29
\$\begingroup\$

In a recent D&D game, I believe a member of the party was able to make six attacks during his turn (I actually lost count, so it might have been 5-7). Other characters seemed able to consistently manage to make 4 attacks a turn even without Haste or using an Action Surge.

Next time I create a character, I'd like to try to maximize the attacks it can make. So I'm wondering, given all the options, what is the absolute maximum number of attacks a character could make in a single turn (and how)?

To clarify, all possible effects are allowed (magical items, spells cast by other characters, natural character abilities, etc), assuming they are allowed to stack.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ What level is the party? Those numbers seem kinda high. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jun 15 '17 at 17:33
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Szega we all should have been level 5. The numbers do seem high, but I was/am a beginner still, so I took their word for it. \$\endgroup\$ – DaaaahWhoosh Jun 15 '17 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd like to point out that the area of his cube should be 4x4x4 not 5x5x5 for the accepted answer \$\endgroup\$ – Voromir Kadien Feb 24 '18 at 5:42

10 Answers 10

34
\$\begingroup\$

Under the DMG Diagonals variant (DMG 252)

  • 55 attacks against ground-based Medium-sized enemies

  • 175 attacks against flying Medium-sized enemies

  • 181 attacks against tightly-packed, ground-based, Tiny-sized creatures

  • 661 attacks against tightly-packed, flying, Tiny-sized creatures

Under the default rules for movement

  • 63 attacks against ground-based Medium-sized enemies

  • 263 attacks against flying Medium-sized enemies

  • 213 attacks against tightly-packed, ground-based, Tiny-sized creatures

  • 1013 attacks against tightly-packed, flying, Tiny-sized creatures


Build: Hunter Ranger 11/ Fighter 2/ Sorcerer 6

  • Ranger's features: Horde Breaker, Volley

  • Sorcerer's features and spells: Quickened Spell, Scorching Ray, Haste

  • Fighter: Action Surge

  • Feats: War Caster, Magic Initiate (Eldritch Blast)

  • Caster Level: Eleven (5 from Ranger, 6 from Sorcerer)

The Ranger is carrying all the weight here. Let's break it down.

  • Action: Volley. "You can use your action to make a ranged attack against any number of creatures within 10 ft of a point you can see within range." In a grid, this means you can choose a space as the center, and count two spaces from there to the up/down and left/right directions. This forms a cross that is 5 squares tall and 5 squares wide, which already contains 9 squares. If we count the diagonals as well, we can cover the tiles to the northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest of the center square; we can also get the "Knight squares," or the ones you can reach by going two squares in one direction and one square in the perpendicular direction. There's 4 of the first and 8 of the second, adding up to 21 squares in total that is within range of your Volley. This counting rule uses the DMG Variant in DMG 252 where diagonals are measured as 10ft every other square, and 5ft otherwise; without the variant, we can cover 25 squares.

    • Side Note: If you went up against packed Tiny-sized enemies, each 5ft x 5ft area can fit 4 creatures in 2 dimensions. This means a single Volley would allow 84 attacks (100 without the variant).

    • Side Note 2: If they are flying Tiny creatures and the center point was in the air, and we were able to cover a full sphere, a sphere with a 10 foot radius can contain 81 cubes, or 324 flying Tiny creatures. You can work this out by 3D symmetry: all the cubes in a larger 3x3x3 cube are in range of Volley, and 9 cubes on top of each face of the larger cube would also be in range due to the diagonal movement rule (and there are 6 faces); without the variant, we are looking at a 5x5x5 cube, for a total of 125 cubes in range. Against flying Tiny creatures, we can reach 500 of them this way.

  • Horde Breaker: after you make your first attack, you can attack a different creature within 5 feet of the first attack's target. This is one more attack.

  • Action Surge: Use Volley a second time, adding 21 more attacks.

  • Haste Action: Make one more attack.

  • Bonus Action: Quickened scorching ray at level 6. At this level, scorching ray will make 7 attacks.

  • Reaction: Trigger an Opportunity Attack with War Caster and cast eldritch blast, adding a further 4 attacks.

Final Notes

  1. You cannot replace the Sorcerer levels with a ring of spell storing, or else you cannot cast scorching ray as a high level bonus action.

