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I was allowed to buy a +2 flaming dagger in my D&D campaign, but my DM doesn't know exactly how much damage it does. He said he would try to figure out later, but I want to get ahead of the game.

How much damage does a +2 flaming dagger do?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What is your character's strength? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 31 '17 at 20:46
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1d4 +2 +1d6 +Strength modifier

A +2 flaming dagger sized for a Medium creature deals an amount of piercing or slashing damage equal to 1d4+2 plus the creature's Strength modifier. It also deals an additional 1d6 points of fire damage that is not multiplied on a critical hit.

This damage is calculated from...

  1. A dagger's base damage (1d4 piercing or slashing for a Medium creature) as noted in the Equipment chapter. A dagger for a Small creature (such as a halfling) deals 1d3 points of damage instead.

  2. The dagger's enhancement bonus (+2). Magic weapons add their enhancement bonuses to attack and damage rolls. This is noted in the rules for magic weapons.

  3. The flaming special ability that adds 1d6 points of fire damage.

  4. A creature adds its Strength modifier to damage rolls of melee weapons. This damage bonus is halved if the weapon is wielded using an off-hand during two-weapon fighting.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So if I had just gone for +1 flaming I would've gotten a dagger that does 1d4 (dagger dmg) + 1d6 (for flame) + 1 for modifier? \$\endgroup\$ – Jgerber Oct 30 '17 at 15:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jgerber click the green check mark next to the answer if you want to accept it. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyritie Oct 30 '17 at 16:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jgerber The difference between +1 and +2 is 1 extra damage. This is about the same as changing the dagger's damage dice from 1d4 to 1d6. In addition to that, you get +1 to hit rolls, which means you have a +5% chance of doing damage to most enemies. (Assuming you can hit the enemy on a 19, but can't hit them on a 2) \$\endgroup\$ – Patrick M Oct 30 '17 at 18:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Pedant: Dagger's "size" is worth mentioning. \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Oct 30 '17 at 22:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nedlud On average, an increase in die size increases the average or expected value from the die roll by half the die size increase. So 1d6 is, on average, equivalent to 1d4+1. 1d4+2 has the same average as 1d8. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 1 '17 at 14:17
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A +2 flaming dagger, assuming it is made for a Medium creature, has the following sources of damage:

Damage Damage Type2 Bonus Type1 Source
1d4 piercing or slashing — (not a bonus) Base weapon damage
variable bonus3 (P or S) — (untyped) Strength
+2 bonus3 (P or S) enhancement Weapon enhancement5
+1d6 fire — (untyped) Flaming special property

These sum together to get\$^4\$ \$1\text{d}4+Str+2+1\text{d}6\$, where \$Str\$ is your Strength modifier whatever it is. Of that, \$1\text{d}4+Str+2\$ is piercing-or-slashing damage, while the final \$1\text{d}6\$ is fire damage (you may have to break it up between the damage types when dealing with damage reduction or energy resistance).

Some things to note here:

  1. Bonuses can be typed or untyped. Typed bonuses do not stack with others of the same type, so the +2 enhancement bonus would not stack with other enhancement bonuses, e.g. from greater magic weapon.

  2. Damage is also typed (and sometimes, rarely, untyped). These are separate from bonus types, and do not affect stacking. So if you had fire damage from some other source, it would stack with the 1d6 fire damage from flaming.

  3. When a bonus is added to a damage roll, and no damage type is given, this number just increases the damage you are already doing, and so has the damage type of the original damage roll. Hence the +2 enhancement bonus (enhancement is a bonus type, not a damage type) as well as the bonus from Strength increase your weapon’s damage, which is piercing-or-slashing.

  4. This ignores any other bonuses or penalties you may have, for example, from two-weapon fighting (halving the Strength bonus if the dagger is in your offhand) or Weapon Specialization (another +2 untyped bonus to damage, so 2 more piercing-or-slashing damage).

  5. The +2 enhancement on the weapon itself not only applies a +2 enhancement bonus to its damage rolls, as indicated here, but also provides a +2 enhancement bonus to your attack rolls with it, as well. This is probably more valuable than the damage bonus, though to be honest neither is very valuable and optimizers usually prefer to leave enhancement bonuses at the minimum +1 and get special properties like flaming or frost instead.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Adding lines between the three rows (1d4, +2, +1d6) would make the table much easier to understand. I'd do it myself, but markdown table code is scary. \$\endgroup\$ – SPavel Oct 30 '17 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SPavel I tried it, but it looked really cluttered and difficult to read to me. You can try it by putting \hline at the end of each line (after the \\), if you’d like to play with it. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 30 '17 at 18:45

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