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I've seen a lot of questions about how many Attacks a player character in 5e can make in a single round, but I'm curious about what formula is used to simply calculate how many weapon attacks a character can make per turn.

I'm making a (non-commercial) homebrew-based character sheet that uses a lot of formulas from 5e, but I can't find this one anywhere. It seems like a complex one. Level 1 characters have 1 attack per turn, and go up to 2 at level 5.

So, in short, how does the number of weapon attacks per turn scale with level in 5e, and are there differences between classes?

Thanks.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Reminder: just answer the question rather that putting up trial balloons in the comments or correcting misconceptions in the comments. An answer doesn't have to slavishly answer a question literally; our mandate is to solve the problem in the best way. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 21 '18 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a copy of the players handbook? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 21 '18 at 21:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question may be bordering on this kind of question addressed in this meta. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 21 '18 at 21:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I think this is more than dangerously close. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Mar 22 '18 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri I am trying to not be hasty. (Had dinner with an ent last night) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 22 '18 at 13:38
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The general number of attacks is 1 per Attack Action. There is no formula depending on the level.

Specific rules allow this to be overwritten. For example the Fighter class gets a class feature that's called "Extra Attack" and says:

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

The number of attacks increases to three when you reach 11th level in this class and to four when you reach 20th level in this class.

Some other classes have such a class feature, too. This is how these classes get more attacks.

Another option is Two-Weapon Fighting to get a Bonus Action that is independent of your Action:

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you’re holding in the other hand. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative. If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it.

Furthermore you can make an Opportunity Attacks to get another attack with your Reaction (not on your own turn though):

In a fight, everyone is constantly watching for a chance to strike an enemy who is fleeing or passing by. Such a strike is called an opportunity attack. You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach. To make the opportunity attack, you use your reaction to make one melee attack against the provoking creature. The attack occurs right before the creature leaves your reach. You can avoid provoking an opportunity attack by taking the Disengage action. You also don’t provoke an opportunity attack when you teleport or when someone or something moves you without using your movement, action, or reaction. For example, you don’t provoke an opportunity attack if an explosion hurls you out of a foe’s reach or if gravity causes you to fall past an enemy.

Spells could theoretically change this, too. The spell Booming Blade, which you would cast with the Cast A Spell Action instead of the Attack Action for example says:

As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a weapon against one creature within the spell's range, otherwise the spell fails.

In this case it would be 1 attack again, but with the Cast A Spell Action, not with the Attack Action.

The spell Haste for example targets a creature

[...] and it gains an additional action on each of its turns. That action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object action. [...]

This would give you another single weapon attack on your turn.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you not get an OA in the (rather convoluted) event that someone moves out of your reach on your turn? They might have readied a move with a trigger like "when a PC attacks". Add Tunnel Fighter and some very stupid enemies you could potentially get unlimited attacks on your turn. \$\endgroup\$ – Pilchard123 Mar 22 '18 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pilchard123 That's very convoluted and would require the enemy to have unlimited HP and movement to constantly trigger Tunnel Fighter every 5 feet of Movement. But anyway, this question was about a formular for finding the amount of attacks per turn depending on character level, which is pretty far off from the rules. My intention was to clear up that misunderstanding and to list the most common and important aspects to consider, not to discuss every half-cheesy way in the books to get more attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Mar 22 '18 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough; the Tunnel Fighter thing was rather cheesy even for my tastes. I was just wondering whether it would be worth mentioning that you can use your reaction for an OA on your turn if the enemy moves in a manner that would trigger it. Currently it reads like you can't take an OA on your turn. \$\endgroup\$ – Pilchard123 Mar 22 '18 at 22:12
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It depends on the class

Each class is different in the number of attacks they can make when they take the Attack Action at various levels. You can find this by checking each class's feature table, looking for the term "Extra Attack".

Fighters gain an extra attack at each 5, 11, and 20. Paladins, Rangers, and Barbarians gain an extra attack at 5. Bladesinger Wizards and Valor Bards gain an extra attack at 6.

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It is not based on a formula

It is based on class, sub class, and class abilities. Beyond that, it is based upon a situation and some other game mechanics that are bound to the action economy. What you'll need to do is open the players handbook, go to each class table and check, from level 1-20, where the "extra attack" feature is listed. While for most martial classes the extra attack comes at level 5, there are a number of variations on that based upon:

  1. Whether or not a character has a bonus attack
  2. Whether or not a character has access to an opportunity attack/reaction
  3. Whether a spell (such as haste) or an invocation (a Warlock ability) offers another attack.
  4. And then there's the valor Bard, whose extra attack comes at level 6.
  5. What class the character is playing (Fighters keep getting more extra attacks at levels 11 and 20, but other classes don't have that benefit).

What you are looking for isn't there.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Bladesinger also gets extra attack at 6 like valor bard \$\endgroup\$ – inthemanual Mar 22 '18 at 18:42

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