Thanks to @MakioKuta for this art piece!
By this point, we know most of what the Mighty Nein is capable of in combat, so time to revisit one of our old favorites: Max Damages!
As a reminder, this is the total amount of damage each character can deal to a single target during their turn, assuming no resistances or vulnerabilities, but allowing spells and effects to carry over from a previous round. For simplicity’s sake, no one gets any reactions, either. This also assumes the completely insane situation where everyone rolls the maximum number on each damage die, all attacks crit, and targets fail all saving throws.
The last time we did this was for Vox Machina at level 20. Level 20 characters are capable of dealing out insane amounts of damage (since, y’know, they tend to fight gods/demigods and are basically gods themselves). The damage a level 3 character can deal out is, frankly, hilariously small by comparison. (Le-vel 3! Le-vel 3!)
The good news is, the calculations are correspondingly much easier, since everyone can do five things at most. You’ll also recall that the spellcasters fall far behind the physical attackers at those upper levels, since most of their spells are area-of-effect, don’t require attack rolls, or are debuffs (or some combination of the three). This turns out to not be the case at level 3. So without further ado and in no particular order:
Fjord, Hexblade Warlock, Pact of the Blade: 48
- Hexblade’s Curse used in previous round
- Adds proficiency bonus to all damage rolls made against a target
- Hex or Wrathful Smite cast as a bonus action
- Adds 1d6 to attack damage
- 2-handed falchion attack as an action
- 1d10+4 slashing damage
- Extra 1d10 from Savage Attack on the critical hit (not doubled)
Warlocks with the Agonizing Blast invocation like Fjord can deal out quite a bit of damage with just Eldritch Blast, but a good chunk of Fjord’s damage here comes from his orcish blood. The Savage Attacks trait allows half-orcs to add an additional (non-doubled) weapon damage die to critical hits made with melee weapons, so his falchion actually wins out over the cantrip. Hex and Wrathful Smite deal the same amount of damage, so either can be used here. How much this number goes up as Fjord learns new spells depends entirely on what spells and invocations he chooses.
Grog’s level 20 maximum damage: 584
Beauregard, Monk, Way of the Cobalt Soul: 44
- 2-handed quarterstaff attack as an action
- 1d8+4 bludgeoning damage
- Use a Ki point to use Flurry of Blows as a bonus action
- 2 unarmed strikes, 1d4+4 damage each
Monks, regardless of system, tend to be a slow-build class, so Beau has the second-lowest damage here. Flurry of Blows helps make sure she’s not completely outclassed, but look for this number to increase drastically once she gets an extra attack and as her monk damage die goes up.
Keyleth’s level 20 maximum damage: 270
Caleb Widogast, Transmutation Wizard: 72
- Scorching Ray cast as an action
- From glove or using a spell slot
- 3 beams, each dealing 2d6 damage
Here’s the first example of the spellcasters blowing the physical attackers out of the water. Most of the damage spells that Vox Machina’s spellcasters used didn’t require attack rolls, so they didn’t get a chance to be doubled with a critical. This is not the case for a large percentage of Caleb’s spells, the most powerful of which is currently Scorching Ray. Each beam deals a maximum of 24 damage on a critical hit, and he gets three of them when he casts it from the glove or using a 2nd level spell slot. He’ll get additional beams by using higher spell slots, so expect Caleb to stick around close to the top of this particular ranking for awhile, regardless of what higher level spells he chooses.
Vax’ildan’s level 20 maximum damage: 455
Nott, Arcane Trickster Rogue: 43
- Starts hidden or has an ally within 5 feet of target
- Gets Sneak Attack
- 2d6 additional damage at current level
- Shortsword attack as bonus action
- 1d6+4 slashing damage
- Uses Fury of the Small
- Extra 3 damage
Nott has the lowest damage here, but don’t expect this to stay true much longer. As we’ve seen, rogues can quickly get to much higher levels of damage thanks to sneak attack. Nott won’t get Vax’s Assassinate feature, but she will get access to a very large chunk of the wizard spell list at higher levels. Most of those will likely serve more as utility than additional damage, but her Sneak Attack damage will increase just as fast as Vax’s, and her Fury of the Small damage is equal to her level.
Scanlan’s Level 20 maximum damage: 380
Jester, Trickery Cleric: 100
- Spiritual Weapon cast as a bonus action in a previous round
- Attacks as a bonus action
- 1d8+4 force damage
- Inflict Wounds cast as an action
- Cast at 2nd level
- 4d10 necrotic damage
Cleric spells, man. You’ll recall this is the same combo we used for Pike’s level 20 maximum damage, but Jester’s not quite capable of Pike’s sheer amount of power just yet. This number will increase as Jester gets access to those upper level spell slots, but like Pike, she’ll eventually get outpaced by the physically attacking characters. For now though, she can bask in being top of the list.
Vex’ahlia’s Level 20 maximum damage: 468
Mollymauk Tealeaf, Blood Hunter, Order of the Ghostslayer: 46
- Rite of the Frozen/Dawn applied to both scimitars in previous rounds
- 1d4 additional cold/radiant damage on each scimitar attack
- Scimitar attack as an action
- 1d6+3 slashing damage
- Scimitar attack as a bonus action
- Has the two-weapon fighting feature, so can add dexterity bonus to damage
- 1d6+3 slashing damage
Unlike Taliesin’s previous character, Molly’s stuck in the middle of the pack when it comes to maximum damage. Like Fjord, he’s got the potential for a lot of growth in this number, depending on his choices of Blood Curses at higher levels. He also has room for a couple of ASIs on his dex modifier, and his Crimson Rite damage die will increase with level. Regardless of his Blood Curse choices, he’ll likely outpace the spellcasters once they start hitting the upper levels.
Percy’s Level 20 maximum damage: 842
Yasha, Barbarian, Path of the Zealot: 42+Unknown
- Raging as a bonus action or from a previous round
- +2 damage on melee weapon attack using strength
- Divine Fury
- 1d6+1 necrotic/radiant damage while raging
- Applies to first hit with a melee weapon per round
- Greatsword attack as an action
- 2d6+3 slashing damage
Yasha, like the other melee characters, is closer to the bottom of the list. Like Grog, however, she will eventually grow into a terrifying, damage-dealing machine. There is an additional small amount of damage that she can deal based on her racial subtype, which we do not know yet. At level 3, it’s either 3 or 5, so it doesn’t change her total much. This damage, her rage damage, and her divine fury damage will all increase with level, so expect to see her near the top of higher-level lists.
Pike’s Level 20 maximum damage: 289