In the following example character, in this case Valeros:


What does the +3 and +2 mean in relation to his weapons? Are these magical/enhanced weapons?

Also, how do you calculate the damage from these weapons?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The other answer covers the mechanics so I thought I'd offer an old, more lore'ey explaination that I remember reading in Dragon magazine. The +1, +2 etc indicated that the weapon exists in additional, higher dimensions, thus causing additional damage. This also explains why some creatures were immune to 'normal' damage but not the +1/+2's, because they exist in these dimensions only. (I'll see if I can find the exact issue/page and update if I can) \$\endgroup\$
    – DFreeman
    Mar 14 '14 at 16:50

That's his attack bonuses

The entry you're seeing is a stat block for the character. The headings there under his attacks indicate his various attack options, their accuracy (that's the +2/+3) and their damage. So, in this case, we have:

Melee longsword +3 (1d8+3/19–20), short sword +2 (1d6+1/19–20) or longsword +5 (1d8+3/19–20)

This means that his first option is a full attack with both weapons; he attacks with the longsword at a +3 bonus to his D20 roll and deals 1d8+3 if it hits, critting for double damage on a natural roll of 19-20. He then attacks with his short sword at +2, dealing 1d6+1 damage and again critting for double on a 19-20. Alternately, he can attack with just the longsword at +5, dealing 1d8+3 and critting for double damage on a natural roll of a 19-20.

Monster entries work similarly.

Calculating Attack Bonuses

Attack bonuses are calculated, generally speaking, as follows:

Base Attack Bonus (BAB) + Strength Modifier (melee attacks) or Dexterity Modifier (ranged attacks or melee attacks made with the Weapon Finesse feat) + the weapon's bonuses (such as bonuses for being masterwork or magical) + magical bonuses (such as the true strike spell) + any circumstance bonuses (such as flanking) - penalties (such as from Two-Weapon Fighting or spells).

In some cases a character may have additional attacks from a high Base Attack Bonus. In this case, the additional attacks are called 'iteratives', and are made at a lower attack bonus - for example, a sixth level fighter with a +1 longsword and an 18 strength would swing at +11 for his first attack roll, and +6 for his second. Making more than one attack in this fashion is a Full Attack, a full-round action that eats up your resources for the turn except for your 1 swift action and your five-foot step.

You can discover more information about specific bonuses and penalties (such as from two-weapon fighting) through the PFSRD.

Calculating Damage

Damage dealt by weapon attacks is calculated as follows:

XdX (the weapon's base damage, such as 1d8 for a longsword) + strength modifier (for one-handed melee weapons or thrown weapons; two-handed melee weapons deal 1.5 x strength modifier) + the weapon's enhancement bonus (if any) + any feat bonuses (such as from Weapon Specialization) + any circumstance bonuses (such as from making a Charge) + the weapon's properties (such as flaming) + any magical bonuses (such as from spells) - penalties.

Unlike with attack rolls, damage rolls are taken in their totality and then compared against the victim for any mitigating effects; that is, your total damage rolled does not change when confronted with damage reduction or damage vulnerability, but the damage the enemy takes will. Your DM may ask you to calculate this yourself, or s/he may choose to do so.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That clears things up a little bit. How are the bonuses calculated? \$\endgroup\$
    – Hicks224
    Mar 12 '14 at 20:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Great answer. For completeness reasons, could you add a paragraph about damage calculation? It's in the question, so I guess it should be answered as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – MrLemon
    Mar 13 '14 at 14:43

In that particular example of a lvl 1 fighter there's no magic weapons. It's his AB (Attack Bonus (final/adjusted/what you add to the roll))

"Melee longsword +3 (1d8+3/19–20), short sword +2 (1d6+1/19–20) OR longsword +5 (1d8+3/19–20)"

The "OR" separates the two attack modes, full attack and single attack. For to-hit rolls, he gets BAB +1 (from fighter lvl) and also +3 from Strength (16). He also gets +1 with Longsword from Weapon Focus Feat. That makes the Longsword +5 block. When two weapon fighting he gets 2 attacks in a round but at -2 penalty (he would have had bigger penalties if he had a bigger offhand weapon or no two weapon fighting feat) so he gets +3 with Longsword and only +2 with Short Sword (cause he has no weapon focus feat with that weapon). Also note that his Strength adds +3 to damage, but only +1 for the offhand (Short Sword) rounded down.


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