Grog’s collected a small arsenal of weapons in the Bag of Holding by now, but which one’s the best for him to use? We got curious, and, as you know, when we get curious, things get out of hand, so here we go:
First, let’s look at attack bonuses for each weapon:
- The greataxe Grog entered Kraghammer with isn’t magical, so “only” grants him a +12 bonus to attack. Zahra’s Moonhammer is also non-magical, so has the same bonus.
- The Firebrand Warhammer, and the Dragonslayer Longsword are all +1 weapons, so grant Grog a +13 bonus to attack.
- The Bloodaxe is a +2 greataxe, so Grog’s attack bonus is +14.
- The Dwarven Thrower is an even better upgrade, as a +3 warhammer. Grog’s total attack bonus with this weapon is an incredible +15.
Obviously, Grog is going to hit more often when he’s using the Dwarven Thrower. However, even with the greataxe, his attack bonus is very high, so he’s likely to hit just about everything (except maybe ancient dragons). There’s not much difference between the best weapons here, so damage-dealing is probably a good indication of weapon quality.
The problem, of course, is that a couple of these weapons have very specific requirements for dealing extra damage, so let’s just start with average base damage for each weapon. By “base,” we mean damage that gets rolled with every hit, no matter what, assuming no resistances, immunities, or vulnerabilities. These also include Grog’s strength bonus and rage damage. Since several of these are versatile weapons, let’s also assume he’s wielding everything two-handed, since he usually does, and it doesn’t actually affect the damage totals much.
Ok, so just looking at average and maximum damage for each hit, the Bloodaxe is clearly Grog’s best choice, right? Not so fast. Both the Dragonslayer Longsword and the Dwarven Thrower have special circumstances in which they deal extra damage.
- Against dragon-type creatures (wyverns, dragons, dragon turtles, etc.), the Dragonslayer Longsword deals an additional 3d6 damage, upping the one-handed average damage to 26 and maximum damage to 37, and the two-handed average to 27 and maximum to 39. In either case, the Dragonslayer Longsword deals slightly more damage than the Bloodaxe on average.
- Against giants, the Dwarven Thrower deals an additional 2d8 damage, upping its average damage to 27 and its maximum to 39, making it more powerful than the Bloodaxe in this circumstance.
- The catch for Grog, though, especially recently, is range. The Dwarven Thrower deals 2d8 +13 (thanks to @Halfslain2 for reminding us that Versatile 2-handed damage only applies in melee- Matt confirmed this in Ep 82, 0:17:33) damage when thrown (Ep 82, 0:13:09), so the average damage becomes 22 and the maximum 29. The Bloodaxe damage drops slightly to an average of 21 and a maximum of 28 (1d10+1d6+12) when thrown, making the Dwarven Thrower slightly more damaging per hit. However, the Dwarven Thrower can be thrown multiple times per round, whereas the Bloodaxe on the Chain of Returning can only be thrown once. A frenzied Grog triples his damage if he uses the Dwarven Thrower when he’s at range and hits on every attack.
So, which weapon should Grog use? It depends. The Dragonslayer Longsword might be the knee-jerk choice when he knows he’s about to go up against a dragon, but Grog’s historically had a hard time getting close enough to one to hit it in melee, so the Dwarven Thrower is probably the more reliable option, especially two-handed. Up against giants, the knee-jerk choice is actually the best one: against giants, the Dwarven Thrower gets a second additional d8, increasing the thrown damage advantage further.
In most situations, though, there’s a trade-off of benefits. The Bloodaxe will help Grog deal more outright damage as long as he’s constantly in melee, but the Dwarven Thrower gives Grog the flexibility he needs to attack more often. So, headed into the unknown, Grog’s probably better off with the Dwarven Thrower. Plus, to be perfectly honest, a Thor hammer is pretty freakin’ cool.