The description of the Path of the Giant barbarian's Elemental Cleaver feature (from Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants) says, in part:

[...] While you wield the infused weapon during your rage, the weapon’s damage type changes to the chosen type, it deals an extra 1d6 damage of the chosen type when it hits, and it gains the thrown property, with a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet. [...]

Is it 1d6 per attack, or just once?

"When it hits" is a bit unclear to me.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Although this seems obvious at first, it makes me realize that in some contexts, 'when it hits' could mean 'when it next hits' and not 'every time it hits'. It is a fair question if one is not familiar with the language used in 5e. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Sep 25 at 5:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Precisely, I am still new to the game and I have a lot to learn about 5e yet haha \$\endgroup\$
    – Duhl
    Sep 25 at 22:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast - you added DDB links but to the basic barbarian. I don't have a digital GotG and don't see Path of the Giant info when I click on the links. If someone does have the digital copy, does this page show more for them? I am used to clicking on a link and getting the paywall message. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Sep 25 at 22:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt: Yes – for someone who owns the subclass on DDB, it will be displayed on the class page for them. If you hover over the links, you can see that they're section links pointing to the relevant section of the page (though, as you've found, that section of the linked page only appears to those who own the content on DDB). I've tried to find a corresponding page number to include for the physical version, but haven't found a table of contents page online or anything (and don't own it physically myself). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 25 at 22:39

2 Answers 2


You add 1d6 to each attack that hits

Attacks rolls are explained on p. 195 of the PHB (emphasis mine):

When you make an attack, your attack roll determines whether the attack hits or misses. To make an attack roll, roll a d20 and add the appropriate modifiers. If the total of the roll plus modifiers equals or exceeds the target’s Armor Class (AC), the attack hits.

An attack hits every time you make an attack roll and beat the target's AC. Since the weapon applies an extra 1d6 damage when it hits, this happens once on every attack roll that hits.

This is a property of the infused weapon; it's not limited to the next time it hits. Neither is there any language about the increase being cumulative. The weapon does deal an extra 1d6 damage when it hits; it does not increase its damage by 1d6 when it hits. So it won't deal increasing amounts of +1d6, then +2d6, etc. – it will just deal +1d6 on top of the base damage, every time it hits.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think, that it may be good to add some line about increase of damage not being additive. Because original question may lead to such confusion. So it's not +1d6 at first attack, +2d6 at second, +3d6 at third, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sarge
    Sep 25 at 7:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sarge I do not read the question as you say: it seems to me that the OP is asking if the 1d6 is added just for 1 attack or for all the subsequent attacks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Sep 25 at 8:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eddymage Q&A here are not only for the OP, but also for the future readers. If there's a potential point of confusion, it's good to have it clarified. You, me, Nobody , we spent a lot of time here and some things may be so obvious to us that we no longer see how they're confusing for new users. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Sep 25 at 10:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eddymage: The title of the question "Does the ... damage increase by 1d6 each attack?" does read as asking if it stacks to +2d6, +3d6, etc. The body reads as "+1d6 or nothing" as you say, but the title reads like "+1d6, increasing cumulatively". \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25 at 23:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowRanger I completely bypassed the title, you're right! \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Sep 26 at 5:51

1d6 extra damage on each hit, noncumulative

When it hits

The phrase "when it hits" is used at least twice in the PHB, once when describing how the Strength modifier is applied to weapon damage (p. 15, Step 5 sidebar) and once in the spell crusader's mantle.

In both cases (and especially the first) it is clear that "when it hits" means "each and every time it hits, including multiple times in one turn". It certainly does not mean only "the next time it hits", as there are many spells (including most smites) that use just that language.

Since your barbarian gets Elemental Cleaver at 6th level, and already got Extra Attack at 5th, they would indeed be able to apply the damage bonus each time they hit, potentially multiple times per turn even if generated from a single Attack action. Each time you hit with the weapon, you add 1d6 damage on top of the weapon's damage.


You also might think that

it deals an extra 1d6 damage of the chosen type when it hits

could mean that the damage bonus increases by d6 each and every time it hits, so that on the first hit it was +d6, the second +2d6, etc. Such a progression in damage, especially where the bonus overwhelms the base amount, is rare in the 5e rules, and would be clearly indicated as such. In this case the "extra damage" is only 1d6, and nothing indicates that the amount of extra damage increases.

One case where such a progressive increase does occur is the spell delayed blast fireball which says (emphases mine):

A creature takes fire damage equal to the total accumulated damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
The spell's base damage is 12d6. If at the end of your turn the bead has not yet detonated, the damage increases by 1d6.

Here we are told specifically that the damage from the spell 'accumulates' and that it 'increases' so at the end of each turn. If we were to write Elemental Cleaver like this, it would say something like:

(for example) While you wield the infused weapon during your rage, the weapon’s damage type changes to the chosen type, it deals an extra 1d6 damage of the chosen type that increases each time it hits, and it gains the thrown property...

Another example of progressive damage is the falling rule, which says:

At the end of a fall, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it fell, to a maximum of 20d6.

If Elemental Cleaver did progressive damage, it could also be worded something like:

(for example) While you wield the infused weapon during your rage, the weapon’s damage type changes to the chosen type, a creature hit by it takes an extra 1d6 damage of the chosen type for every time the infused weapon has hit, and it gains the thrown property...

Because this additional clarifying language is not present, we can be confident that Elemental Cleaver is a set, not a progressive, addition to damage.


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