In the PHB p.107 on Pact of the Blade boon it is stated:

You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it (see chapter 5 for weapon options). You are proficient with it while you wield it.

Why would I ever choose a "low" damage weapon, compared to a Greataxe (for example) with its 1d12 damage? I'll be proficient with whatever weapon I choose, anyway.


1 Answer 1


There's no reason to deliberately choose low damage weapons, but there are plenty of weapons that might be better than a greataxe sometimes:

  • the two-handed sword deals more damage on average than the greataxe (2d6 is more than 1d12)
  • you might be fighting something that cares about your damage type -- for example, a skeleton is vulnerable to bludgeoning damage, so you should prefer a maul which deals 2d6 bludgeoning
  • you might be underwater and want a piercing weapon
  • you might prefer a reach weapon sometimes, despite the lower damage
  • you might be on a horse, and want a lance
  • you might have a Dexterity-based character who prefers a finesse weapon
  • you might want to make a ranged attack, and a thrown melee weapon will do that
  • you might need a one-handed weapon (for two-weapon fighting, or for sword-and-shield fighting, or if you need a hand for climbing, etc.)
  • \$\begingroup\$ 2d6 isn't "more" than 1d12, it's a different statistical distribution where you'll get values "around the average" more often than extreme ones \$\endgroup\$
    – Boulash
    Apr 22, 2018 at 16:12
  • 39
    \$\begingroup\$ @Boulash The expected value of 2d6 is 7; the expected value of 1d12 is 6.5. So 2d6 is, on average, more damage. It has a somewhat lower chance of rolling the highest numbers, but it also has a much lower risk rolling less than the lowest numbers, and that more than makes up for it. 1d12 is only better in situations where you need to roll 10 or better and if you don’t, it doesn’t matter how much you’re short by. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 22, 2018 at 16:20
  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ @Boulash 2d6 averages out to slightly more, because you can't roll a 1. Over time, that means you will do more damage. On top of that, it's more reliable, because of the skew towards values around 7 rather than a flat distribution, which means you're less likely to be screwed by a bad roll at a key moment. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 22, 2018 at 16:22

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