If something says I have a bonus to damage rolls does that number get applied to the number on the dice or to the damage after the roll?

I was looking at the Hexblade's Curse feature which says I gain a +3 bonus (my proficiency bonus) to damage rolls. From reading that it sounds to me like it would apply to the number on the dice, adding 3 to whatever I roll up to the maximum (so if I rolled a 6 on a d8 I would add 2 to get to 8 but the last bit would be lost). This also matches up with what I thought I heard in the last campaign I played. But then I looked at the Improved Pact Weapon feature which says the weapon gets a +1 to damage rolls and on the DDB character sheet it treats it as bonus damage not a bonus to the roll. So which way would I apply this?

In response to the duplicate vote that question is asking about hitting a target in the first place. I'm not asking about that. I'm asking about the bonus to damage rolls.


You simply add the roll and the bonus together

Each weapon, spell, and harmful monster ability specifies the damage it deals. You roll the damage die or dice, add any modifiers, and apply the damage to your target. Magic weapons, special abilities, and other factors can grant a bonus to damage.

Damage Rolls, Player's Handbook, pg. 196

There's no language indicating that the damage must not exceed the maximum value of the die or dice, which is what your alternate interpretation seems to be based on. It simply instructs you to add the roll and the modifier together.

So if you were to roll a 1d8+3, rolled a natural 6 on the die, the total damage would be 6 + 3 = 9, with no capping of the damage due to exceeding the value that can appear on the die.

The Hexblade's Curse feature is not an exception to this rule either:

You gain a bonus to damage rolls against the cursed target. The bonus equals your proficiency bonus.

Hexblade's Curse, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, pg. 55

In this context, "Damage Rolls" is meant to reference the platonic concept of damage rolls as described in the section I previously quoted. It's not meant to explicitly describe individual die rolls; and even if it did, there's no language here to suggest that it should cap at the die's maximum value.

  • \$\begingroup\$ my reasoning being it says a bonus to the roll which sounds to me at least like it would affect the number shown on the die not the total if that makes sense \$\endgroup\$ – Himitsu_no_Yami Sep 30 '19 at 18:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Himitsu_no_Yami The passage quoted by Xirema above specifically mentions a bonus as a type of modifier in the 3rd sentence. (Bonuses and penalties are also both mentioned as types of modifiers in the rules for attack rolls.) \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Sep 30 '19 at 18:26

The damage roll includes all of the damage dice and any bonuses. This feature is just adding a bonus. so whether your roll 1 die or 100, you would add 3 to the total

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Sangheilioz. This answer is correct but it would be good if you could cite the relevant section of the rules about making an attack that confirms this for completeness' sake. See our help page about how to write a good answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Sep 30 '19 at 17:48
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Your answer looks like it's mentioning the number of dice which isn't my question. "1 die or 100". The question is more of "Do I add this number to the number on the die up to the die's maximum or do I add this after what's on the die" \$\endgroup\$ – Himitsu_no_Yami Sep 30 '19 at 17:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.