I knew someone would say that! You've fallen into my trap... humhahahahaaaa!

Seriously though, by that logic, a critical should do a lot of damage. Then why is it possible to roll a 1 on crits? Wow... a critical for 2 damage. Is there anything more lame?

You could always make a house rule that with a critical you deal at least average damage for the weapon (so a Longsword would deal 4.5 damage/9 damage overall, minimum) on a critical hit.

However, the better solution would be that how well you hit affects how much you deal. Right now, there's two much of a disconnect between the two rolls. Other than a critical, one does not influence the other. You can have a solid hit that deals little to no damage, or a grazing blow that kills the opponent.
HP represent general defensive ability as much as AC

I realize that the mechanics are based around this notion, but i have serious issues with it. It seems their is too much overlap between things...

AC overlaps with HP

Attack Rolls overlaps with Damage Rolls

If we're suppose to keep a visual mental image of what is going on, then this really makes it difficult. It makes everyone see a different thing, or not make out what actually happened in the first place.

"but the dice says that's what happened so lets move on, the DM always says..."
This was necessary in the past, because defense didn't go up with level, but now it does, so get rid of it! There are two options I can think of:

1. Use multipliers. 1x weapons do damage equal to the amount that the attack exceeds defense, 1.5x weapons do an extra 50% damage, etc.

A valid idea, but the problem is that the average player wants to reduce the amount of math in the game... and calculating the exact difference between your roll and the defense is math. Not to mention calculating 50% damage. (I know it seems like simple math, but still people don't like it)

2. Use a chart. Just look up how much you hit by and compare it to the damage level of the attack. Easy.

Personally I like charts, but they killed the whole chart thing as the editions evolved and I don't think they will go back. Back in Basic D&D there were charts for everything.


A slight adjustment to your "option 1" would be:
- Each weapon has a base damage (e.g. a short sword would be 6hp)
- Roll your attack, and compare it to the opponent's defense bonus (AC)
- If you beat the defense by 1 or 2 points, you do half damage
- If you beat the defense by more than 2 points, you do full damage
- If you beat the defense by 10 points plus, you do double damage
- If you beat the defense by 20 points plus, you do triple damage

Sure this is still math, but it is something people can do in their head reasonably quickly. Comparing 2 numbers and seeing that they are 1-2 points apart is quick and easy. Comparing two numbers and seeing if they differ by 10 points or more is quick and easy.

I don't know if this is that great of a solution... I just made it up right now without too much thought.
The reason is that at the heart of the game, DnD is a dice game.

Dice games get their addiction value from a series of random prizes awarded at unpredictable moments. Variation of prize keeps people addicted to the result.

Rolling for the success is one addiction. Rolling for the damage varies the pay off increasing the addictive event. Criticals provide the big pay off/jackpot buzz.

You don't take the arguement that rolling dice is an addictive high?

Next time you are the gaming table look around at your fellow players when you go into a slow section without dice rolling.

Initially there will be a relaxation from the time of rolling dice.

Then there will start to be the fidgiting with the dice at the table.

Then their will be the bright spark on the face when the DM anounces that someone will get to roll dice again to determine a random prize/event.

Rolling dice is a very addictive event if connected to prize/emotional payoff. People will fix upon in their memory of the feeling of stimulation from the roll of a 20 that saved the life of the party or character.

Why is rolling dice often the start of character generation? It is the first high and allows people to settle down for the initial game fluff. Too much fluff and people will return to fidgiting with their dice as they seek out the next chance to roll the dice.

With prize payoffs of gold and your character's life, the stakes are often very great.

Rolling for damage increases the amount of randomness of the return so that it does not be come too predictable.

Why not constant rolling of dice then? Too much rolling of dice gives too much high and not enough low.

People need low to get the need or addiction to the random high.

That is why we roll for damage.
First: Rolling dice is fun!
Random results make a player feel good when he rolls really high. The low rolls generally are forgotten, but a great roll will stick in the mind.

Secondly: I can happily imagine a situation in which a weapon easily penetrates armor but still doesn't inflict a critical wound.

