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I'm teaching myself 5e from absolute scractch, and I'm trying to roll an attack with a shortbow. AC modifiers + initiatives are fine, but calculating the actual damage is something that's tripping me up.

Does '5(1d6+2) piercing damage' mean Roll 1d6 + 2 for a maximum of 5 damage or something else entirely?

Thanks!

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Some DMs prefer not to roll every attack a monster does, and instead rely on a precomputed value. It gives the game consistency and makes things move more quickly. The 5 is the suggested value for this precomputed roll, as it's (3 + 2), or (1*(6/2) + 2).

Personally, I'd suggest you roll, as most people I know find it part of the excitement.

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5 is the average number you would get, rounded down, if you rolled 1d6+2 many times. A DM, or player, if the DM agrees, could use this number instead of rolling the prescribed dice.

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