  2. You don't need a spellcasting focus, as scorching ray and eldritch blast require only VS, and not M.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ And the enemy has to be bunched up. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 15 '17 at 20:25
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Great answer! Half of these tactics are things I wouldn't even consider. Something that might be worth adding: you are currently doing three kinds of attacks here: ranged, melee weapon, and spell. Firing a ranged weapon doesn't use up your "interact with an object", but drawing a spell focus will (and you can't have it drawn when you were attacking with a ranged weapon since you need 2 hands for that). So by my count, you'll need to be attacking with your spell focus. So It might be worth noting that you'll need a spell focus that doubles as a weapon, like a staff. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Jun 17 '17 at 20:25
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme Scorching ray and eldritch blast are VS spells, no M components. So, a spell focus is not necessary here. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Aug 16 '17 at 5:44
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ page 251 DMG "Choose an intersection of squares or hexes as the point of origin of an area of effect." (emphasis mine) this means your cube is 4x4x4 not 5x5x5. \$\endgroup\$ – Voromir Kadien Dec 25 '17 at 9:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why not cast scorching ray at level 5 instead of eldritch blast as your reaction? This adds 2 more attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – AntiDrondert Apr 2 at 10:19
43
\$\begingroup\$

GRAND TOTAL: 12 ATTACKS**

**This is based on a single class build with a standard attack scenario of enemies(or against a single BBEG/foe). The 12th attack does require some help to activate.

A 20th level Fighter-Samurai with the following abilities/buffs would get:

  • Standard Attack Action: 4 Attacks
  • Action Surge: 4 Attacks
  • Bonus Action: 1 Attack (this could be from a variety of sources, assuming one has been chosen)
  • Haste Buff: 1 Attack
  • Rapid Strike: 1 Attack(would need advantage on an attack in order to exchange advantage for 2 attacks)
  • Reaction: 1 Attack (Would need to set this up with another party member)

Examples of Bonus attack sources

Bonus Actions

  • Dual Wielding
  • Great Weapon Master
  • Polearm Master

Reactions (pick one!)

  • Opportunity Attack provided by another character holding a Readied Action to cast Dissonant Whispers on your turn when you attack.
  • An attack could also be provided by a Battlemaster Fighter using Commander's Strike.
\$\endgroup\$
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, after looking it up I think the six-attack guy I referred to was using the Polearm Master feat with Haste, and by the sound of it he wasn't doing it right. \$\endgroup\$ – DaaaahWhoosh Jun 15 '17 at 18:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – inthemanual Jun 15 '17 at 18:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ The reaction could be a normal attack, if triggered by a Battlemaster Fighter using Commander's Strike. Of course, said battlemaster is giving up one of his attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Dec 5 '18 at 20:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Samurai sub class of fighter can get 1 more attack assuming they can get advantage during their turn. \$\endgroup\$ – OmniOptic88 Mar 9 at 3:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OmniOptic88 Thanks! Added :) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 22 at 16:47
23
\$\begingroup\$

Infinity.

As always with this sort of question, it's difficult, but there's no limit to the number of attacks you can make in a single turn. Use Shapechange or True Polymorph to turn into...a hydra! The hydra's multiattack works like this:

Multiattack. The hydra makes as many bite attacks as it has heads.

And its heads work like this:

Whenever the hydra takes 25 or more damage in a single turn, one of its heads dies. If all its heads die, the hydra dies.

At the end of its turn, it grows two heads for each of its heads that died since its last turn, unless it has taken fire damage since its last turn. The hydra regains 10 hit points for each head regrown in this way.

So just find some way to kill heads over and over again, as well as some way to heal yourself so you don't die from your HP total reaching 0, and your number of attacks will be limited only by the time it takes you to grow more heads.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 15
    \$\begingroup\$ That's not infinite attacks. That's an arbitrary number of attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – DvdZee Jun 16 '17 at 6:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Wraithguard Yep. That's why, in the body of the answer, I don't use "infinite" or "infinity". \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Jun 16 '17 at 6:38
  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ Replace Infinity with Unbounded and this answer is fully correct (even the title!) \$\endgroup\$ – Yakk Jun 16 '17 at 14:40
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Mandatory OotS (Though that is for 3.5, I think.) \$\endgroup\$ – Paŭlo Ebermann Jun 16 '17 at 18:55
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ To all those complaining about terminology here: the maximum number of attacks you could make in a single turn is infinite. There is no cap on the number of attacks you theoretically could make in a single turn, so “infinite” absolutely applies to the maximum. You will never actually make infinite attacks this way, but your theoretical maximum is nonetheless infinite. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 15 '18 at 21:30
5
\$\begingroup\$

Grand total, 17 Attacks

This answer assumes that you are hoping be able to use this tactic against a single enemy, using a character that has the form of a playable race, and that you want all of your attacks to be able to add your Ability modifier to damage.

