How can I calculate the optimal amount of attack bonus to give up when using Power Attack?

The Power Attack feat lets you sacrifice attack bonus (AB) to increase your damage.

It’s easy to see that you don’t always want to give up the same amount of AB, and that the optimal amount (assuming you’re trying to maximize your expected damage output) depends on multiple factors. Consider the following two degenerate cases where it’s easy to see that the optimal choice differs:

  1. If your opponent’s AC is so much higher than your AB that you will only ever hit them by rolling a natural 20, then you clearly want to sacrifice the maximum possible amount of AB, since it won’t affect your chance to hit at all (5% in any case), and maximizing your Power Attack damage will result in more damage if you do roll the natural 20.
  2. If your foolish DM has granted you the legendary +Graham’s Number Sword of Munchkinry at level 1, then you clearly don’t want to use Power Attack at all (unless you’ll only miss on a natural 1), because your base damage is so high that even a 5% decrease in your chance to hit will utterly dwarf any piddly damage you get from sacrificing your 1 BAB.

In between these silly cases, though, I’m not sure how to determine the best amount of AB to sacrifice when using Power Attack. It’s not even clear to me what information I need to do so, though I think it includes some or all of the following:

  • The attacker’s AB
  • The defender’s AC
  • The attacker’s BAB (because it’s the maximum amount of AB they can subtract)
  • The number of attacks the attacker is making (if they’re making a full attack)
  • The amount of damage the attack(s) will do on hit
  • How much damage the attacker gains per point of sacrificed AB (e.g., 2 points when using a 2-handed weapon instead of 1 point for a 1-handed weapon)
  • Whether the attack could crit, and its crit stats (range/multiplier) if so

Given this sort of info, how can I calculate the amount of AB to sacrifice to Power Attack that maximizes my expected damage output for the round?

A couple notes:

  • I will happily upvote partial solutions (e.g., ones that only apply to a single attack without considering iteratives, or ones that ignore crits for simplicity’s sake)
  • Ignore considerations that require you to know how close to death the defender is. I’m happy with answers that naively maximize the expected value of my damage output against an idealized combat dummy with infinite HP. Accounting for the desire to maximize the probability of dealing lethal damage against low-HP opponents is, I think, too complicated, and beyond the scope of this question.
  • Ignore the Shock Trooper feat for purposes of this question; obviously if you’re giving up AC for damage instead of AB, it’s a risk/reward judgment call, not a case where there’s an objectively optimal value.

How exactly Power Attack and critical hit works together?

I tried to follow the rules and check FAQs but now I need a help:

I got a 13° liv THF (two-hand fighter) and 6° liv Aegis (BAB=19) and 5° Mithic tier, with Power Attack and Mithic Power Attack (but not obviously Greater Power Attack) and 34 Strenght+Brawn (+12 mod), here are damage stats as I supposed:

    12x1.5= 18(THW)      +3(Weapon Training)      +6(Weapon Specialization+2, Greater+2, Mithic+2)      +4(Magic Weapon mod)      +3(Improved Damage from Astral skin customization)      +1(Psionic Damage from Astral skin customization)      +1(Psionic Weapon feat) and      +24(Power Attack,Mithic) = 60 for first attack and 66 for iterative (due to Backswing) 

Now the question is: Whats happens with a critical hit on each point? – I’ve found many question and I read not enough answers about it so I fall in chaos each critical hit (no more a great pleasure but a trouble)-.

and then another question regarding Power Attack and Critical hit is:

Whats happens at 15° liv (for THF archetype) and Power Attack change to Power Attack, Greater ?


Can a warlock willingly limit the use of its magic power? [closed]

A warlock’s pact magic spell slot levels power up by character level in DnD 5e.

Must I burn the whole warehouse by using Burning Hands or can I limit range and power? Essential question if wood and straw are surrounding me.

Some cantrips power up by character level too. But when I want to weaken a target and spare it for later interrogation, can I limit my use of cantrips or warlock spell slot power to a lower degree, or decide to use only one of up to four eldritch blast beams? Any official rules for this?

P.S: I don’t wanted to kill the kobold, I just struggled…with the dagger in my hand!

How should Duergars enlarge power and Squeezing into cramped spaces interact?

The actual RAW rule for the Duergar’s enlarge is:

Enlarge (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). For 1 minute, the duergar magically increases in size, along with anything it is wearing or carrying. While enlarged, the duergar is Large, doubles its damage dice on Strength-based weapon attacks (included in the attacks), and makes Strength checks and Strength saving throws with advantage. If the duergar lacks the room to become Large, it attains the maximum size possible in the space available.