DM: "Your crossbow bolt pierces his breastplate like it was made of tissue-paper and it sinks into his gut, drawing a pained gasp from the soldier"

Had the player rolled higher on his damage roll or scored a critical hit while beating the enemy's AC by a lot then I would describe it much the same way, but actually striking a more important location like the upper chest or an artery or what-have-you.
Yeah, I don't know about that. The game seems to be removing die rolls as is. I for one LIKE rolling damage. I used to play a game that used a system similar to what you described and it lead to lots and lots of nickle and diming combats when facing monsters that were hard to hit.

This can be mitigated by ensuring a certain minimum attack damage on contact. Feng Shui does a decent enough job of this, where you do base damage + the amount to exceed the enemy's defense by - their Toughness. This only sucks when you're up against something with good defenses and good armor. (Or against a Mook with too high of a defense value since Mooks are only taken out by exceeding their defenses by a certain amount on a single attack.)

The best solution I've ever seen for the tedium of "roll to hit, check AC, roll for miss chance, roll for damage" exchanges in D&D is to simply roll all your dice at once.

Extremist reaction: why don't we just have a formulae for how likely the party is going to win the encounter and have one roll to see if they do. There could be an easy reference chart to how well they did. i.e. Beat the encounter DC by 4? You lost 2 of your highest level spells and 8% of your HP.

That's called scene-based resolution, and there are several indy games that use it -- Maelstrom's Story Engine system would be the one that comes most to mind as something you may have actually seen in a gaming shop somewhere. It has its merits in more story-driven games because it basically generally allows for you to determine who won a conflict in advance and then play out how it happened (sometimes spending resources to soften the blow or losing resources as a result of it).

This doesn't work well for D&D because D&D is essentially a tactical, minatures-based combat system with some glue wrapped around it to enable a story to explain why the battles are happening. D&D with scene-based resolution would be an entirely different game which would need a reward system very different from killing monsters for XP to be fun at that point.
Seriously though, by that logic, a critical should do a lot of damage. Then why is it possible to roll a 1 on crits? Wow... a critical for 2 damage. Is there anything more lame?

I felt the same way, so I gave my group the option of taking max damage on a crit or rolling as normal.

They ALL elected to roll.
I've played flat damage games. BESM for one. To me, at least, its not nearly as fun. Flat damage every attack is (to me) effing boring! (I even created good random damage for it).
Ha! I knew someone would say that! You've fallen into my trap... humhahahahaaaa!

Seriously though, by that logic, a critical should do a lot of damage. Then why is it possible to roll a 1 on crits? Wow... a critical for 2 damage. Is there anything more lame?

*Reverse Counter-Trap*

Got you.:P

In order to get a “1 Damage” as currently is by having a Strength score of 10 or lower thus you suck at direct combat due to lacking upper-body strength…and arent a Fighter with Weapon Specialization, or have a magic weapon… or wotnot.

The average human warrior Lv1 with a long sword does at least 3 damage (6 from critical) which at 1st level can almost K.O. quite a few classes and what have you. The average orc warrior Lv1 with a long sword does at least 5 damage (10 from critical) which will kill quite a number of people.


Its not the Designers fault that you thought you would have mad-skills with a character Strength of 4.

In short I’ll quote Adray:

“Frustrated? Get Stronger!”
How bout instead of multiples for different weapons you use bonuses. Keep the system originally posted, but:

dagger might do +0 damage (just the difference between attack and defense) but give you +1 ac from being unencumbered or a double critical threat.

longswords might do +2 damage. meaning the difference +2.

greatswords might do +4.

roll 18, need 15 to hit.

dagger does 3 damage

longsword does 5 damage

greatsword does 7 damage
A valid idea, but the problem is that the average player wants to reduce the amount of math in the game... and calculating the exact difference between your roll and the defense is math. Not to mention calculating 50% damage. (I know it seems like simple math, but still people don't like it)

Personally I like charts, but they killed the whole chart thing as the editions evolved and I don't think they will go back. Back in Basic D&D there were charts for everything.