Full credit to NautArch, whose answer I've already upvoted, as mine is similar to his.

I'm pretty sure you meant "weapon attacks" when you said "attacks". But if you meant spell attacks, then a Sorcerer/ Warlock/ Fighter build will give you some options. Consider the following:

Level 20 character, with 2 levels in Warlock (for Eldritch Blast and the Agonizing Blast invocation), 2 levels in Fighter, and the remaining levels in Sorcerer. The build will also require the War Caster Feat, and would benefit greatly from the Crossbow Expert Feat. Every casting of Eldritch blast at level 17 or higher allows you to make 4 separate attacks. This will result in:

  • Standard Action: Eldritch Blast 4 attacks
  • Bonus Action: Quickened Eldritch Blast 4 attacks
  • Action Surge: Eldritch Blast 4 attacks
  • Haste Action: Draw and throw knife: 1 attack
  • Reaction: War Caster - Eldritch Blast as Opportunity Attack 4 attacks

This adds up to a total of 17 attacks once per combat (Action Surge only once in this build), or 13 attacks on other rounds. Of course, the Opportunity Attack will be hard to set up (See NautArch's answer for how this could be done), and all 4 of those Reaction attacks would need to target only the creature that triggered the attack. Still, Quickened Eldritch Blast is notable in allowing a character to turn a bonus action into the equivalent of a full action Extra Attack.

Crossbow Expert will not give you any extra attacks in this system. But it is quite important, because if you are gaining an Opportunity Attack in this scenario, then an enemy is likely within 5 feet of you for a lot of these attacks. Crossbow Expert will keep you from having to make most (if not all) of these attacks with disadvantage.

Small side note: if you desperately wanted all 17 attacks to be made with your best attack attribute (20 Charisma), then you could go for Warlock 3, Fighter 2, Sorcerer 15 (rest of the build unchanged), and Variant Human race to get the Crossbow Expert Feat. This would allow you to gain Shillelagh as a Warlock spell through the Warlock Invocation "Book of Ancient Secrets". You could use a staff as a focus for casting, and having cast Shillelagh on a previous round, could use your Haste attack to make a melee attack with the staff, using Cha as your attacking ability.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If you've got useful information you'd like to stick around, put it in your post -- comments can + will be removed. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 17 '17 at 20:24
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If you cast a spell as a bonus action, you can't cast a spell as a reaction in the same turn. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Jun 18 '17 at 1:04
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ You can't cast a spell that has a casting time of "1 Reaction": PHB page 202 says "You can't cast another spell during the same turn, except a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action". Eldritch Blast is a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action. So it's debatable whether using a Reaction to cast it wouldn't follow RAW. (Note that a "spells casting time" and the amount of time it takes to cast that spell in certain contexts can be different: for example, a spell cast with the "Ready" action must have a "casting time of 1 action", but it takes 1 action and 1 Reaction to cast in that context. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Jun 18 '17 at 2:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ By the way @Miniman, I'm up-voting your comment, because I honestly hadn't considered that point. I may edit my comment after doing more research. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Jun 18 '17 at 2:05
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ If a spell is a cantrip and a casting time of 1 action, you can cast it in the same turn. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Jun 18 '17 at 2:35
3
\$\begingroup\$

21 attacks

This is self-sufficient and you are still the one making the attacks, unlike in @Voromier Kadien's answer. It also doesn't require enemies to be conveniently clumped up as in @user27327's answer.

Build: Fighter 2, Sorcerer 17, Monk 1. Edit Removed Warlock 1, as a Quickened cantrip precludes the use of non-cantrip spells that turn.

Pre-combat: Haste, self-cast.

