The other day I wondered aloud about rolling most claw/claw/bite attack routines as a single attack with combined damage. The example monster I used was the mountain lion, with 1d3/1d3/1d6 damage, and I suggested that maybe one attack for 2d6 damage could be substituted. Feedback has been thought-provoking.
One thing that I had initially considered and am now thinking about again is the use of 1d12 damage rather than 2d6.
As a quick experiment, I threw together a spreadsheet to simulate 1000 rounds of attacks by mountain lions against AC 5 targets, rolling damage for successful attacks for each of the three options (separate attacks, one attack for 2d6, one attack for 1d12). In order to keep things a little more even, I used the attack roll of the first claw attack as the attack roll for both of the combined attacks.
Here are the damage results for each of the three methods:
3.693 points of damage per round using standard claw/claw/bite
3.481 points of damage per round using one attack for 2d6
3.268 points of damage per round using one attack for 1d12
Refreshing the sheet obviously changes these values, but the 2d6 method is usually about 0.2 points per round behind the standard method and usually about 0.2 points ahead of the 1d12 method. It is extremely rare for the order to be different, though some times it is quite close between the methods.
Of course, there are not a lot of rounds with 0 damage using the three-attack method. With three opportunities to hit for damage every round, it’s likely that at least one will strike home and cause at least a little damage.
I’m not sure what, if anything, this really means. But it does seem to indicate that over the long haul the 2d6 method wouldn’t unbalance things.