So, in abbreviated form, I see these effects while enlarged:

  • Status Change: Size is Large.
  • Benefit: For Strength based attacks, double the base weapon damage dice.
  • Benefit: Advantage on Strength checks and Strength save.
  • Special Condition: If not enough room to become Large, becomes maximum possible size instead.

It is this last point, and especially how it interact which with the 3 others, that we are confused about.

Also, here is the rule for cramped spaces:


A creature can squeeze through a space that is large enough for a creature one size smaller than it. Thus, a Large creature can squeeze through a passage that’s only 5 feet wide. While squeezing through a space, a creature must spend 1 extra foot for every foot it moves there, and it has disadvantage on attack rolls and Dexterity saving throws. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage while it’s in the smaller space.

Given the situation as detailed in my question above (i.e. duergar decides to enlarge while in a 1 square wide corridor i.e. a 5 feet wide corridor), what should actually happpens, as per RAW?

[A] There is not enough space for the Duergar to actually enlarge to Large size, so the Duergar remains Medium size. Thus, as a Medium creature, it is not Squeezing into a Smaller space. Also, given that it is not Large, it doesn’t get it’s other Duergar enlargement’s damage and Strength benefits.


[B] The duergar enlarges somewhat to the maximum possible for Medium creatures, becoming noticeably larger but still "barely under" the limit for actually becoming squeezed (kinda like how a Goliath is still a Medium creature but still has a much bigger "build" anyway). But, as there is not enough space for the Duergar to actually truly enlarge to Large size, thus the Duergar remains a Medium size creature. Thus, as a Medium creature, it is not Squeezing into a Smaller space. However, the Duergar still gets all of his other bonuses from his enlargement (weapon damage and strength advantage), because those benefits are dependent upon the activation of the enlargement power, not on the duergar effectivey really becoming Large size.


[C] The duergar enlarges to Large size because it is possible for him to do so anyway: "it attains the maximum size possible in the space available" meaning that it is indeed posssible for a Large creature to exist in a 5-feet wide tunnel, despite the cramped conditions. Thus, the "maximum possible" to exist there is not "Medium", but it is instead "Large + squeezing". Not only does the duergar gets all of his bonuses from being enlarged, but it is also now Squeezing into a smaller space.

So, which is it? DM + players each have their own ideas on how to resolve this, seemingly on opposite ends of the spectrum. We argue the duergar should become squeezed as in [C], thus getting the penalties. Aka "This is really a bad dungeon design for them, all the rooms and corridors where there could be any battle should instead be made to take advantage of their Large size in combat instead". DM is the complete other way as you will see below.

Of course the DM ultimately decides, but we wanted to know what the actually RAW ruling is because a lot more duergars are going to be fought over the next few sessions, we have just entered into a huge dungeon and that dungeon is really seeminggly going to be a big dungeon crawl full of tiny tunnels and tiny rooms, full of duergars all the way to the bottom level.

But it actuallly goes further than even that.

The party is actually good at being fast & sneaky, so the PCs can relatively easily surprise the duergar while they are in a tiny room, to immediately enter the room and position ourselves so that the duergars simply do not have any free 10×10 feet area for them to easily become fully Large size. So, what happens then, when the duergar go into enlargement?

[D] Exactly the same thing as in the 5-feet wide tunnel above (either [A] or [B] or [C]). The PCs are treated as much as "solid obstacles" as the walls are. That is the players’ opinion on things.


[E] As the duergar enlarges, it also automatically pushes away any PCs into nearby empty spaces. The player decides which way he is pushed back (this is not a Shove Action made on purpose, after all), with a Strength Save to try to resist the push (duergar ability DC being 8 + 2 Proficiency + 2 STR = DC 12). If pushed and the only way to be pushed back is right into a hole, the PC falls, with a DC 12 Dex Save allowed to hang onto the ledge. This is a "middle ground" approach we tried to negotiate.


[F] Same as E, however since the enlargement is "magical" in nature, it pushes back so strongly that it is the duergar’s space that always takes priority, forcing PCs to be the ones pushed not only backways but even sideways too. Basically it works EXACTLY like a free multi-target Shove that is always automatically succesfull, without any opposing resisting check. So in other words it is the duergar who chooses which way we get pushed, even to the point of being forced to end up with 2 or more PCs forced into the same space. Thus, not only does the duergar end up with zero penalty for cramped space, but it is the PCs that end up being the ones that are all squeezed up! And if 3 or more PCs are forced into the same space, they get squeezed so much so that they automatically fall Prone, can’t attack at all, and have to Crawl to get out of the "body pile", provoking an Attack of Opportunity in the process. That is the DM’s stance.

