Building Blocks 13: Weapon Comparisons 12

Calculating Weapon Damage pt 12: Armor Class

Armor class determines how hard a specific monster is to hit.  Each character has a “to-hit” modifier that typically includes their base attack bonus, a stat modifier (most commonly strength for melee weapons and dexterity for ranged weapons), and the specific weapon’s enhancement bonus (this bonus applies to both to hit and damage).  There are also several ways to boost a characters to hit modifier, common ways being bard songs, (greater) heroism, items, and stat boosting effects.

To hit a monster, a character rolls a d20 and adds this to their to hit modifier.  If the resulting total is equal to or greater than the monsters armor class the swing is a hit.  Remember that we are calculating weapon damage per swing and have been assuming that we always hit (except on a roll of a 1 which always misses).  Clearly if we miss more often this will affect our dps calculations.

To modify our calculations we need to determine our character’s to hit bonus but without the weapon’s enhancement bonus or other to hit modifiers.  This is because weapons with different enhancement bonuses and abilities will change our to hit differently.

Let’s look at our set of boss weapons.  Both greensteel weapons have a +5 as does the bursting vorpal weapon while the eSoS has a big +10.  The greater bane weapon has not only a +5 but is considered +3 better when the bane effect applies for a total of +8.  The antique greataxe has a +6 and also has the ability righteousness for an extra +2 against evil creatures also for a total of +8.

Calculating extra misses gets a little complicated because of critical hits.  Critical hits have to be confirmed by rolling a second attack roll and if we have a chance to miss this will effect that portion of the calculation.  This will be addressed later, for now we will still assume that critical hits will still always confirm.  Yes I know, that will mitigate the change, but the point of these calculations is to exhibit how different attributes of monsters will effect weapon calculations.  In most raid scenarios to hit is typically not an issue.  We’ll talk later about how to calculate changes in critical hits when we discuss fortification.

For our calculations lets assume that our character is able to (before weapon factors) hit our example monster with a die roll of 15 or better and that this monster is evil and our bane weapon is appropriate but this monster has no resistances.  Here’s our numbers.

Min 2 Falchion Avg Old
2d6+5 10.2 15
[D] 0.85 1.25
[S] 0.6 0.6
Holy 3.85 6.65
Acid burst 3.575 4.975
Acid blast 2.35 2.35
Slicing 1.375 2.375
Totals (w/o [D] & [S]) 21.35 31.35
Epic Antique Greataxe Avg Old
3d10+6 20.25 25.875
[D] 0.9 1.15
[S] 0.3 0.3
Righteousness 1.8 2.3
Force burst 3.55 4.425
Totals (w/o [D] & [S]) 25.6 32.6
+5 Holy burst Gbane Avg Old
2d4+5 10 12.5
[D] 1 1.25
[S] 0.6 0.6
Holy burst 8.05 9.8
Greater bane 10.35 13.725
Totals (w/o [D] & [S]) 28.4 36.025
Lit 2 Falchion Avg Old
2d6+5 10.2 15
[D] 0.85 1.25
[S] 0.6 0.6
Holy 3.85 6.65
Electric burst 3.575 4.975
Electric blast 2.35 2.35
Lightning strike 4.575 8.6925
Totals (w/o [D] & [S]) 24.55 37.6675
+5 Holy burst (vorpal) Avg Old
2d4+5 8.5 12.5
[D] 0.85 1.25
[S] 0.6 0.6
Holy burst 7 9.8
Vorpal bane 12.7 18.3
Totals (w/o [D] & [S]) 28.2 40.6
Epic Sword of Shadows Avg Old
5d6+10 38.5 42.625
[D] 1.4 1.55
[S] 0.9 0.9

As we should expect the eSoS sees the smallest reduction while the holy burst vorpal and greensteels are the most effected.  Because we are still (erroneously unless our character has a +10 seeker bonus) assuming all critical hits are confirmed [S] does not change.

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).

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  1. […] most powerful weapons, and discusses Armor Class, in his latest “Building Blocks!” Click here to read […]

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