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I bore of the savagery of combating my many adversaries, so I should like to outsource this chore to my tankard. By casting tiny servant on a single object (ie. my tankard) and presumably other spells, etc., how much damage would it be able to do?

  • Metric: total average damage over three rounds dealt by the tankard. Assume area-of-effects hit two targets. Otherwise, targets can be assumed to within any particular reach or area. Damage must be reasonably applicable and not contingent of environment, ie. pushing things of cliff edges does not count.

  • Any amount of setup time allowed, with the obvious limitation of tiny servant having a duration of 8 hours. The tankard also has the benefit of my actions on the first round (you may assume I am ahead of it in initiative; or any other particular order you wish) and my concentration during the whole time, but not my actions during the remaining turns.

  • 20th level character using official character options (eg. no UA), including multiclassing and feats.

  • Any magic items and boons are acceptable. As such my ability scores may be assumed to already be at their maximum of 30.

  • Magic items and other resources may not be permanently expended, ie. no use of potions, scrolls, finite charges, the use of the final charge of an item which may be destroyed if the last one is used, nor consumed material components of spells with a specified cost. (This also excludes the non-replicative mode of wish as it risks me being unable to cast the spell again.)

  • No assistance from others than me. The tankards proximity to me is up to the answerer to choose for their proposed strategy.

  • Assume foes have an AC of 20 and a save modifier and check modifier of +10. They have no resistances, immunities, nor vulnerabilities and do not exist (for our purposes) until the three rounds of initiative start. Due to their hubris, they will not attack the tankard. (You may also assume they do not attack any other creature involved, if relevant to the method.)

  • I should otherwise like the method to be target agnostic. There is a myriad of different creatures which have taken umbrage with me, so I can't have the method depend on (nor do I require it to account for) the creatures' type, (flying) speeds, resistances, shoe (or other) size, nor other properties.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I ask because I expect a lot of answers might want to use animate objects, but this seems mutually exclusive with tiny servant on a given target. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Feb 5 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson Except animate objects is 5th level, only lasts for a minute, and requires concentration. I'm having a hard time seeing how this would be preferable method for animating a single tiny object. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Feb 5 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ You appear to be set on making a fatal tankard, rather than a Fatal Glass of Beer. Is cold resistance a requirement? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 5 at 20:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are we allowed to polymorph the Tankard into a different creature entirely? \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 13 at 17:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm a bit confused by your final bullet point. Do you want answers to be able to take on any sort of monster, even ones with fly speeds or burrow speeds or anything of the sort? (I had assumed you meant that answers did not have to account for these things, but it seems a bit unclear) \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 14 at 17:41
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The highest average damage per round over three rounds that your tankard can deal is:

305.787

The Character

The character (let's call her Callie) to command the most dangerous tankard has the following classes:

  • Wizard 11------------------------------- (for alter self, conjure minor elementals, haste, magic jar, and Tenser's transformation)
  • Warlock (The Undying) 9 ------------ (for hold monster and death ward)

...and the following magic items:

  • a twenty-two card deck of many things
  • a robe of the archmagi
  • a rod of the pact keeper
  • an Ioun Stone of mastery
  • a belt of storm giant strength
  • a ring of air elemental command
  • a scimitar of speed
  • three javelins of lightning1

1 Credit to Medix2 for suggesting the javelins

Magic Jar

Firstly, Callie needs to be more proficient. A base proficiency bonus of +6 isn't good enough, so Callie has to take the body of a creature who is more generally proficient. This involves use of the magic jar spell, which lets her take the statistics of another humanoid, while keeping her class features.

She is looking for a humanoid of CR 21 or higher (to get a proficiency bonus of +7 or higher). Official options include:

  • Halaster Blackcloak
  • Quenthel Baenre
  • any ancient metallic dragon who has used Change Shape to assume one such form

Spell Glyphs

Then, we need to create a number of Spell Glyphs using glyph of warding. To avoid the material component cost, Callie will cast glyph of warding using the wish spell, but she still needs to cast the stored spell as well.

To gain access to wish...

  • Callie casts conjure minor elementals choosing 8 CR 1/4 or lower elementals (retrying if the spell summons chwinga since they can't speak).
  • Callie commands an elemental to repeatedly declare that they want to draw one card from the deck of many things (while Callie carries it, so that the deck itself won't be desroyed if the elemental draws the Talons card.
  • Eventually, the elemental will draw the The Fates card.
    • If the Donjon, Flames, Rogue, Skull, or The Void card is drawn, kill the elemental or let the elemental die and try again.
  • Callie commands the elemental to use The Fates to reverse a draw of either the Donjon, Flames, Rogue, Skull, The Void, Ruin, or Talons card.
  • Then, Callie repeatedly declares that she wants to draw one card from the deck of many things.
  • Eventually, Callie will draw the Moon card
    • If the elemental reverses a bad draw, restart with a new elemental.
  • Cast wish to replicate the effect of glyph of warding for a Spell Glyph with one of the following spells:
    • many counts of alter self
    • haste
    • Tenser's transformation
  • Repeat the whole procedure until you have ample Spell Glyphs.

