Building Blocks #7: Weapon Comparisons #6

Calculating Weapon Damage pt 6: Improved Critical and Other Considerations

Improved critical is a feat that doubles the critical threat range of the appropriate weapon types.  There is also a magical weapon property called keen (impact for bludgeoning weapons) that does the same.  They do not stack, but let’s see what they do to our weapons.  First let’s look at weapon base damage, then the damage modifier, then the seeker bonus.

Base 1 2 – 14 15-16 17-18 19-20 Sum Avg Old
Club 0 3.5 3.5 3.5 7 73.5 3.675 3.5
Rapier 0 3.5 7 7 7 87.5 4.375 3.85
Kopesh 0 4.5 4.5 13.5 13.5 121.5 6.075 5.175
Greataxe 0 6.5 6.5 6.5 19.5 149.5 7.475 6.825

Damage Bonus

*[D] 1 2 – 14 15-16 17-18 19-20 Sum Avg Old
Club 0 1 1 1 2 21 1.05 1
Rapier 0 1 2 2 2 25 1.25 1.1
Kopesh 0 1 1 3 3 27 1.35 1.15
Greataxe 0 1 1 1 3 23 1.15 1.05

Seeker Bonus

*[S] 1 2 – 14 15-16 17-18 19-20 Sum Avg Old
Club 0 0 0 0 2 4 0.2 0.1
Rapier 0 0 2 2 2 12 0.6 0.3
Kopesh 0 0 0 3 3 12 0.6 0.3
Greataxe 0 0 0 0 3 6 0.3 0.15

We can compare our new numbers with improved critical to the old numbers without it.  As we have been seeing the kopesh clearly benefits more from the other weapons netting .9 + .2[D] +.3[S] damage per swing.  The greataxe increase by .65 + .1[D] + .15[S], the rapier by  .525 + .15[D] + .3[S] and even the lowly club improves by .125 + .05[D] + .1[S].  As we should expect, the seeker bonus simply doubles.  Now before anyone starts thinking that these numbers are low, remember that this is per swing and that we are expressing the damage modifier as a variable.

Let’s take a test case here.  Assume a character swings a kopesh 100 times per minute (don’t ask me I have no idea what the attack rate with a kopesh is, this is just easier for math) and that this character has a modest damage modifier of +15(10 str + 5 enhancement) and that he has a blood stone for a +6 seeker bonus.  Let’s see what the math says.

100*(.9+.2*(15)+.3*(6)) = 100*(.9+3+1.8) = 100*(5.7) = 570 additional damage PER minute!  And let’s be honest here, +15 is a low damage modifier for a front line fighter.  Yes I know, I assumed 100 swings in a minute, but I hope I’ve established the 1) if you are going to do any weapon dps regularly you should have improved crit, and 2) that what seems like a small boost to damage quickly increases.  Just think about it.  If your character is doing an extra 500 damage per minute and you are fighting a raid boss for 10 minutes…

From this point forward all calculations will include improved critical unless otherwise noted.  Let’s face it, if you are doing weapon calculations for a character without improved critical, you should probably rethink your build.

Power attack is something to keep in mind when comparing weapons.  As we will examine later, some weapons will be better than other weapons so long as [D] is greater than some number.  Power attack adds to [D] and remember that with 2 handed weapons you get to add double the bonus.

Rages will also add to [D] with the increased strength and for frenzied bezerkers they will slightly change the critical profiles of weapons increasing the critical multiplier by 1-3 on a natural 19 and 20.  This will slightly change the numbers.  Here’s just the difference in base damage.

Weapon No rage +1 +2 +3
Club 3.675 4.025 4.375 4.725
Rapier 4.375 4.725 5.075 5.425
Kopesh 6.075 6.525 6.975 7.425
Greataxe 7.475 8.125 8.775 9.425

[D] and [S] will also increase.  I won’t be using this ability in further calculations but if it applies to you it’s pretty easy to add it in, just increase the crit multiplier on natural 19s and 20s.

It’s also worth considering special class and racial abilities that apply to very specific weapons. Several races have enhancement lines for certain weapons for example.  These are all damage boosts which we can add to [D] when considering those weapons.  A rogue acrobat also gets attack speed bonuses with the quarter staff which we can mostly apply as a percent damage boost (don’t forget to add in the same percent of extra sneak attack damage).  A Kensai fighter gets access to a line of enhancements that amplify 1 weapon, though they can pick a weapon.  In this case use the base stats to pick your favorite weapon as you can improve any of them then add in the bonus damage and extra crit multiplier for your calculations with that specific weapon.

If you have a topic or a build you’d like me to look at drop me an email ( or leave a comment.  I am in no way guaranteeing that I will consider, reply to, or let alone read comments in anything resembling a timely manner (sorry, time is unfortunately not an infinite resource of mine until I am high enough level to cast time stop).

Comments (2)

  1. kinggartk

    I like your comparison’s but to make this even more valid, you should include Heavy Pick and Falchion in your comparisons. I beleive you will find they compare favorably.

  2. pjstechie

    Patience friend, these are only examples im using beacause of their different critical ranges and common styles.

    Actually, heavy picks don’t compare as well as you might think…

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