Action: Scorching Ray cast at level 9, giving you 10 attacks (3 base + 1/level above 2).

Action Surge: Scorching Ray cast at level 8, giving you 9 attacks.

Haste action: 1 attack with unarmed or monk weapon.

Bonus Action: Unarmed attack given by Martial Arts Monk ability.

If an enemy leaves a threatened space, you can also spend your Reaction to make an unarmed attack again for an additional attack (bringing the total up to 22). However, this isn't under your control, so I didn't add it to the calculation.

Bonus points if you have a spellcasting ally or Bracers of Haste to cast Haste on you, thus freeing you up to Hex the target beforehand. Might as well take advantage of all those attacks and dish out an extra 21d6 damage ;).

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Great idea to use Scorching Ray for many attacks. But note that if you cast a spell with at bonus action, you cannot cast any other spells other than cantrips with casting times of 1 action this turn (see PHB, p. 202). So that would mean you have to choose between casting leveled spells with your actions and a Quickened Spell with your bonus action. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Dec 5 '18 at 21:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's not quite the rule, but you're correct - you can't cast a spell of first level or higher as both an action and a bonus action in the same turn, but nothing stops you from using the second action from Action Surge to cast another spell of first level or higher. Since you have to choose between casting a single Scorching Ray with bonus action or two as actions, casting two of them is definitely the correct choice for max attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – DoctorLucky Dec 6 '18 at 22:25
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ PHB says "A spell cast with a bonus action is especially swift. You must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell, provided that you haven't already taken a bonus action this turn. You can't cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action." So when you Quiken a spell, you automatically force any other spells you cast that turn to be cantrips. Many play this incorrectly and assume you can cast a normal spell then quicken the cantrip but this is not RAW. \$\endgroup\$ – OmniOptic88 Mar 9 at 3:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ As others have pointed out, your action economy is wrong. Moreover, Bracers of Haste are not a magic weapon in 5e. Perhaps you are thinking of the Potion of Speed? \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Mar 10 at 8:47
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @OmniOptic88 Huh. Yeah, you're correct - seems like a weird way for it to work, but RAW that's correct. I'll edit the post to correct that, thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – DoctorLucky Mar 11 at 0:00
2
\$\begingroup\$

I'm not sure if this is the absolute highest possible, but a 20th level dual wielding Fighter using Action Surge can make 9.

Using the Attack action is 4, using Action Surge for another Attack is another 4, and your bonus action for an off-hand attack.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ It's not the absolute highest, because a 20th level dual wielding Fighter under the haste spell (boots, potion, scroll, friendly buff) can do one more attack :) \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Jun 15 '17 at 17:47
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The Haste spell could even be cast by the Fighter him/herself, if the Fighter is an Eldritch Knight. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Jun 17 '17 at 19:47
1
\$\begingroup\$

Truly infinite, but only if: Tunnel Fighter (UA: Light, Dark, Underdark!) Fighting Style and Feats are allowed for your campaign.

Combine it with Sentinel feat, a polearm, and Polearm Master feats. The result is that properly positioned the character can hold off a horde of enemies and have opportunity attacks against them all, all the time instead of just once per turn. Whenever they come into your reach or try to leave it. Best corridor warden, preferably in full plate.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ These attacks do not occur on your turn though. \$\endgroup\$ – AntiDrondert Dec 6 '18 at 7:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ They can, if the enemy moves on YOUR turn. There are opponents like in modules which can move/act every time they are being attacked, which would result the described variables to also take effect on your own turn. As there is nothing that specifically denies you to have opportunity attacks on your own turn what I wrote above still applies during your turn just as it does during that of other creatures. \$\endgroup\$ – Drake Apr 1 at 23:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, but you should explain that in your answer because it is not immediatelly obvious. For your "truly infinite" answer to be correct, you need to explain where all these opportunity attacks are coming from. Afterall, a typical horde of enemies is going to run out of space and movement long before you make infinitely many opportunity attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Apr 4 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point, will edit the answer later with that in mind. \$\endgroup\$ – Drake Apr 4 at 18:01
1
\$\begingroup\$

Technically, 39 attacks

The Build

Fighter 2 / Bard 17 who learned scorching ray, swift quiver and contingency via the Magical Secrets feature and has War Caster.