The Tiny Servant

Then, Callie's need the ideal Tiny Servant (we'll call him Tim). This involves the following procedure:

  • Callie casts tiny servant on her tankard.
  • Tim activates one of the alter self Spell Glyphs gaining the proper anatomy in order to speak.
  • Tim repeatedly declares that he wants to draw one card from the deck of many things.
  • Eventually, Tim will draw the Moon card for 3 castings of wish.
    • If the Donjon, Flames, Rogue, Skull, or the The Void card is drawn, kill Tim or let Tim die and try again.
    • Callie will have to make more alter self Spell Glyphs if she exhausts them all before a successful Tim.
  • Tim attunes to the belt of storm giant strength, scimitar of speed, and ring of air elemental command
  • Tim wields the scimitar of speed and a javelin of lightning.

Combat Preparation

Now that Tim is ready, it is time to prepare for combat:

  • Callie casts death ward on Tim
  • Tim casts wish replicating the effect of an 8th level delayed blast fireball so that it will be on it's last 6 seconds of duration during Round 1.
  • Tim activates the haste, Tenser's transformation, and a new alter self Spell Glyph (in order to speak command words).

The Rounds

Round 1

Callie:

  • Casts hold monster at 6th level on two targets that are nearby one another.
  • Uses her bonus action each round to command Tim to take the listed actions.

Tim:

  • Touches the delayed blast fireball (which will trigger death ward)
  • Casts wish replicating the effect of an 8th level wall of fire placed in such a way that it will affect both targets, but not himself
  • Attacks with the scimitar of speed as a bonus action.
  • Hurls the javelin of lightning with the haste action so that it passes through one target to hit another.

Round 2:

  • Tim draws a new javelin of lightning.
  • Tim attacks with the scimitar of speed as a bonus action.
  • Tim hurls the javelin of lightning with the haste action so that it passes through one target to hit another.
  • Tim casts wish replicating the effect of an 8th level vitriolic sphere.

Round 3:

  • Tim draws a new javelin of lightning.
  • Tim attacks with the scimitar of speed as a bonus action.
  • Tim hurls the javelin of lightning with the haste action so that it passes through one target to hit another.
  • Tim casts chain lightning2 with the ring of air elemental command.

2 Credit to GcL for mentioning that chain lightning is superior to disintegrate against multiple targets

The Calculation

Hold Monster

To start with, it is impossible for any of the targets to succeed on the saving throw of hold monster.

  • Callie's spell save DC is 31
    • 8 (base) + 8 (+7 proficiency bonus from magic jar statistics +1 from Ioun Stone of mastery) + 10 (Charisma) + 2 (robes of the archmagi) + 3 (rod of the pact keeper)

Round 1

  • Delayed blast fireball deals 13d6 base damage and 10d6 ticking damage to both targets.
    • 23 * 3.5 * 2 = 161 fire damage
  • Wall of fire deals 9d8 damage to both targets.
    • 9 * 4.5 * 2 = 81 fire damage
  • Scimitar of speed deals 1d6 + 2d12 (Tenser's transformation) + 11 on a hit, or 2d6 + 4d12 + 11 on a critical hit.
    • 81.25% chance of a regular hit yields 11.78125 slashing damage and 10.5625 force damage.
    • 9.75% chance of a critical hit yields 1.755 slashing damage and 2.535 force damage.
  • Javelin of lightning deals 4d6 damage to one target and 5d6 + 2d12 + 9 damage to the other on a hit, or 10d6 + 4d12 + 9 damage on a critical hit.
    • 4 * 3.5 = 14 lightning damage
    • 74.25% chance of a regular hit yields 9.28125 piercing damage, 9.6525 force damage, and 10.395 lightning damage.
    • 9.75% chance of a critical hit yields 1.56 piercing damage, 2.535 force damage, and 2.73 lightning damage.
  • Wall of fire deals 9d8 damage to both targets.3
    • 9 * 4.5 * 2 = 81 fire damage

In Round 1, Tim deals an expected 323 fire damage, 13.53625 slashing damage, 25.285 force damage, 27.125 lightning damage, and 10.84125 piercing damage.

