23
\$\begingroup\$

My character is a level 5 ranger and can do on average 50 or so damage per round. I have the Venomous Bow and and some basic bane toxin. The bow has the following relevant traits:

Poison Generation. This weapon creates a mild poison that can be applied to ammunition fired. A creature hit with ammunition applied with this poison must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw at the end of your turn. On failure, they take 5d6 poison damage and are poisoned for 10 minutes. On success, they take half that damage and are not poisoned. If poison is applied to ammunition, it lasts for 1 hour, after which it is harmless. The poison is automatically applied to the ammunition fired unless the creature attuned to this weapon spends 1 hour with a Poisoner's Kit to stop the generation.

Potent Poison. Poisons applied to ammunition fired from this bow cause the target to make the saving throw against the poison at disadvantage.

And the basic bane poison is an injested or injected poison which does:

A creature subjected to this poison must succeed on a [DC 25] Constitution saving throw or take 21 (6d6) poison damage. Once applied, the poison retains potency for 1 minute before drying. This effect ignores all resistances and immunities.

Most of the other players in my group are doing about 10 damage per round and I was wondering if I am doing an unrealistic amount of damage. I have also been doing about 30 damage to monsters that have 15 HP, and my DM has said that when my arrow hits the monster, that the monster melts in half. So am I doing too much damage, or is this normal for a 5th level Ranger?

\$\endgroup\$
5
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I would suggest adding how you get 50 damage, and let us know what other classes are in your group and what items they have. You for example have 2 non-standard homebrew items, so usual balance concerns are already right out the window. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Mar 5 at 23:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you @Someone_Evil for the edit. I was kind of worried that I was doing too much damage. Just to put into comparison on of the other players in my group has an Absorbing Shield which can cast disintegrate twice a day, so I think that my DM likes giving us cool magical weapons. As well, he also has us fighting hoards of 20-30 CR 1 monsters each session. \$\endgroup\$
    – Consus
    Mar 7 at 2:59
  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ Highly relevant: Why does dandwiki have a poor reputation? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7 at 3:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your related question: Can I use Basic Poison on an arrow with this Venomous Bow magic item to create a double-poisoned arrow? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 7 at 16:27
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Ignoring how incredibly unbalanced those homebrew items are; how are you affording 500gp per shot for the Basic Banetoxin at level 5? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8 at 15:43

4 Answers 4

72
\$\begingroup\$

You are doing wildly too much damage.

A ranger's damage shouldn't be out of line with the other characters. While some classes and weapon choices hit harder than others, it shouldn't be more than 20% or 30% higher, let alone three to five times the damage. So how is this happening?

Well, you should be able to see for yourself by asking how much of that damage is coming from anything in your class description or base weapon damage, and how much is coming from poison.

I can see at least three weird things going on here.

First off, that weapon is way too good for you. Magic weapons of the "very rare" rarity should be showing up in the 11th-16th level range. Your first Very Rare item may show up between levels 5 and 10, but it'll be what Xanathar's Guide refers to as a "minor" item -- an expendable item or non-combat magical tool, like a potion of speed or a portable hole. "Very Rare" weapons are the province of high level play and can be extremely unbalancing at lower levels.

Second, always be very suspicious of homebrew magic items. While the rarity system is imprecise and often outright wrong as it is, this weapon is far stronger than any Very Rare item. The Poison Generation quality alone is much better than most very rare weapons.

For example, look at Frost Brand and Flame Tongue. It's often said that these two had their rarities switched (I won't go into the analysis of why), but this Venomous Bow is better than both of them put together. Even on a success, the target of a Venomous Bow takes half of 5d6, or 9 extra damage. Consider that -- worst case scenario, your target takes extra damage from the poison effect alone that's equal to your other party members' total damage per turn, and that doesn't even consider a failed save!

And fail they will, a lot more often than the DC suggests, since the bow is also giving them disadvantage on the save. But the party doesn't stop there because they also become poisoned, taking disadvantage on attacks for the rest of the fight. The fact that the author refers to this poison as "mild" makes me instantly doubt their judgement.

