Philosophy the first:

Look, it’s a straightforward optimization question. In 5e D&D a greatsword swings with 2d6 for an average of 7 damage. A greataxe has that impressive 1d12 damage die, but that’s only 6.5 average damage. Over the life of a campaign, you’re just straight up dealing more damage with a greatsword. That advantage is compounded by the great weapon fighting style, allowing for more frequent damage bumps from more frequent re-rolls. I mean sure, you get a uniform distribution with the greataxe, meaning that you can occasionally swing for crazy damage compared to the more reliable bell curve distribution on the greatsword. But you’re also increasing your chances of lower-than-average damage, and that means you run the risk of under-performing when you really need to put a baddy down. So unless you’ve got some special mojo going (half-orc barbarians with savage attacks and brutal critical are the most common use case) you’re always better off going for the greatsword.

Philosophy the second:

Me like smash. Me choose greataxe!

Your choice of weapon says a lot about who you are as a gamer. Are you trying to fit a badass mental image or are you trying to solve an interesting maths question? Of course, I’m willing to bet that there are other thought processes than the philosophies listed above. So how about it, guys? When it comes time to choose your weapon, how do you make your decision? Let’s hear all about the weapon-selection philosophies you follow down in the comments!


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