# What does the first number represent in the damage section of some monster/NPC attacks?

I understand most of what each number represents, but monster/NPC statblocks often have a number in the damage section before the damage roll in parentheses. For example, for a Sahuagin Priestess (MM, p. 264), one of her attacks looks like this:

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) piercing damage.

What does the 3 in "3 (1d4 + 1)" mean?

• Welcome to the site! Take the tour for an easy badge. Great first question. I edited it a tiny bit to fit in with the site (for example, you don't need to put the game system in the title). Look forward to seeing you around! Sep 20, 2018 at 21:25

## It represents average damage

The Introduction to the Monster Manual discusses how to read the damage of attacks in the stat block:

Hit. Any damage dealt or other effects that occur as a result of an attack hitting a target are described after the “Hit” notation. You have the option of taking average damage or rolling the damage; for this reason, both the average damage and the die expression are presented.

The average result of 1d4 + 1 is 3.5, which rounds down to 3.

• So as the person being hit, always take the average? (since it's rounded down) Sep 21, 2018 at 8:10
• @Hobbamok no, only if the DM does not want to roll Sep 21, 2018 at 8:56
• I feel it is to help speed things up, it saves the DM having to roll dmg every time for every mob. Sep 21, 2018 at 18:45

# The 3 is the average damage.

Some DMs prefer to save time by using average damage instead of rolling every time. The average is calculated as you'd expect: ([min damage] + [max damage]) / 2, and then rounded down. In the case of your example, this results in (2 + 5) / 2 = 3.5. The 3.5 is then rounded down to 3 to get the average damage.

That 3 represents the average value of the damage roll; i.e. on average if you roll 1d4+1 you'll get 3. It's for simplicity's sake and you can use it if you want less randomness as a DM.

The 3 is the average damage done by her bite (rounded down). Inside the parentheses is the formula for rolling damage.

1d4 (one four sided die) + 1: For possible values of 2-5. (2+5)/2 = 3.5.

Depending on the size of the encounter, you may choose to use average damage instead of rolling damage for every instance.