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I'm converting the characters for my party from D&D4E to D&D5E, and I have a question about the Cleric (level 1).

He has a Dexterity of 8, and also has a Light Crossbow (which he is proficient with). The attack roll when he uses the crossbow should then be +1 (+2 proficiency -1 dex mod), and the damage roll should then be 1d8-1. Is this correct ?

Does a negative modifier (Strength/Dexterity) also apply to the damage roll ?

The rules just state that the modifier has to be added to the damages, but there is nothing specified for negative modifiers.. (that why I assume it should be 1d8-1). It does look a but weird, though.

From the Basic Rules (p. 75):

When attacking with a weapon, you add your ability modifier—the same modifier used for the attack roll— to the damage.

PS: I know the crossbow is not the first thing a Cleric should use so this is not a critical issue.. but still, I'd like to know how the rules work for this situation :-)

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Yes, you add add the negative modifier.

There is nothing that says not to, and the modifier is a factor. You might be wise however, to state that the minimum damage is 1. It seems awfully silly for you to get a hit, and roll a 1 and do no damage at all.

Might I recommend a simple thrown weapon so as to use his (probably much higher) strength score? Perhaps a javelin or a handaxe?

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He's already playing a Cleric (i.e. god-mode). No need to make things any easier on him. –  Mark Bessey Aug 9 at 0:37

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