[RPG] How are pluses on vanilla weapons and armour different than previous editions


How are pluses on vanilla weapons and armour different in 5e than in previous editions? I have noticed old editions are capped at +5 and 5e is capped at +3. What, if anything, would change if higher bonuses were available instead?

Best Answer

D&D 5th edition was designed with something its designers call "bounded accuracy." A full description and analysis would require more text than is appropriate for this format, so I recommend a search of the topic on the wider internet.

To very briefly summarize bounded accuracy, all modifiers (and also target numbers, such as AC) in 5e are limited to a range that is much smaller than previous editions. One of the main results of this is that a large number of very easy monsters, such as goblins, are still a threat to a party of high-level adventurers. This is different from the last few editions, where a single high-level character could defeat an almost infinite amount of goblins.

Too large of bonuses from magic items would break this desired mechanical behavior, while smaller bonuses are more significant than in previous editions.