Attack Bonus D&D : Everything You Need To Know

An attack bonus is an additional number to your D20 roll for every attack you make in D&D 5. An attack bonus can be applied to a variety of attacks: melee attacks and ranged attacks as well as spell attacks and thrown weapon strikes.

A character’s attack bonus can differ for any of these or all of them.

An attack bonus number should have either a positive (+), or negative (-), although you may not have one!

This article will explain how to calculate your attack bonus for different types of attacks. It is meant to be understood in a real-world scenario.

If you look at the middle of a 5e character page, you will see a section called Attacks & Spellcasting that contains a space for your Attack Bonus.

Depending on the version of your sheet, it might read “ATK BONUS”, or “Attack bonus.” In DNDBeyond, it reads “HIT/DC.”

It doesn’t really matter what the exact words mean, as they all mean exactly the same thing.

Attack Bonus 5e By YmK-D20

Calculating an Attack Bonus

Let’s now look at how you usually calculate the attack bonus for one attack.

melee attacks with a weapon that you are proficient with will result in the attack bonus. This is the strength modifier and the proficiency bonus. The attack bonus does not apply to weapons you aren’t proficient with.

See also
What is Chill Touch 5e D&D ? : Guide

You can substitute the strength modifier for melee attacks with a weapon that has the finesse property. If you are proficient with a weapon, your proficiency bonus is also included.

ranged attack: The attack bonus always uses dexterity modifier. If you are proficient with the weapon, you can add the proficiency bonus.

Thrown weapons have the same attack bonus as melee weapons. Throwing a hand axe requires strength, while throwing a dagger requires strength or dexterity.

Spell attacks are given the attack bonus. This is the spellcasting modifier and the proficiency bonus. Spellcasters have to be proficient in making spell attacks.

Examples & Scenarios

Let’s take Rafi as an example. He is a level 5 Arcane trickster with Strength 14 (+2), Dexterity 18 (+4) and Intelligence 16 (+3).

Rafi is a level 5 character and has a proficiency bonus.

She is an Arcane Trickster and uses Intelligence for casting spells.

She is proficient in simple weapons, but not in all martial weapons.

Rafi’s dagger is a simple finesse weapon that can be thrown or wielded. It has a +7 attack bonus (plus 4 from dex) and a +3 proficiency bonus. This bonus is also used to swing or throw the dagger. Rafi could also use Str instead Dex. However, the attack bonus of +5 would not make sense.

See also
Booming Blade 5e D&D Guide : Everything You Need To Know

Rafi receives a +5 attack bonus when wielding a sword. This is not a fine weapon but a simple weapon. Rafi can use this bonus to throw or stabbing the spear.

Rafi gets a +2 attack bonus (+2 Str) when he wields a great blade. However, he does not get a proficiency bonus.

Rafi receives a +7 attack bonus when shooting a crossbow. This is a simple ranged weapon and has +4 dex and +3 proficiency bonuses.

Rafi gets a +4 attack bonus (+4 dex) when shooting a heavy Crossbow. This is a ranged weapon that can be used in martial combat.

Rafi receives a +5 bonus spell attack bonus (plus 2 from Int, and 3 from her proficiency bonus) when casts a spell that requires a spell attack

Rafi would get a +7 attack bonus if she cast the spell booming sword and attacked with her dagger. This spell requires her to perform a melee attack, not a spell attack.

It can be difficult to determine the various attack bonuses, as you can see.

It’s not difficult to adjust your attack bonus when you level up.

Your attack bonuses will increase if your proficiency bonus increases (levels 5, 9, 13, and 17). Your attack bonus may increase if you are an ASI. Your attack bonus might be affected by learning certain fighting styles or using magic weapons.

See also
Find Familiar 5e D&D Guide : Everything You Need To Know

There aren’t any spells, class features or feats that can affect your attack bonus.

This was intentional by the designers of 5e.

They didn’t try to complicate the system by giving away many small bonuses. I think that’s a positive thing.

Rolling dice and role-playing is much more enjoyable than spending a lot of time doing mathematics in your head.

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