3 Credit to Medix2 for mentioning that wall of fire deals damage twice in Round 1 if Tim acts before the targets.

Round 2

  • Wall of fire deals 9d8 damage to both targets.
    • 9 * 4.5 * 2 = 81 fire damage
  • Scimitar of speed deals 1d6 + 2d12 (tenser's transformation) + 11 on a hit, or 2d6 + 4d12 + 11 on a critical hit.
    • 81.25% chance of a regular hit yields 11.78125 slashing damage and 10.5625 force damage.
    • 9.75% chance of a critical hit yields 1.755 slashing damage and 2.535 force damage.
  • Javelin of lightning deals 4d6 damage to one target and 5d6 + 2d12 + 9 damage to the other on a hit, or 10d6 + 4d12 + 9 damage on a critical hit.
    • 4 * 3.5 = 14 lightning damage
    • 74.25% chance of a regular hit yields 9.28125 piercing damage, 9.6525 force damage, and 10.395 lightning damage.
    • 9.75% chance of a critical hit yields 1.56 piercing damage, 2.535 force damage, and 2.73 lightning damage.
  • Vitriolic sphere deals 18d4 damage to both targets.
    • 18 * 2.5 * 2 = 90 acid damage

In Round 2, Tim deals an expected 81 fire damage, 13.53625 slashing damage, 25.285 force damage, 27.125 lightning damage, 10.84125 piercing damage, and 90 acid damage.

Round 3

  • Vitriolic sphere deals 5d4 damage to both targets.
    • 5 * 2.5 * 2 = 25 acid damage
  • Wall of fire deals 9d8 damage to both targets.
    • 9 * 4.5 * 2 = 81 fire damage
  • Scimitar of speed deals 1d6 + 2d12 (tenser's transformation) + 11 on a hit, or 2d6 + 4d12 + 11 on a critical hit.
    • 81.25% chance of a regular hit yields 11.78125 slashing damage and 10.5625 force damage.
    • 9.75% chance of a critical hit yields 1.755 slashing damage and 2.535 force damage.
  • Javelin of lightning deals 4d6 damage to one target and 5d6 + 2d12 + 9 damage to the other on a hit, or 10d6 + 4d12 + 9 damage on a critical hit.
    • 4 * 3.5 = 14 lightning damage
    • 74.25% chance of a regular hit yields 9.28125 piercing damage, 9.6525 force damage, and 10.395 lightning damage.
    • 9.75% chance of a critical hit yields 1.56 piercing damage, 2.535 force damage, and 2.73 lightning damage.
  • Chain lightning deals 13d6 + 40 damage on both targets.
    • 10 * 4.5 * 2 = 90 lightning damage

In Round 3, Tim deals an expected 25 acid damage, 81 fire damage, 13.53625 slashing damage, 25.285 force damage, 117.125 lightning damage, and 10.84125 piercing damage.

The three round average DPR for Tim is 161.667 fire damage, 13.536 slashing damage, 24.285 force damage, 57.125 lightning damage, 10.841 piercing damage, and 38.333 acid damage, totaling 305.787 damage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How do you address the issue where if the The Talons card is drawn before The Fates card is, you would lose the whole deck? \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Feb 11 at 20:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, the cards vanish after being drawn from the DoMT. This plan would require multiple decks and I think that runs afoul of the rule regarding not using non-renewable resources. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Feb 11 at 20:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical The cards don't vanish forever; they reappear in the deck: "Once a card is drawn, it fades from existence. Unless the card is the Fool or the Jester, the card reappears in the deck, making it possible to draw the same card twice." \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Feb 11 at 20:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical The familiar isn't the one wearing or carrying the deck (which is what the Talons card affects), Callie is. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Feb 11 at 20:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to see if there is some support for the supposition that you can draw from the deck without possessing it. This DM would consider your interpretation contrary to the intent, preferring to assume that when you draw you possess the deck for a brief duration to permit you to draw. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Feb 12 at 12:28
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Use Moonblades

The basic idea here is to use infinite damage moonblades to do infinite damage per hit. However, since our damage is limited by the hp of our opponents, this does not convert to infinite damage.

Step one-- change form

A tankard doesn't get multiattack and we can't easily give it levels in fighter. Ergo we must first change its form (probably via True Polymorph back into a regular tankard and then True Polymorph again into a CR 9 tiny monster and then again into the final creature, the second overriding the 'less potent' polymorph, and then itself being dispelled via Dispel Magic, but anything that replaces statistics can work) so that it gains multiattack. The best we can do appears to be three attacks via the Gladiator-- while the quadrone gets more attacks and they are with weapons they are only with bows while moonblades are longswords.

Moonblades only bond with elves and half-elves, so normally we'd have to change into an elf, attune the moonblade, and then change into our final form. However, since gladiators can be elven, we can just go straight to being an elven gladiator.

Form changing is allowed by your question, of course, but if you don't like it, just subtract two attacks per round from the final result and use the Fates card method in the 'improvements' section at the end-- the rest of the work will be the same.

