I'm converting the characters for my party from D&D4E to D&D5E, and I have a question about the Cleric (level 1).

He has a Dexterity of 8, and also has a Light Crossbow (which he is proficient with). The attack roll when he uses the crossbow should then be +1 (+2 proficiency -1 dex mod), and the damage roll should then be 1d8-1. Is this correct?

Does a negative modifier (Strength/Dexterity) also apply to the damage roll?

The rules just state that the modifier has to be added to the damage, but there is nothing specified for negative modifiers... (that is why I assume it should be 1d8-1). It does look a bit weird, though.

From the Basic Rules (p. 75):

When attacking with a weapon, you add your ability modifier—the same modifier used for the attack roll—to the damage.

PS: I know the crossbow is not the first thing a Cleric should use so this is not a critical issue... but still, I'd like to know how the rules work for this situation :-)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Since youre converting characters from a previous edition the sitution is complex, does the cleric character normally use the crossbow? It might be better for RP if the character be more similar rather than being optimised for 5e. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 8:48

1 Answer 1


Yes, you add add the negative modifier.

There is nothing that says not to, and the modifier is a factor. You might be wise however, to state that the minimum damage is 1. It seems awfully silly for you to get a hit, and roll a 1 and do no damage at all.

Might I recommend a simple thrown weapon so as to use his (probably much higher) strength score? Perhaps a javelin or a handaxe?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Related question arguing that 0 is the correct minimum damage. No mention of whether that'd be "silly" though. =) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 18:12
  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ Recommend you remove the minimum damage from your statement. Nothing in the rules states there is a minimum damage of 1 on a hit. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 2:17

You must log in to answer this question.

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