I'm building my character, a Half-Elf Ranger, and I'm a little confused about how to work out the attack bonus and the damage bonus.

So, please tell me if I've got this right:

  • I'm proficient with a longbow. That means my attack roll is 1d20 + prof bonus + Dex modifier.
  • The damage roll however is 1d8 + Dex modifier.

I'm just a little confused about working out the numbers (without even going into spells and when to roll for attack, etc.)



You roll your attack roll for the bow with proficiency and Dex modifier, and damage with just Dex.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wait we don't count prof with damage? So if I have a -1 str as a druid my damage would be whatever - 1 :/ \$\endgroup\$ – msmith1114 Jan 11 '16 at 16:28
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, @msmith1114, unless you use a finesse weapon, a ranged weapon, or Shillelagh. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Apr 1 '16 at 11:47

Yes, you are precisely right.

Attack rolls are 1d20 (+ proficiency if you are proficient) + modifiers (dex for ranged attacks and finesse weapons, Str for most other melee weapons).

The Damage rolls are whatever the weapon damage dice is plus the modifier (Again, dex for ranged and finesse weapons, Str for melee weapons.)

You may be confused, but you are certainly plugging in the right numbers where they belong.


Yes. Any action you take in D&D 5e that requires a roll follows the same template. Actions that require rolls tend to be interesting situations like attacks.

  1. First, roll a d20 to determine if you succeed at the action.
    • You almost always add an attribute bonus to this roll: in your case, Dex for firing a bow.
    • You add your proficiency bonus if you have some feature that gives you proficiency in the roll; in your case, you have proficiency with the weapon.
    • Occasionally, the attacker doesn't roll; the defender rolls to see if they avoid the action. This is called a saving throw.
  2. Next, determine the result of the action.
    • In this case, you deal the damage of the weapon and (according to PHB 196, "Damage Rolls") you add the ability modifier used for the attack.

Following this sequence, you've got the rolls correct.


You are correct.

A Weapon Attack Roll is 1d20 + Ability Modifier + Proficiency Bonus (if proficient in the weapon) + Other Modifiers.

A Damage Roll is XdX + Ability Modifier. Do not add the Proficiency Bonus to Damage Rolls.

The same Ability Modifier applies to both rolls. Use STR for melee weapons (when holding them and when throwing them), DEX for ranged weapons, and either STR or DEX (your choice) for weapons with the Finesse tag.


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