The DM retroactively said that that dungeon has lots of small tunnels and rooms on purpose: he actually built that duergar-built "fortress dungeon" fully with "Interpretation F" in mind.

Also, the DM made the duergar enlarge power "free" to use and not an "Action" to use. Basically, duergar can grow enlarged and immediately attack on their same turn. Monster Manual however seems to say otherwise? Anyway, that dungeon is full of very deadly traps that the perma-invisible duergars (they constantly short rest all day long to keep invisible, because you can somehow maintain your Concentration fulll time during a short rest?) just enlarge at exactly the right moment in order to auto-shove us into ridiculous damage traps (up to acid and lava pits and non-lootable vorpal wall blades and also "mordenkainen disjunction" traps), with of course being allowwed to make an attack too (making falling into a pit trap, or taking the trap’s weapon damage a second time "as you get whacked all around inside the swift moving blades of the trap even more", becoming a neear certainty (DM makes the save DC based on the total damage they deal). Basically: Big Ouchie.

While a DM is allowed to run his campaign as he sees fit, he also insists that he is applying the rules "by the book", so… as per RAW, is he really in any way in the right here? Please help?


Greater Power Attack

I’m using a 14th liv two-hand fighter with 5 Mythic tiers that allow him to add the Mythic Feat: Power Attack (Mythic) to Power Attack. When a two-handed fighter makes a full-attack with a two-handed weapon, his damage roll with Strength 32 (mod +11) so reach:

11 x 1.5 = 16 for the first strike and 11 x 2 = 22 for all attacks after the first (due to Backswing) and adding Power Attack: (without consider other feats or abilities or weapon)

11 x 1.5=16 + 4.5 (or 9, or 13, or 18 if using Power Attack maximum) for the first strike and 11 x 2 = 22 + 4.5 (or 9, or 13, or 18 if using Power Attack maximum) for all attacks after the first (due to Backswing)

And what’s happen when he reaches 15° liv and gain Greater Power Attack?

from the text I understand: 11 x 2 =22 + 4.5 (or 9, or 13, or 18 if using Power Attack at max) for all 4 attacks

It’s all correct?

Thank you

Interaction between Telemechanics and a Glitter Boy Power Armor, what would happen?

A Mind Melter finds a functioning and unattended suit of Glitter Boy Power Armor. The Mind Melter decides to use Telemechanics on it in order to pilot it.

The Glitter Boy OCC states that non GB pilots can only operate the suit at a Basic level of proficiency while GB pilots default to the Elite proficiency. However, the Telemechanics power states that a Psionic can operate any machine at 80% scholastic skill expertise… but not which skill specifically, and all skills seem to be lumped under "scholastic" as per the general description in the Skills section.

The Mind Melter gets into a Hand to Hand fight while piloting the Glitter Boy and using the Telemechanics power.

Does the Mind Melter use the Basic as per the GB OCC description, the Elite skill somehow, the 80% "scholastic skill" as per the Telemechanics power (and if so, which skill does that translate as), or something else?

In short, what happens… and what level of proficiency does the Telemechanics power result in for the Mind Melter in Hand to Hand combat in the Glitter Boy?

How to create a mermaid using Spheres of Power?

Spheres of Power and its related splatbooks recently came under the valid books my RPG group is allowed to use.

The system is quite something, and far different from anything I have ever used in Pathfinder. So far, I’m liking it quite a lot, and my group is having a blast building characters with those new options in mind.

One of the players wants to RP as a mage-like character that happens to be a mermaid. Her plan is to emulate this "mermaidness" not by picking a different race, but by using the feats Transformation and Hybrid Transformation. (Check this link for details on them.)

Transformation says:

Benefit: Choose one (transformation) Alteration sphere talent that does not cost a spell point. If you choose Anthropomorphic Transformation and are humanoid or of a similar body plan, choose one other (transformation) or (body) talent to use when choosing traits to be granted by Anthropomorphic Transformation.

As a full-round action, you may assume the form of a single creature whose type corresponds to this form talent per the shapeshift ability of the Alteration sphere as a supernatural ability.

The same creature (wolf, spider, treant, etc.) is mimicked and the appearance of that creature is retained each time. The chosen form may be the same as your base size or else Medium or Small, applying size change bonuses and penalties as appropriate if this is not your usual size. When assuming your chosen form, you gain the chosen size. This transformation lasts until you choose to revert to your original form as a full-round action.

You gain all the abilities granted by this form (movement modes, natural attacks, special abilities, etc.) but do not gain any traits from the Alteration sphere as part of this transformation. Treat your Hit Dice as your caster level for the purposes of this effect. This is a polymorph effect. Possessing this feat gives you the shapechanger subtype.