A slight adjustment to your "option 1" would be:
- Each weapon has a base damage (e.g. a short sword would be 6hp)
- Roll your attack, and compare it to the opponent's defense bonus (AC)
- If you beat the defense by 1 or 2 points, you do half damage
- If you beat the defense by more than 2 points, you do full damage
- If you beat the defense by 10 points plus, you do double damage
- If you beat the defense by 20 points plus, you do triple damage

Sure this is still math, but it is something people can do in their head reasonably quickly. Comparing 2 numbers and seeing that they are 1-2 points apart is quick and easy. Comparing two numbers and seeing if they differ by 10 points or more is quick and easy.

I don't know if this is that great of a solution... I just made it up right now without too much thought.

That idea is like... totally better than both of mine!

How bout instead of multiples for different weapons you use bonuses. Keep the system originally posted, but:

dagger might do +0 damage (just the difference between attack and defense) but give you +1 ac from being unencumbered or a double critical threat.

longswords might do +2 damage. meaning the difference +2.

greatswords might do +4.

roll 18, need 15 to hit.

dagger does 3 damage

longsword does 5 damage

greatsword does 7 damage

AHHH! That idea's better than mine too!

Hmmm. Well thanks guys. Now I have to playtest these two ideas to figure out which I'd like better as a house rule.
True, it's weird. But there needs to be some way of saying "you succeeded, but you didn't hack their head off" or maybe "you succeeded wonderfully, now their head's on the ground".

You could add the relative amount of your hit to the damage. So if you beat the relevant defense by 4 say a 16 to hit vs a 12 AC then you add 4 to your base damage (determined by weapon, etc.) Then you wouldn't need a extra critical system. Although you could keep one if you wanted.

Perhaps a roll of natural 20 allows you to roll and add the second result (like 2e firearms did.) So you roll a 20 and have a +4 bonus. Roll again and add, let's say you roll a 7 => total attack value: 31.

Just a thought, I think such a system is doable.
If you really want to get rid of rolled damage then I would suggest you pair that idea with a removal of hit points and use the M&M 2e system.

It works very well for people that wish some description but less mechanics in their hit and damage.
I'm going to play the Devil's Advocate here....

If this kind of a system is what works for you and your group, that's awesome; there's no wrong way to play D&D. Personally, I'd find that system a little bland, but that's simply a statement based on my preferences (I'm one of the seemingly few people who enjoyed skill points, feats, and other such things in 3E.)


However, why roll dice for anything? Eliminate dice completely and have everything based off of a chart or based off of the average result that dice would give.
I am White/Black
I am White/Black
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both orderly and selfish. I act mostly for my own benefit, but I respect and help my community - Specially when it helps me. At best, I'm loyal and dedicated; at worst, I'm elitist and shrewd.
 The Best in Gaming!
I used a similar system in an RPG I made years ago, and then the idea wasn't new.

It's as simple as

Damage = Attack roll + attack modifier - defense.

Attack modifier incorporates your own skill plus your weapons damage.

Works quite well, but most people prefer to roll for damage seperately. It's a matter of taste.

So if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

Ceterum censeo capsum rubeum esse delendam

You could have a single die roll (d20 of course) count for both to-hit
and for damage.

This way, if you get lucky in your to-hit, you also get lucky in your
damage.

And if you get unlucky in your to-hit, you also get unlucky in your
damage.

The problem of course, is scaling back the range of 1 to 20 back to
a weapon's normal damage range of 1 to 8, and this range would
be different for different weapons.
It's necessary because you can never perform the exact same action as a human, which is what averaging damage represents. A die roll of any kind used to represent an action is simply a mechanic of the human inability to be consistent. Granted, your way may speed up gameplay or whatever, but it's dull as mud.
Color me flattered.

LIFE CYCLE OF A RULES THREAD

Show
Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

If you really want to get rid of rolled damage then I would suggest you pair that idea with a removal of hit points and use the M&M 2e system.

It works very well for people that wish some description but less mechanics in their hit and damage.

I think such a thing will be very easy in 4e. We've already got whispers of a "Damage Threshold".
It's Fun.

I think Smerg hit the nail on the head for me with his excellent thesis on the addictive qualities of dice.

