[RPG] Is Greatsword superior to Greataxe


6.5 (1d12) slashing Heavy, Two-Handed

7 (2d6) slashing Heavy, Two-Handed

This is why I think Greatsword is superior to Greataxe:

Since feats for different categories of weapons are not officially published yet (only in Unearthed Arcana), I don't see why people are choosing Greataxe over Greatsword, except for flavor or availability (found enchanted Greataxe).

Mechanically, is there advantage of using Greataxe instead of Greatsword?

Best Answer

While Netzach makes a very good point, I'd like to add in the die dynamics.

Although the average is very similar the two situations behave very differently.


Rolling 2 dice creates a bell curve distribution of the possible values. In this case the average (7) has a chance of 1 in 6, while the max has a chance of 1 in 36. Half of your rolls will be 6,7, or 8. With the addition of more dice this curve gets steeper. 4d6 would have an average about 14 (1 in 36) and a max of 24 (1 in 648)


All numbers have an equal chance of occurring (a uniform distribution), thus your chance of a 12 is 1 in 12. Only one quarter of your rolls will be a 6,7, or 8. And on a crit, 24 is 1 in 144. You have a better chance of rolling higher than average, but also a higher chance of rolling lower than average. Many would argue that this balances out. But when you are in a battle and need a 12, your chances are better with the axe.

In summary

Some prefer the Greatsword because the high chance of average damage is "slow but steady".

Others accept the risk of a low roll with the Great Axe in order to have a better chance at high damage.