Step two-- buff

We want buffs. Our main character will concentrate on Haste for us, cast Wish to duplicate the effects of True Seeing for us without the 25 gp component a round before the fight, and give us a Sanctuary effect on the first round. We will also be subject to Fire Shield (both versions), Hallow with Extradimensional Interference, Foresight, Freedom of Movement, Mind Blank, and Longstrider.

Additionally, we will be mounted upon a Broom of Flying, wearing attuned Claws of the Umber Hulk, assuming 'can't manipulate objects' is taken to mean 'can't Use an Object action' and not 'can't wield weapons, wear armor, consume rations, or otherwise do anything involving objects', and wearing an attuned Belt of Storm Giant Strength. Our Gladiator also is attuned to a dancing moonblade with infinite runes.

Our moonblade can store spells in it but there's nothing great 5th level or lower to put in it, I don't think, since we already have haste. Counterspell seems like a good choice.

Step three-- combat

On the first round we are well-protected against hostile immobilizing effects by our myriad defenses, especially Sanctuary. Once it is our turn we fly, burrow, or run over to the nearest enemy and Multiattack it with our dancing moonblade. We have advantage on the attack because Foresight, and with our belt and moonblade we have a total to-hit bonus of +15. We hit on a 5+, which is a 96% chance of success. We kill anything we hit with our infinite damage, dealing its hp in effective damage. We've now broken Sanctuary so enemies no longer have to make a DC 24 Wisdom save to do anything mean to us. We then continue moving to the next target, hitting it with a 96% chance of success as well. We do this again for our final attack of our multiattack, then for our Haste attack, then loose the weapon to attack with a bonus action via the dancing property, again with a 96% chance of success, using our free object interaction to pick it up again when it's done, positioning ourselves so that an enemy will, it its insane hubris, move right past us taking the shortest route towards the main character, thus provoking an attack of opportunity.

On our next turns, we continue to attempt to kill up to 6 enemies per round with a 96% chance of success each. We have advantage on any saves they might make us make, and protection (including retaliatory damage) if they give up on the whole infinite hubris thing and attack us. We can deal with flying, burrowing, invisible, ethereal, teleporting, and climbing creatures. We deal infinite slashing, fire, cold, acid, lightning, and thunder damage, so unless a creature is immune to all of those (e.g. because it is subject to an ongoing Invulnerability spell) it will take infinite damage on a hit and thus die.

We may have to adjust our tactics if the enemies prove especially problematic. For example, we can only go 40 feet underground per round so if there are only enemies underground and they are far enough apart we may not be able to get 6 in a round. We are immune to most control effects, but certain readied actions, like a readied wall of force or antimagic field could prove disastrous for us. If creatures ready such spells, we need to avoid them. Similarly, if a creature readies an action to grab our dancing weapon, we may need to kill that target normally to avoid risking a <4% chance we lose our weapon after it misses and their attempt to grab it is successful.

Assuming the creatures helpfully march forwards and let us kill them, though, we do an average of 96%*6*their average hp in damage per round.

Improvements

Swift Quiver is faster than a dancing moonblade, and we can cast it from spell storing, but it needs a weapon with ammo. Since gunblades aren't a thing in official 5e land, not even for absurd infinite damage moonblades, that means it is only better if the hardiest creatures around are going to be killed or almost killed by a +3 Oathbow.

If that 4% miss rate bothers us, we can improve it. A Boon of Fate on our main character takes no actions and can add 1d10 on a miss that isn't a 1, but we can only do it once in the fight. If we farm Fate cards, we need not miss so often. There's a 1 in 20 chance we get a Fates card from the deck per draw (2 cards are already permanently missing so we don't break the consumption rules), and a 1 in 6 chance we draw Fates before we have to use a safety Fate and retry. If we assume only one creature can draw per round, and that drawing takes an action, we on average draw something like 5 Fates an hour. The odds of getting at least 18 Fates (enough to ensure every attack hits) are very very very good.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure that turning the tankard into a gladiator means its still a tankard... Also why are you making the "tankard" defensive when "Due to their hubris, they (the enemies) will not attack the tankard." \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 13 at 17:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is step 1 true polymorph? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 13 at 17:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the firsst step (or any step, really) involves changing the tankard into something else for the duration of the fight, then it's no longer "how much can the Tankard do" it's "how much can the strongest beastie I can find in the MM do?" \$\endgroup\$ – RevenantBacon Feb 13 at 20:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Yes it is, but anything with a similar effect could also work (though I am unaware of anything) \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 14 at 17:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Gotcha, it may help to specify those mechanics in your answer just so it's clear how you achieve it. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 14 at 17:30

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