This is why I prefer rolling stats rather than point-buy.
This is why I roll hp for monsters instead of giving them average.
This is why I roll random (for the most part) treasures.
This is why I have never questioned this aspect of the game's design.
This is why I love charts for random things (AEG's Toolbox).

It is why I can imitate Nelson for The Simpons and say "Ahh-ha, your critical sucked!"

I guess the bottom-line is that it depends on how random you want your game to be and also how story-driven it is. I have seen the dice go horribly bad for players over the years, depending on the game style this can either be a campaign killer or a great excuse to try that new class from the splatbook of the month.

The other thing to take into account is the players. Their characters will see much more combat then any one of the monsters I throw at them. Average damage, as has been discussed, while very predictable and possibly more logical, means that I can't say, "The orc hits, take (dice roll behind screen) 1 hp of damage." I know some of you don't use screens or hide dice from your players, not arguing for or against, just stating something I haven't seen brought up.
Ha! I knew someone would say that! You've fallen into my trap... humhahahahaaaa!

Seriously though, by that logic, a critical should do a lot of damage. Then why is it possible to roll a 1 on crits? Wow... a critical for 2 damage. Is there anything more lame?

I think the issue here is that attack rolls aren't meant to represent individual weapon attacks. I've always thought that attack rolls sort of act as opportunities to hit - if you roll a miss than you character never saw an opening in his opponent's defense. If you roll a hit than you thereby did manage to catch an opening you could exploit... and then your damage would be variable based on where you managed to hit him with that opening and how hard.
As such, rolling a 1 on a critical DOES make sense. Perhaps in the fighting your opponent fumbled slightly and left a critical part of their body open to you for a minute - let's say in this example they leaned in too hard and left the back of their shoulder exposed. The damage roll then represents where or not you were able to fully take advantage of that - if you rolled high then you were quick enough to stab them firmly under their shoulder blade - if you rolled low than you were only quick enough to graze their shoulder as they recovered their stance.

*shrugs* Makes perfect sense to me.
Lets just simplify combat even More

Attack Roll Vs AC
Attack Roll > AC = Sucessful Attack
Attack Roll < AC = Unsucessful Attack
Sucessful Attack = Dead
Unsucessful Attack = Alive still

Then we could do away with worrying about Keeping track of HP also
Lets just simplify combat even More

Attack Roll Vs AC
Attack Roll > AC = Sucessful Attack
Attack Roll < AC = Unsucessful Attack
Sucessful Attack = Dead
Unsucessful Attack = Alive still

Then we could do away with worrying about Keeping track of HP also

I suspect this will be the system for fighting minions. That way, you can have 100 orcs attack and not have to worry about tracking all their HP.

PC's, however, would still have HP (or whatever) and be able to take multiple "hits" (whatever they are - actual damage, loss of morale, etc.)
As a house rule in my level 13+ game, I started averaging the damage of the bad guys. It was a lot easier to roll a D20 and say "he hits you for 45".

I just averaged the damage and rounded to the nearest five like D&D Minis. We also did this for certain "unfun" die rolls like healing.

For spells, it was always no more than five dice + 1/2 the average rounded up. So a 10d6 fireball was 5d6 + 20. Same for monsters although I might even average out the 5d6 and make the fireball hit for 40.

No one really cares what the monster hits for, they're interested in their own die rolls. So averaging out the damage of monsters works well. It doesn't work well lower than level 4 though when monster damage comes primarily from the die roll itself. If an orc hits for 1d8+1, you don't want to average that out on players who only have 20 hitpoints.

I'd love to see a variant 4e rule that lets you average out damage across the board and play the entire game with a D20 like D&D miniatures. It makes for a really fast and fun game.
As a house rule in my level 13+ game, I started averaging the damage of the bad guys. It was a lot easier to roll a D20 and say "he hits you for 45".

I just averaged the damage and rounded to the nearest five like D&D Minis. We also did this for certain "unfun" die rolls like healing.

For spells, it was always no more than five dice + 1/2 the average rounded up. So a 10d6 fireball was 5d6 + 20. Same for monsters although I might even average out the 5d6 and make the fireball hit for 40.