The Setup

Somehow acquire two 9th level scorching ray scrolls and a Potion of Speed.

Cast contingency with a 5th level scorching ray and the condition "when I expend my 9th level spellslot". Yes, the rays will target me, but the attacks still technically take place.

Cast swift quiver, quaff the Potion of Speed, and end my turn while holding one of the scrolls and a bow.

The Turn

  • Action, 10 attacks: read the 9th level scorching ray scroll.
  • Action Surge, 10 attacks: take out and read the other 9th level scorching ray scroll.
  • Hasted Action, 1 attack: take the Attack action to attack with the bow once.
  • Bonus Action, 2 attacks: utilize the swift quiver buff to attack with the bow twice.
  • Reaction, 10 attacks: utilize War Caster to cast a 9th level scorching ray instead of making an opportunity attack.
  • Contingency, 6 attacks: blast myself with the effect of a 5th level scorcing ray.

Realistically, 23 attacks

In a realistic scenario, I wouldn't want to to squander my gold on consumables, I wouldn't want to blast myself, and no opponent would trigger an attack of opportunity during my own turn, hence:

The Build

Fighter 2 / Bard 17 who learned scorching ray, haste, swift quiver, and contingency via the Magical Secrets feature.

The Setup

Acquire the boon of High Magic.

Cast contingency with haste and the condition "when I intentionally loose concentration on swift quiver".

Cast swift quiver.

The Turn

  • Action, 10 attacks: cast a 9th level scorching ray.
  • Action Surge, 10 attacks: cast another 9th level scorching ray via the boon of High Magic.
  • Bonus action, 2 attacks: utilize the swift quiver buff to attack with a bow twice.
  • Contingency: intentionally loose concentration on swift quiver to trigger the effects of haste.
  • Hasted Action, 1 attack: take the Attack action to attack with a bow once.
\$\endgroup\$
-1
\$\begingroup\$

4924

Build

A bugbear ranger 11/fighter 2 with a bow and a glaive as well as the polearm master feat and the tunnel fighter fighting style.

Ranger 11 - volley:

You can make a weapon attack against every creature within 10 feet of a point you can see.

This covers 9×9×9 tiny flying creatures =729 attacks.

Tunnel Fighter

While in your defensive stance, you can make opportunity attacks without using your reaction.

Polearm Master

While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, quarterstaff, or spear, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

Your reach is 15 feet (+5 from bugbear, +5 from glaive) which covers 14×14×14-8 tiny flying creatures = 2736 opportunity attacks.

Action Surge You can take 2 actions on the same turn

Horde Breaker Once on each of your turns when you make a weapon attack, you can make another attack with the same weapon against a different creature that is within 5 feet of the original target.

Scenario

You are flying and about to be surrounded on all sides by a horde of tiny flying creatures.

You then ready a volley (729) for when one of them gets too close.

You also have the tunnel fighter fighting style and use your bonus action to enter a defensive stance.

After firing you volley they all sound you triggering the 2736 opportunity attacks.

Now your turn begins, you take the volley action, then you take it again with action surge. That's another 729*2=1458 attacks.

Total

Reaction volley - 729
Opportunity attacks - 2736
Action volley - 729
Action surge volley - 729
Horde Breaker - 1
= 4924

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 4 at 9:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that the question asks for the most attacks in one turn, not in one round. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Apr 4 at 17:26
-5
\$\begingroup\$

25 Attacks

Fighter 20 (samurai)

If the situation is there, you need a way to gain haste and be dual wielding, then you have the ability to forgo advantage and add one additional attack as part of your attack action once per turn. After that use Action Surge to gain 5 more attacks. If on that same round you are knocked down to zero HP, you instantly gain another turn (not an action, but a full turn) which you repeat the same turn previously taken. Finally you need a way to use your reaction in that round.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take out tour to learn more about the site. Much of this answer is unclear to me, and I'm fairly sure it doesn't quite work within the rules. Not to mention the original question requests the highest number of attacks in a single turn (so taking another one with Strength Beyond Death doesn't work). Lastly, Strength Beyond Death in itself requires your reaction, so making an opportunity attack would be impossible. If you could elaborate on the rest of your answer (ideally by quoting the relevant parts of the rulebook), I'd love to see what your answer provides. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 22 at 16:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.