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I'm new here, but I scrolled through and did not see this question answered. I would love to see your theory-craft at work!

What is the most damage you can do to a single opponent in one round, with spells of any class?

Rules:

  • I play RAW, so if you are going to use any UA please have a separate category for it. No 3rd-party stuff, please.

  • No setup round

  • Damaged from anything summoned counts, as long as it attacks on your initiative

  • No outside help; this is about you.

  • Target is not restrained, or vulnerable, or resistant, unless you find a way to make him that way.

  • No crits unless you have a way to guarantee them.

  • Assume that you automatically hit, and that creatures fail saving throws.. but bonus points if you can give reasons why you have a better chance at it.

  • The opponent is generic, so you can't tailor the spell to a specific monster for more damage.

  • Use any feat, including dragonmarks to get an epic boon...

  • Level max is 20 using any race, class, or combination of classes

  • Use any magic item (as many as you like)

  • Spells that include a weapon attack are allowed (like booming blade)

  • Flame blade or spiritual weapon are also allowed

  • This calculation is about what you can inflict on someone intentionally, so no reaction spells. However, damage that is done on the opponent's turn in the same round can be added like that from booming blade.

I can't wait to see what you guys come up with. I'll add my own as well!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also if you down vote, please let me know why...I'm new here and want to learn how to do it right. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Lacrumb Feb 5 at 16:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related question: "What is the most damage one can do with a cantrip in one turn?" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 5 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ I saw those but neither of them were the same as what I am asking. The important part to me is the use of spells, over melee and I didn't want to be limited to cantrips. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Lacrumb Feb 5 at 16:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, but maybe put in brackets that its a random effect usually, just so we know it when comparing calculations. I prefer finding ways to make sure I get the right outcome myself... But everyone is different, and thats the whole point of this. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Lacrumb Feb 5 at 17:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ -1: single-round damage optimization questions with poorly-considered constraints have been asked many many many too many times. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 8 at 9:33
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With perfect rolls, arbitrarily much

We need a 1st level Wild Magic sorcerer with the Boon of Spell Mastery epic boon (DMG p. 232). We choose one of our sorcerer spells that deal damage on a spell attack for that boon, let's say chaos bolt.

Our loop is quite simple. We cast our chosen 1st level spell without expending a slot using Tides of Chaos to gain advantage. Our DM has us roll of the wild magic surge table to regain the use of Tides of Chaos. We roll a 81 or 82 which lets us take one additional action immediately. We use this action to cast the 1st level spell again with all the above events.

We can repeat this loop until our target is dead, the dragons fall out of the sky, or our playgroup gets up and leaves.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ha! that's awesome, I hadn't thought of an infinite loop possibility. Good job! I wonder if there is an item or effect that helps you control the random elements, to make it a real certainty in game. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Lacrumb Feb 5 at 17:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you accounted for the PHB errata which states: "Once per turn, the DM can have you roll a d20 immediately after you cast a sorcerer spell of 1st level or higher"? \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Apr 26 at 6:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 *Stares angrily at the errata*. I have now, Tides of Chaos have no such pesky restrictions (yet). \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Apr 26 at 10:25
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With spells only, 80d6, for an average of 280 or maximum of 480 damage.

With the Boon of High Magic, 2 levels of Fighter, 17 or more levels of Sorcerer or Wizard, and the spell Meteor Swarm.

Step 1: Cast Meteor Swarm on the target 40d6 damage.

Step 2: Use Action Surge (from your 2 levels of Fighter) to gain a second action.

Step 3: Cast Meteor Swarm again (via the Boon of High Magic) for another 40d6.

Unfortunately, you can't add an extra spell into the mix with the Sorcerer's Quickened Magic metamagic option, because casting a spell as a bonus action would restrict the spells cast as actions to cantrips only.

If you're willing to include a weapon attack to force spell effects to trigger, 101d6 + 11d8 + 7, for 410 average or 701 maximum damage (plus other non-damaging effects).

This is going to involve 3 levels of Fighter (Battlemaster), 17 levels of Wizard, 20 Strength or Dexterity, a Scimitar of Speed, the Boon of High Magic, the Pushing Attack battlemaster maneuver, and the spells Prismatic Wall and Thunderwave.

Step 1: Cast Prismatic Wall immediately behind your target (consuming your first 9th level spell slot).

Step 2: Use Action Surge to gain a 2nd action.

Step 3: Cast Thunderwave on your target at 9th level with the Boon of High Magic. They fail the save, taking 10d8 thunder damage and getting pushed back 10 feet through the Prismatic Wall.

Step 4: Watch your target make 7 Dexterity saving throws as they are pushed through the wall, taking 10d6 damage of various types for the first 5 layers of the wall, and possibly being petrified or banished on the last 2.

Step 5: If your target is still alive and non-banished, use your movement to walk through the wall and position yourself so that the target is between you and the Prismatic Wall again.

Step 6: Use your bonus action to make an attack with the Scimitar of Speed, dealing 1d6 + 7 damage.

Step 7: When the attack hits, add the Pushing Attack maneuver, dealing an additional 1d8 damage and pushing the target back through the Prismatic Wall (if they fail their save, which we're assuming they do).

Step 8: Watch the target go through another 7 Dex saves.

Note that this is predicated on forced movement activating the Prismatic Wall's effects, which is supported here, and the target must be Large or smaller for the Pushing Attack maneuver to effect it.

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Goblin: Fury of the small +20 damage

Lv 17 wizard Evoker, Lv 2 Fighter, lv 1 Warlock Hexblade

Feat: elemental adept (goes through damage resistance)

Feat : dragon mark, epic Boon high magic (+one 9th lv spell slot)

Magic Item: ring of 3 wishes

Start of Turn

Round 1 Action: cast time stop

(Timestop Round) 0.1 Action: wish, glyph of warding set Scorching ray (2d6 x9) set to go off verbally (no action)

(Timestop Round) 0.2 Action: wish, glyph of warding set Scorching ray (2d6 x7) set to go off verbally (no action)

(Timestop Round) 0.3 Action: hold monster (breaks time stop) for x2 crit

Round 1 Bonus: Hex curse +6 x 24

Round 1 Surge: Scorching Ray Lv 7 slot. 2d6 x8

Round 1 Free action: Set off glyphs of warding verbally.

Overchannel : Spells do max damage

Fury of the small +20dmg

Evoker +5

Critical hit x2 on all rolled damage from hold spell.

745 Min 745 Max

745 Avg

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please could you edit this to be a bit clearer? I'm not sure I understand exactly what's going on. \$\endgroup\$ – DM_with_secrets Apr 26 at 11:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay - I'm just finding it very difficult to read when compared with the other answers \$\endgroup\$ – DM_with_secrets Apr 26 at 22:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Cleaned it up a bit. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Lacrumb Apr 28 at 23:17

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