No one really cares what the monster hits for, they're interested in their own die rolls. So averaging out the damage of monsters works well. It doesn't work well lower than level 4 though when monster damage comes primarily from the die roll itself. If an orc hits for 1d8+1, you don't want to average that out on players who only have 20 hitpoints.

I'd love to see a variant 4e rule that lets you average out damage across the board and play the entire game with a D20 like D&D miniatures. It makes for a really fast and fun game.

I like this idea for monsters and think that you could do a tiny bit to hide the perfect average damage each time effect. It also sneaks a bit of AC effect into the damage making damage.

Mind you, this change would like be an optional rule because it would involve a tiny bit of math.

The DM rolls the die to hit and when they gets a hit confirmed they subtract the AC hit from the d20 roll (including modifiers) to get a differance to add to the average damage. This allows a bit of variance to the otherwise constant damage.

A DM might need to put a limit on this depending on the level/hit dice of creature of something like a maximum of +2 added to damage per hit die of creature to help out at the low end of damage from a lucky roll making a hit go up by an extra +10 of damage on what should be a 2d8 damage.

Other than that, it should speed up the table rolls and damage quite a bit.

Good idea.
Here is my understanding of the rule. The attack roll is to see if you are able to find an opening in that round to actually land a hit that may damage the opponent. When you succeed you roll the damage dice according to your weapon to see how successful your strike was. If you have a great axe which does between 1 and 12 points of damage and you roll a 1, it means that even though you managed to bypass the creature defenses, the creature reacted in time to avoid most of you blow.

Remember that in a round you don’t only strike once or twice, you move around and poke at your opponent a number of times. The attack roll and damage are only there to see how well you managed to out maneuver your opponent and strike a deadly blow at him.
I never had a problem with this until I started playing Serenity RPG. And now I love Serenity's rules too much.

  • Base mechanic in D&D: roll d20 + your modifiers vs. 10 + opponent's modifiers, where each side's modifiers depend on 1) their ability scores (via a chart), 2) their classes and levels, 3) other stuff
  • Base mechanic in Serenity: opposed rolls of ability scores + skills vs. ability scores + skills. How much you win the contest by is important.

Note that in Serenity, ability scores and skills aren't numbers. They're dice. So if someone with average Strength but a lot of sword training were to swing at someone with good Agility but not much Athletics/Dodge, the roll would look like this:

d6 + d10 vs. d8 + d2
(Strength = d6, Melee Weapons/Swords = d10, opponent's Agility = d8, opponent's Athletics = d2)

Then you take the amount you beat the opponent by and add it to the sword's base damage (probably d4) and do that much damage. It's a great system.
For higher level games I tended to average out the damage of the monsters. That way, when there were six drow vampires attacking a party, I didn't have to do twelve rolls on hits, just six.

I like the way D&D miniatures does it with averages incremented by five. This works a lot better when, at higher levels, the average is less of a swing.

For example, at level 1 a swing with a greatsword may do 4 to 14 damage. That's a big swing in the randomness.

At level 10 that might be a lot less random, say 15 to 25 with an average of 20.

Anyway, it can work well if folks agree to it. On the DM side sometimes it helps just to cut down on enemy die rolls.
Don't have a problem with either system, but I thought I'd point out a side effect here. By basing the damage on the attack roll result, you make all attack bonuses damage bonuses by association. So if your character uses an alternate attribute as an attack bonus, that stat now improves damage as well.

In some ways this can be a good thing. There have been plenty of discussions about whether strength or dexterity should more affect damage, and this change to the attack/damage relationship would settle that debate fairly well.

On the other hand, it could also take away from possible class features. Say you have a class feature that substitutes dex for str on damage rolls. That feature doesn't really count for much now. You could change the damage bonus to an attack bonus, but what if the character also had weapon finesse?

In fact, any ability that affects damage could require mild to drastic alteration or outright omission/substitution in order to accomodate this sort of change. Not trying to discourage you, but I thought you might appreciate a wider perspective on what changes you would have to make for this to work.
It's how it's always been done, but I was hoping 4E would kill this sacred cow.

2. Use a chart. Just look up how much you hit by and compare it to the damage level of the attack. Easy.

Nothing funner than looking something up. Thats why kids love encyclopedias so much.