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Great Weapon Fighting states:

When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll (PHB pg.72).

A player in my game asked if this applies to the extra damage done with the Battle Master maneuvers.

Since these powers specifically word this damage benefit as:

You add the superiority die to the attack's damage roll (PHB pg.74).

I ruled that Great Weapon Fighting applies only to a "damage die" roll and not to a "superiority die" roll.

Did I get this right? Or should the Superiority Die be considered a Damage Die?

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By Rules as Written: Yes.

Player's Handbook, page 72:

When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or a 2. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.

This is fairly explicit. If it's a damage die, and it's rolled for an attack you make with a melee weapon in two hands, then you get the re-roll. This works for Combat Superiority, Smite, bonus dice from spell buffs, and even Sneak Attack if you could figure out a way to sneak attack with a two-handed weapon (currently, there is no way to do so).


By Rules as Intended: Probably not.

Mike Mearls, one of the lead designers of DnD 5e, replied to a similar question on twitter about whether Great Weapon Fighting allowed you to re-roll smite damage. His reply was that he would rule that Great Weapon Fighting only applies to weapon damage, not smite or, by extension, combat superiority dice.

However, Mearls has stated before that he is by no means the final word on what is or is not "correct". His statement is specifically the ruling he would make, not an official response from Wizards of the Coast as a whole, so it should be taken with a grain of salt.


What Effect Would It Have

Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself whether you want to allow this to happen or not. To help aid that decision, I thought I'd share with you the math on exactly what effect this ruling would have, in either direction. For these calculations, I'm using a standardized Fighter build, and calculating how much damage, on average, they would deal to an average foe at any given level, including hit chance, critical hits, and any other relevant modifiers.

Without Using Combat Superiority:

  • Level 3: 7.2 DpR
  • Level 5: 18.1 DpR
  • Level 11: 31.2 DpR
  • Level 20: 39.0 DpR

With Combat Superiority and no reroll:

  • Level 3: 10.1 DpR
  • Level 5: 24.8 DpR
  • Level 11: 44.4 DpR
  • Level 20: 58.5 DpR

Combat Superiority with reroll:

  • Level 3: 10.6 DpR
  • Level 5: 26.0 DpR
  • Level 11: 46.4 DpR
  • Level 20: 61.0 DpR

As you can see, overall the difference is fairly minor. All told, the damage increase is never more than 5% of the total damage being done, and this is assuming that you're using Combat Superiority on all of your attacks, which is probably not what you want to be doing when you have 3-4 attacks each turn.

It's certainly a buff, but nothing to write home about, and if it makes your players feel stronger or more clever to be using their abilities in this way, then I'd say let them have it. The difference is small enough that, overall, it's unlikely to have any real impact on the game.

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I suspect that if you take the RAW, the Great Weapon Fighting Class Feature only applies to the weapon's damage dice, and not any dice that would be added. That means you don't re-roll Superiority Dice, Sneak Attack Dice, or extra dice from a Spell or Magical Weapon. The only dice you would be allowed to re-roll, then, are the dice under the weapon's statistics in the Equipment Section, or in the statistics it has if it is a homebrewed weapon.

If you roll these dice multiple times, as when a Critical Hit is scored, I suspect you should be allowed to re-roll the extra damage dice with Great Weapon Fighting anyway, since they are still the damage dice of the weapon.

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Mike Mearls has stated that Great Weapon Fighting should work with Smite damage:

DJ Kizzie
@mikemearls great weapon fighting and smite. Does it allow you to re-roll 1s and 2s on the smite damage?

Mike
@DJkizzie believe so yes

He said no back in october of 2014 but changed his mind in september 2015

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's always best if you can include the important info from a link in your answer here. That way your answer remains valid if the linked site goes down for whatever reason. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Dec 30 '15 at 1:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I need to revise this I asked Jeremy Crawford who is the go to person for ruling and he stated that it was intended only for the weapon. The source of that would be twitter. \$\endgroup\$ – John Jan 12 '16 at 20:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mearls' tweets are not official rulings... and also often don't match what the actual rules state. (In this case, his guess is right about RAW, but wrong about the rules intent.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 31 at 5:48
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There are two fundamental problems with this, considering the quote:

"When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll" (PHB 72).

  1. Literally speaking

It doesn't say you can reroll the weapon damage dice, it says you can reroll the damage for an attack you make with a melee weapon. There is a difference there. The Weapon Damage Die might be a D8, but your damage won't necesseraly be 1D8.

  1. There's a lot from 4e in the 5e

And in the 4e, most things that affect the weapon damage do not affect the extra damage (As Brutal Weapon 2, that does the same thing, doesn't get to reroll extra damage dice as in Sneak Attacks or Hunter's Quarry).

In the end, since it's not forth edition and you don't get that many superiority dice, I'd say you can reroll the extra damage. It's still the damage provided from that weapon and it compensates your probably lag of a better AC for using a two-handed weapon.

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