So, from reading this, transformation could be used to, for example, transform her mage into a fish, dolphin or similar creature if she picked "Aquan Transformation". She couldn’t transform into a mermaid, however, since the Aquan Transformation doesn’t have limbs besides a head and a tail by default.

Hybrid Transformation grants a few new options.

Benefit: When changing into a form granted by the Transformation feat, you may instead assume a hybrid form, blending your base form and your transformation form. This cannot be used if your transformation form is already similar to your base form, such as a humanoid using Anthropomorphic Transformation.

When in hybrid form, you gain all limbs, natural attacks, special abilities, and movement modes from your transformation form, but without changing your basic shape nor melding your equipment. You may choose to retain limbs and movement speeds from your base form if your transformation form lacks them or has lesser versions, such as a humanoid keeping arms when assuming a hybrid form based on Serpentine Transformation or Vermin Transformation, adding legs to Aquan Transformation, or a winged creature retaining its wings under Animalistic Transformation.

If your transformation would grant you additional legs, you may instead gain them as arms, although they do not grant any additional attacks, are not strong enough to gain any natural attacks, and may not assist in wielding weapons, activate magic items, or wield a shield. They may hold items and as a swift action you can use them to draw a sheathed or hidden weapon, don a shield, retrieve a stored item, load a crossbow, open a door, pick up an unattended item, sheathe or store an item, or take other non-offensive actions involving manipulating objects. Items do not automatically merge with the new form if it is capable of wearing them, but the size of the items does not change if they do not resize on their own.

From our reading from it, if one can add arms to a Vermin or Serpentine transformation, or legs to an Aquan Transformation, one can deduce that it is possible to put arms on an Aquan Transformation, thus emulating the desired mermaid form as many times and as long as she wants during the adventuring day.

However, since I’m extremely unfamiliar with spheres of power, I have no idea if I’m missing something.

Is this strategy legal? Is it possible to create a mermaid-like character by picking up those two feats?

Does the target of a grab-based power remain grabbed after the attack?

From my understanding a grab-based power involves the following:

  1. The user spends a standard action to make a grab attack on the target.
  2. The target can resist the grab as per the normal grab action rules, using Strength or Dodge.
  3. If the target fails to resist the grab he then needs to resist the normal effects of the power (for example toughness for a damage power)

My question is whether this grab attack that is made as part of using the power is supposed to be an actual grab attempt that remains in effect if the target fails the grab resistance check or merely an additional resistance check that must be overcome that is based on grabbing rules.

(New to DND/Roleplaying) How to better RP A character struggling for power from an evil entity?

As stated I am fairly new to the game and have roughly six sessions under my belt in our campaign and two one shots and a guest appearance on another campaign. Mechanically I understand the game but I am fairly new to roleplaying….and clearly didn’t consider that before designing my first character. I won’t lie and say I made the character after understanding how the game worked…however our DM was very open to homebrewing something fun for me.

My character is a female half elf Hexblade Warlock. Brief backstory summary is her family and lineage is cursed for using magic in search of power. Saya (my character) was forbidden to use magic from birth in fears of the curse, she naturally uses magic and becomes interested in it. Her parents are killed by the fiend that cursed them for trying to stop her from using the magic that makes it more powerful blah blah blah flavortown. Her sword at some point in her search for this fiend become imbued with his power unbenounced to her. During a hard fight as she went down a voice appeared in her head as she blacked out asking if she wanted to live and have the power to do so. subconsciously she agreed (making her pact with the fiend and becoming a hexblade) she awoke with small horns (homebrew for later) frightened by then she hides them with a witches hat she finds in town before meeting with the rest of the party, keeping them hidden from the party.

Saya is NOT an evil character. The FIEND however IS. Her homebrew properties are her horns, they are designed around a custom wild magic table our DM made for her. There are 10 levels to the table increasing every time she rolls the level number or lower on cantrips or spells. Anytime this happens a random wild magic event tailored around her happens….as well as her horns growing an additional inch. Each time the fiend slowly gains power as Saya has to fight it off, eventually losing control temporarily or possibly permanently becoming feral and attacking anything in sight (including the party)

Now my question is….being new to roleplaying, how should I go about this journey? It is a struggle for power between her and fiend, the closer she gets to 10 the more….evil? I feel she will become before snapping. It is already a challenge for me to have picked a female character ( I am male) but to have also made a character with seemingly split personality issues as my first character.

note the rest of the group is VERY talented at roleplaying so I am trying extremely hard to do my best at this and want to be as interesting as possible with how amazing all of the other players are.

Thanks in advanced!