Third, leaving aside the question of whether you can even apply two poisons to an arrow at once, that Bane poison is also crazy. It's vastly superior to almost every official poison; even if the dice are slightly smaller than the very worst the DMG has to offer, the save is enormously higher, and somehow Bane poison ignores resistance and immunity so you can even poison a stone golem. Whatever, that's broken beyond belief but I won't even get into it.

In general, one of the major balancing factors of poison is that it's a one-shot effect (or three, if it's arrows). By giving you powerful poison that comes out with every single shot, yes, you're doing way too much damage. It would be too strong even if it was just basic Serpent Venom on every shot. The fact that it also gives disadvantage on the save and cripples anyone who survives the hit means you're just a one-man show at this point. That item is insane and your DM should already know that just by watching you play the game.

\$\endgroup\$
52
\$\begingroup\$

D&D Wiki is notorious for overpowered fan-created content.

D&D Wiki (dandwiki.com) is infamous for fan-created game content with two major issues: it is often wildly overpowered, and it is often mistaken for official content. This is an example of the former.

The Venomous Bow has multiple abilities, each of which is powerful in itself:

  • Every shot fired by the weapon deals 5d6 bonus damage (average 17.5 damage) or half that on a save (average 8.75).
  • Shots inflict poisoned status, which gives the enemy disadvantage to attacks for the rest of the combat.
  • The enemy saves against this poison at disadvantage.
  • The user also has immunity to poison damage.
  • The user also has poison kit proficiency, or doubles their existing proficiency.

Compare this to other standard D&D items:

  • The Dagger of Venom (rare) is a +1 weapon which generates poison. It takes an action to enable the poison. The poison damage is 2d10 (average 11), no damage on a save. The poison only works once, and can only be used once per day.
  • The Periapt of Proof against Poison (rare) gives you immunity to poison to poison damage.
  • The Flame Tongue sword (rare) deals +2d6 damage on every hit (average 7).
  • A +3 weapon (very rare) adds +3 attack and damage, so you hit and deal damage approximately 15% more often, and all your damage that does hit is 3 points higher. Since you say typical damage in your group is 10 points, a +3 weapon in this scenario would give about a 45% increase in damage output.

The Venomous Bow, even if your enemy makes their save, is dealing 87.5% more damage on average, or 175% more damage if they fail their save. The CR5 bulette has +5 Con and will fail a DC 14 save with disadvantage 64% of the time, approximately two thirds. Overall, that works out to an average of 143.5% more damage than usual.

In other words, you have an extremely overpowered fan-made magic item which is, effectively, more than doubling your damage output. This, as you have noticed, is far too powerful. A "very rare" item is generally too powerful for a level 5 character, and this item is too powerful even compared to standard "very rare" items.

The basic bane poison should also cost hundreds of gold pieces per shot, which isn't practical for anything but occasional use. By standard rules, serpent venom is 200 gp for 3d6 damage and a DC 11 save, and wyvern poison is 1,200 gp for 7d6 damage and a DC 15 save. A 6d6 injury poison with a DC 14 save should cost in the high hundreds, which should be a huge amount of money for a 5th level character. As per Player's Handbook p.153, applying poison takes an action, retains potency for 1 minute, and applies to three pieces of amunition. Using that poison ought to cost you something like 300 gold per shot, and as another poster pointed out, you probably shoudn't be able to use it alongside another poison (otherwise someone could just apply multiple doses of poison for massive damage).

\$\endgroup\$
3
  • 13
    \$\begingroup\$ I’d venture a guess that this item is stronger than most artifact level weapons. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6 at 11:30
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Thats like having half damage Arrows of Slaying in your bow - ad infinitum. One of which is already a very rare item, so at half damage you basically shoot rare items with every attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tobias F.
    Mar 6 at 21:22
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ The source listed in the OP shows the Banetoxin to cost 1500gp per dose, so that'd be about 500gp per shot. It also works against one specific creature type, so either a ton of upfront investment or a very good idea of what you'll be fighting in the near future. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Mar 7 at 10:37
30
\$\begingroup\$

If you give a soldier unlimited nukes, they do a lot of damage

The Venomous Bow you describe is an overpowered homebrew magic item that will make any character do a lot of damage. To be clear, it isn’t that you are doing a lot of damage because you are a 5th level ranger; you are doing a lot of damage because you have this bow. Any class will do a lot of damage with this bow, martial based class have more synergy than magic based ones but at 5th level, I’d have my wizard fire this baby rather than anything else I might be doing.

