If you play Dungeons & Dragons, then you know that there are a lot of different weapons to choose from. And with so many options, it can be hard to figure out which one is the best for your character. In this article, we take a look at the dagger in 5e.
Dagger 5e Properties
Daggers are simple melee weapons with the following properties:
- Damage: 1d4 piercing
- Typical Cost: 1 gold piece
- Weight: 1 lb
- Properties: Finesse, Light, Thrown (range 20/60)
They inflict piercing damage equal to 1d4 + your ability modifier. And because daggers in 5e have the Finesse property you can apply your Strength or Dexterity ability modifier to the attack roll and damage roll.
Piercing damage is one of the 13 damage types in 5e. 55 creatures are resistant to piercing, zero creatures are immune to it, and only one creature, the goon balloon, is vulnerable to piercing damage. (*cough* rookie numbers *cough*)
Daggers also possess the Thrown property. This means when you make a ranged attack with a dagger, apply the same ability modifier to the attack and damage rolls that you would apply to a melee attack.
Daggers have a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet. This means if you attempt to throw a dagger at a target 15 feet away, you make a normal attack roll. But if you throw a dagger at a target 25 feet away, you make the attack roll with disadvantage. You cannot throw a dagger at a target more than 60 feet away.
The Advantages of Daggers in 5e
One of the biggest advantages of daggers is they are light weapons so you can dual-wield them. Two weapon fighting in 5e can feel lackluster at times so if you want to upgrade it, we have an article for that!
Next, daggers are the easiest weapon to find and use. Just about every town has a blacksmith willing to sell you a dagger. Additionally, daggers are simple weapons, not martial weapons, so anyone can use them.
Another advantage of daggers is that they can be used in conjunction with shields. So if your AC is low and you can’t find a better weapon than a dagger, at least carry something in your off hand to bump up your Armor Class.
Despite being the weakest weapon in the game, daggers can actually deal quite a bit of damage if you’re a rogue thanks to Sneak Attack:
Beginning at 1st level, you know how to strike subtly and exploit a foe’s distraction. Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon.
You don’t need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn’t incapacitated, and you don’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.
The amount of the extra damage increases as you gain levels in this class, as shown in the Sneak Attack column of the Rogue table.Player’s Handbook, page 96
Thanks to their small size, daggers can be easily concealed on your person, meaning you can get a surprise attack off on an unsuspecting foe and deal extra damage as a result.
The Disadvantages of Daggers in 5e
The main downside of daggers is that they don’t do a lot of damage. So if you’re looking for a weapon that deals a lot of damage in combat, look elsewhere.
Unless your character is specifically built around using them (e.g., rogues), they’re likely not going to be very effective weapons.
Are Daggers Good in DnD 5e?
So, are daggers good in D&D 5e? If you’re a rogue, yes. Overall, they’re an ok choice for characters in need of a versatile and stealthy weapon. They don’t deal as much damage as other options, but their simplicity, lightness, and dual-wielding ability make up for it, especially if you’re a rogue because Sneak Attack.
But if you’re not a rogue and you’re looking for something that deals good damage, look elsewhere.