At what point is it statistically better to take Tavern Brawler over an increase to Str or Dex if 1/3 of all your attacks are made with an improvised weapon?

Example: A Thief rogue 4/Champion fighter 5, with 16 Dex.

You make two attacks a turn with the Attack action, and one (throwing an acid vial) with the Fast Hands thief feature:
Two attacks with dagger: +7 to hit 1d4+3 (6) If one of daggers hit assume sneak attack applies 2d6 (8) One attack with an acid vial: +3 to hit 2d6+3 (11)

Statistically, would it be better to take Tavern Brawler for all 3 attacks to be at +7 to hit?

Or should I put the ASI into Dex for two +8 to hit and +4 to hit?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Will the DM allow you to sneak attack with the acid vial? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruse
    Jan 26, 2019 at 6:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Haven't asked I was gonna build as if no and if she then allows it I have no qualms. In another campaign I'm in the dm allows it and it can get pretty crazy on damage especially with Elven accuracy. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 26, 2019 at 6:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought you could use Fast Hands to use an object,but not for an attack. Has that been clarified somewhere? \$\endgroup\$
    – Paul
    Jan 26, 2019 at 16:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/72270/…. That might help \$\endgroup\$ Jan 26, 2019 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


The two options for you are actually stunningly close, statistically.

Mechanically, Tavern Brawler is statistically better if you are fighting enemies with an AC of 18 or above, while the ASI is better for AC 17 or below. However, the difference never amounts to more than 0.4 DPR.

Link to statistical analysis: https://anydice.com/program/1343d

My analysis assumes that you are always attacking without advantage, but that sneak attack is always possible. If you have advantage on your first attack, you will likely be better off with the ASI. I also assume that you are not attacking with STR or that the +1 to STR/CON from Tavern Brawler would not round out your STR score to an even value.

Because these two options are so close in combat, it may be worth considering out of combat mechanics as well. Vials of acid are both costly and consumable, so they may not always be available. Additionally, putting an ASI into DEX would improve your AC, stealth, sleight of hand, and many other useful abilities.

On the other hand, Tavern Brawler does create many useful roleplaying opportunities.

tl;dr The two options are nearly identical in combat, so other abilities and character traits should be the basis of your decision.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks that's exactly what I was wondering and I was testing it with best of both in mind. Ie throwing vial but not having sneak attack tavern might be better. Whereas getting sneak attack and throwing oil would be in asi favor \$\endgroup\$ Jan 26, 2019 at 6:24

If we were to consider a a.c. 17 monster Taking tavern brawler for +7 on all three attacks would thus make it so you hit on a 10 or higher on d20 Meaning 11/20 sides on d20 would be a hit or 55% to hit for each attack The damage would be multiplied by .55 To all three attacks at total 17.5

Taking asi increase to dex makes the hit A 9 or higher on d20 for daggers 12/20 And 1d4+4 damage each. 13.2 Vial to hit +4 or 13 or higher on d20 8/20 2d6+4 damage (12) 4.8 Total 18

Increasing asi increases accuracy on dagger attacks and thus applying sneak when applicable Also increasing asi increases damage of all 3.

So in final if more than half of attacks are made with improvised weapons take tavern brawler. If more are made with normal weapon attacks take the asi.

Not sure if my math is correct but this is where I got equation How do you calculate average damage for DPR comparisons?

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    – V2Blast
    Jan 26, 2019 at 6:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh!! Sorry v2 >~< still getting used to this figured out how to bold stuff though!! \$\endgroup\$ Jan 26, 2019 at 6:33
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