For comparison, compare it with the official Dagger of Venom. This allows you to apply poison that does less damage, once per day.

Also refer to this Q&A regarding whether you can apply poison twice to the same weapon: Can I use Basic Poison on an arrow with this Venomous Bow magic item to create a double-poisoned arrow?

\$\endgroup\$
1
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ And the Dagger of Venom requires an action to apply that poison; the bow applies poison to every piece of ammunition fired, no action required. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8 at 15:48
19
\$\begingroup\$

It's not your ranger, it's the bow

What would be normal damage output?

For a ranger using ranged weapons, you would expect to have a Dex of 15 to start, a racial ability bonus to get this to 16, an ability score increase on level four to get it to 18, for a +4 bonus. You would pick fighting style archery to get +2 to hit, and with variant Human you could pick the Sharpshooter feat to boost your damage output (else you're short a feat for it). At level 5 you get extra attack.

You could cast Hunter's Mark in your first round of combat for an extra d6 damage to your attacks. There may be addditional damage enhancing choices (like Colossus Slayer from Hunter or the extra attack from Doom Stalker), but we'll ignore them.

Raw Damage output: 4.5 (d8) longbow + 4 ability bonus + 10 sharpshooter + 3.5 (d6) hunters mark = 22 damage, times two attacks = 44 damage. (Without sharpshooter, 24 damage)

To hit probablity: +4 ability bonus +2 archery +3 proficiency bonus - 5 sharpshooter = +4. Typical opponents have AC 15, you hit on a 11 on the die if there is no advantage or disadvantage involved, for an overall probablity to hit of 50%. (Without sharphsooter 75%)

Expected damage output: 55% * 44 = 22 damage. (Without sharpshooter, 18 damage)

Comparison

You stated you already do an average of 50 points of damage per round. That is more than twice what a solidly-built ranger on your level could expect to achieve, and clearly too high for what you should be able to do.

All of this, like the other answers already have noted, is of course due to the stupidly overpowered magic items your DM equipped you with.

Note in particular, that you could combine these items with the build we just reviewed, you would just add all that poison damage on top, with no downside. There seem to be additional issues with possibly two poisons being applied to the same arrow at the same time.

What should you do?

What you do is of course up to you. My experience has been that if one of the PCs massively outshines the others in this way, there is a risk that they will over time feel useless, and will have less enjoyment from the game. Either your DM could equip all of you with comparable items for an over-the-top experience, or they maybe should swap out or nerf the bow for something more balanced. This might feel like a downer for you in the short run, but can help all of you to have a more satisfying game in the long run.

\$\endgroup\$
3
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "due to the stupidly overpowered magic items your DM equipped you with". Its nice to see someone state it so matter-of-factly. I think you should also do the comparison without Sharpshooter, which would be the more 'standard' measure. You are comparing against an optimised character, which still shows the bow to be overpowered, but not having sharpshooter (itself overpowered) would bring it even more sharply into focus. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Mar 6 at 14:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri, good point, can add this easily. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6 at 14:26
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Probably best to take away the over-powered item, otherwise you have a party of glass cannons so challenging the party with a real threat can make things turn really deadly with a few bad die rolls. After talking about it out-of-character and getting buy-in / acknowledgement from the players, of course, that it's a problem (caused by a DM decision that in hindsight was a mistake) that should be fixed this way. Turning it into a nice magic bow would be appropriate, maybe just a +1. (With sharpshooter, extra hit from a +2 bow becomes even more valuable.) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7 at 21:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .