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[D&D 5E] Nothing is true, everything is permitted.

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Posts

  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    I disagree that the game is presented terribly... I started DMing last year and after some hiccups took to it pretty well. My second campaign is much more rigid with rules and the encounter balance is a lot better because I'm more experienced at it

    That's not to say it doesn't have problems, or that it doesn't require you to do legwork - I think the reasoning is valid, because I think each of us could run lost mines of phandelver, each of us would homebrew different things about it, and none of them would be homebrewed exactly the same way. "Terribly" implies that it is significantly worse than it's competitors in terms of presentation, which is a claim I find dubious

    I can understand how not having utterly rigid guidelines could be frustrating, but I've been overjoyed at the level of community support there is for DMs in this system, I have mountains of helpful material from Reddit and other places

    Edit: if by terribly you just mean, in general terms, yeah, the text is poorly laid out, requiring you to rapidly flip around a lot of places in the books to find things - something I agree with so much I've moved to using D&D beyond exclusively for my references instead of the books. I think few of us would disagree with things like Goumindong's criticism below. Official campaigns require you to read the entire book before running to not miss things as another example, as they often put things you might run into in other parts of the book, it's not in a "chronological run" order, requiring the DM to make a campaign outline AFTER reading the book to run it optimally

    I would strongly disagree that the content is terrible though

    override367 on
    IvelliusSmrtnik
  • KasynKasyn Registered User regular
    JustTee wrote: »
    My pain points with DMing 5E:

    1 - Building satisfactory encounters is something that is incredibly difficult, potentially time consuming, and uses a ton of things that just isn't usefully spelled out anywhere. There are pages and pages of text in the DMG detailing how to build combat encounters, and how to use the math to determine how difficult it would be for a given party of a given number of players at a given level.

    It is widely regarded as a baseline at best, wildly useless at worst.

    When that's pointed out, rather than being given some help at adjusting CR / encounters, we're told "nah encounter building is fine I just eyeball everything read every stat block and mentally adjust and calculate how that might affect my party and also throw in terrain".

    I have been on both sides of the table in this edition with novice and experienced DMs. I cannot say I or anyone in my very large and diverse group shares this experience, and from my exposure to the general community online regarding 5E, this is certainly not "widely regarded as baseline at best."

    CR is definitely a great starting point, and from there your DM should probably be adjusting for the party's condition (have they been running on fumes for a while now?) and the desired intensity of the fight (some fights SHOULD be an easy stomp for the party, while others are more appropriate as extremely dangerous encounters for drama and to communicate the seriousness of a certain threat, maybe).

    There are some really decent encounter size and difficulty calculators out there that do the math for you. When using one of those, I have *never* had an encounter that was so wildly off the mark that I felt like it wasn't at least a very strong starting point.

    That said, by virtue of the fact that this is D&D and rolling dice is so integral, it's completely fair to expect a certain amount of fluidity on behalf of the DM, depending on how they want any given combat encounter to feel. I think it's perfectly valid to fudge some numbers a tiny bit (in a consistent and fair way) if you want to preserve a certain amount of dramatic tension and difficulty and the rolls have just gone to one extreme, though philosophies will differ on how far to go with this. (I personally would definitely avoid doing it in ways that are inconsistent, like changing a monster's AC or to hit modifier midfight, unless you have some sort of thematic way to indicate that this has happened.) It's also nice to have some sort of release valves built into the encounter, ways to dial things up or down if it's a fight that matters a lot and you want it to be a little more outcome proof. Monsters dropping in at turn X could be reduced or eliminated, or come in earlier, even.

    There's enough of a good start there to get you by while you find your feet, and then plenty of ways to just be a savvy DM and assert an amount of loose, hidden control over your combat encounters to steer them the way you want.

    If you think this is the kind of thing you shouldn't need to do, and that it's an indication of some gap or flaw in the rules, I hate to be a dick but I think you should just be playing a video game, or at least some sort of wargame where combat interactions are more constructed and finite.
    2 - The base incentive system for players using their powers and spells leads them wanting to try to game long rests, or leaves portions of the party feeling useless if they use all their long rest resources in the first fight of the morning. See above for why some players might be forced to use more powers than intended for fights, as the difficulties can be hard to judge when designing the encounters.

    Oh, also, for some reason, some classes are incentivized to try to rest in short 1 hour periods, and others don't get anything until long rests.

    Oh, also, the game design specifically calls out adventure days, how many fights a party should face before resting, etc etc etc. I don't know a single person who *actually* uses those numbers and doesn't end up tearing their hair out.

    This is something that in some form, I would agree with as a limitation of the genre itself, and this is how it is manifest in 5E. The simple fact is, there's a line between diversity and balance, and whatever spot you end up on there, you're facing some issues. In order for there to be true variety, and not just a bunch of formulaic homogeneous classes sort of mirroring one another, you're going to deal with a certain amount of potential imbalance in a game as vast as D&D. You saw slightly different versions of the same problem in earlier editions - with spellcasters being total ass early on but massively overpowered in later levels in some of the early editions. I think short rests and long rests are a pretty decent resting system, but yeah, when some of the classes have their balance choices and resources hinging on the artificial supply (or lack of supply) of rests, that can be a bit of an issue and vary from campaign to campaign.

    One thing that's important to do here is to challenge your group's assumptions about how much rest they get access to. I had a group that really went out of their way to plan every encounter, make sure they were optimally rested, and they generally went all-out each time. This gave me the opportunity to (organically) force them into a few straight encounters without rest, and some of the more aggressive characters definitely regretted blowing powerful abilities on an encounter that they should have realized was relatively trivial. The tension that this brought into those later encounters really carried a few sessions, and the relief they felt when they finally got even a short rest was profound.
    3 - A lot of teaching new players 5E results in my explanation being "for reasons".

    Why do dwarves and basically only dwarves move 25 feet per round? Why do spells list their ranges extremely specifically, but combats rarely (if ever) happen further than 60 feet apart? Why are so many things labeled "levels"? Why are spells organized so weirdly in the PHB? Why do equipment charts have so many different items that are basically not at all different except for cost? Why are so many pieces of equipment so specifically detailed when there isn't really anything different between them?

    If you are struggling to understand why Dwarves might move slower than most other races, I truly do not know what to do for you. It seems to me like you have decided that everything is arbitrary the moment they committed pen to paper. You should find far more valid things to get hung up on and accept that balance, variety, open-endedness, intuitiveness, and a million other reasons are probably the motivation behind these kinds of things.
    4 - Basically everything @Abbalah said in the first post on this page:
    They're less prepared for "How can I tell if this combat is too hard/too easy?", "What loot should players be getting?", "How often should they be resting and how do I fix it if they're resting too often?", "What do this monster's spells do?", "How do I keep combats interesting?", "What's the right DC for this check?", "How do I deal with this player who keeps summoning a bunch of fucking wolves?", "This player wants to buy a +1 sword; how does that work?", and so on.

    Again, you are expecting a level of handholding that is just fundamentally at odds with this entire style of game. What loot should players be getting? Well, what kind of world is your campaign? Are resources scarce? Are magical items exceptionally scarce or wildly abundant? Does your player group love to get treasure for its own sake or do they just mindlessly add everything to the GP reserves and try not to engage that aspect of the game?

    You have a pretty concrete means of feedback for both players and monsters that help you gauge whether an ongoing combat encounter is too hard or too easy: HP. What's more important to be concerned with is how to make combat difficult without being arbitrarily, unfairly difficult, and how to make player choice meaningful, how to reward people for creativity, etc.

    The right DC for a check is pretty straightforward - how difficult do you think this task should be for them? I don't really have any issues with their standard, book-recommended difficulty/DC tables, other than that they might be a touch too strict by maybe 2-4 points. 15 DC is considered medium difficulty by their standards and that's actually an extremely failable benchmark, in my experience, my standard difficulty DC checks are usually about 12-13.
    5 - Oh, I forgot, my player's main pain point - that on any given turn, there is an extremely obvious "optimal" choice, and unless there are other things in the fight going on, combats tend to feel pretty boring. Because mechanically, each class is fairly limited in what it can do. And often times, with new players at least, being presented with the idea that "you can do anything" often means "holy shit I have no idea what to do I guess I'll just swing my sword at the thing".

    The solution to making D&D 5E combat interesting, it turns out, is to not run D&D 5E combat as presented by the pages and pages of rules. Because most of those rules end up distilled as "I hit the monster with my Weapon/Spell as hard as I can". Instead, you have to provide context, environments, and space for player improv. Which again, adds to the challenge of balancing the mechanics, because, surprise surprise, I am not a professional game designer. And if the solution to "how to make 5E combat interesting" is "Don't use 5E combat as written, instead use your narrative to make the boring mechanics less boring" I would probably suggest that the mechanics kind of suck.

    As for solutions:

    Honestly late-stage 4E sounds like it's pretty sweet. Unfortunately, I have no idea what books I'd actually have to get in order to get an understanding together of what that means. Also, my players don't want to deal with all the extra stuff of 4E (floating modifiers, excess math), but would probably love to have the extra combat abilities, and tighter balancing between <fully rested> state and <exhausted> state. So I've mostly tried to hack 5E with bits and pieces from Dungeon World (for running interesting combats), Stars Without Number (for GM-side prep), and Spellbound Kingdom (for player based mechanical options).

    This still sounds very much like you and your players want to play a game designed like a video game. You seem to have this false assumption that game design principles are fully universal, and the fact is, only some of them are. I know it's getting tedious to hear it, but a lot of your issues seem to go back to a fundamental sticking point, which is that this isn't an entirely different game.

    Ivellius
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Narbus wrote: »

    Maybe everyone who's been playing a while can accept that this is a fun game presented terribly and instead of condescendingly pointing out that a decade of experience helps, you can just point folks in the right direction.

    The game is presented worse than terribly (Spells in the PHB don't even tell you which classes can cast them, so you have to back reference fucking everything).

    But when people here are saying "don't flood your players with healing potions" that isn't "condescendingly pointing out that a decade of experience helps" its pointing people in the right direction.

    wbBv3fj.png
    SleepIvellius
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    I mean, i guess one could say there's only one optimal way to do things

    but like... for example last night in the game I'm running the druid turned into a fish and led a hydra on a chase before jumping out of the water over the head of a yuan-ti, leading to the hydra attacking its handler by mistake

    I'm not sure where that action fits into the optimal action table?

    KasynSleepIvelliusnever die
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    Abbalah wrote: »
    I haven't had the chance to look through all the subraces, but I like the rebuild.

    ES: Thanks for taking the time to look so far.

    I'd do something like: ...

    ES: I just stole this for Turtle Power. Now it’s divorced completely from the Tortle ability, which didn’t work at all.

    If you're giving each subrace a defensive trait of some kind, it might be cool for some of them to hook into Turtle Power in some way ...

    ES: Each defensive trait was an experiment, but having a racial feat for an improvement is a sound idea.

    Thanks again, when I get chance I’ll clean up and post their items.

    Endless_Serpents on
    override367
  • Ken OKen O Registered User regular
    I’m going to just say it; fuck who ever wrote the index to the player’s hand book.

    Also I very selfishly want the Message spell to be cast as a bonus action. Who ever determined that needed to be a full action must be part of the fun police.

    http://www.fingmonkey.com/
    Comics, Games, Booze
    override367LockedOnTargetElvenshaeIvelliusJustTeenever die
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    Jeremy Crawford is the fun police

    can't twin spell dragon's breath come on now...

  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    Also I know it’s two or so pages back now but if anyone would like to look over my turtle-men I’d appreciate it. What’s your favourite sub-race? What class would you play one as?

  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Registered User regular
    it's pretty obvious

    ninjarogue

    Ivellius
  • KasynKasyn Registered User regular
    I mean, i guess one could say there's only one optimal way to do things

    but like... for example last night in the game I'm running the druid turned into a fish and led a hydra on a chase before jumping out of the water over the head of a yuan-ti, leading to the hydra attacking its handler by mistake

    I'm not sure where that action fits into the optimal action table?

    Here's another thing, and it requires a certain amount of buy-in from players, and is something that is really at odds with the way a lot of people - myself included! - approach games.

    You do not always have to take the optimal combat action.

    And this comes down to how robust of a character you have. I mean robust in the way to where you have a sense of how they will act, not just that they have some killer level of detail in their backstory. If you can get a sense of your character to the point where you, on a gut level, understand their instincts? That is what you owe to the game to follow, not necessarily the best possible combat action. Sometimes those things are in alignment! But sometimes they are not. I promise you - I fucking promise you - the game is significantly better when you become the type of player who can take those less than optimal actions because it means you're being true to your character. (And not crossing the line into behavior that is toxic and unfair to your fellow players or the DM.)

    override367Sleep
  • KasynKasyn Registered User regular
    I had a player in a particularly lethal campaign play a Tortle Monk, having prepared three additional Tortle Monk characters for when the first one goes down, and onward. He acted like a goddamned selfless hero every single opportunity, fully expecting to one day die for it, but even in this campaign somehow kept surviving by the skin of his teeth. That beautiful bastard was still on his first guy by the time that campaign fizzled due to scheduling issues.

    Endless_SerpentsLockedOnTargetIvelliusnever die
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    in the game where I'm playing as a pixie, I infiltrated a rich person's house in the guise of a child there on a playdate (with the barbarian and druid miraculously succeeding on their deception checks as my "parents") but actually was doing a casing mission for a robbery

    I voluntarily made a wisdom saving throw to actually case the joint for the entrance to the vault and not just help the girl prank her brother, and then I had to do a deception check to trick the party so they believed I actually did my job when I didn't

    it's okay the the heist went okay, some people almost got eaten by scorpions or dissolved by gelatinous cubes because I led us IN ENTIRELY THE WRONG DIRECTION but it was fine! Look I stole some really shiny silverware from the house! Also we found the mobster dude's love shack and got evidence of his affair we can use to blackmail him, entirely because my character is bad at being responsible and led us to the wrong part of the underground part of the estate through the sewers

    The optimal way to handle this would have been to just go invisible and using my boots of elvenkind just walk in and find the entrance to the vault, then suss out its location relative to the underground tunnels

    override367 on
    KasynIvellius
  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    It feels to me like the "point" of healing in 5e is not to attempt to outheal something that is dealing damage, however if you can strategically keep your wizard conscious until the next round they can get another fireball off, or maybe they can disengage and get out of range and not get downed at all.

    Right, but if the goal is to cast a spell that just lets someone else live long enough to cast an offensive spell that will actually impact the encounter

    then like...you could just cast an offensive spell yourself instead, and that does the same thing but saves the party a spell slot since you're not spending a spell to get a spell, and probably also lets the wizard live an extra turn by downing the enemy that would have attacked him.
    it's so hard to come up with rules for making a balanced encounter is that one group of players might be like Chris Perkins "The Waffle Crew" where they don't even have the right number of spells picked and have their attack bonus down wrong and aren't sure what their spells do and the other group might be all crossbow fighters with sharpshooter who deal 60 damage per round each at level 3

    I guess they could make 5e more simple, other than that I'm not sure of how to come up with solid guidelines without exception for encounter difficulty

    I mean, other systems manage it. There's always some variation in optimization, certainly, but a well-designed game usually has a smaller delta between an optimal and suboptimal character and, more importantly, if CR did a better job of measuring monster difficulty, DMs would be able to adjust the advertised difficulty of their encounters to what they know their party can handle, making the difference in character performance less important. The problem isn't that a CR 1 monster is or isn't threatening to a level 1 party depending on variation in the party's power level, it's that some CR 1 monsters are much more deadly than other CR 1 monsters in spite of both being CR 1, so DMs can't consistently use a monster's CR to get an accurate sense of its level of threat to a party. Doing a better job of placing consistent ranges on things like monster damage-per-turn and AC, and more reliably taking into account things like monster spellcasting and other abilities would have gone a long way here.
    Kasyn wrote: »
    This still sounds very much like you and your players want to play a game designed like a video game. You seem to have this false assumption that game design principles are fully universal, and the fact is, only some of them are. I know it's getting tedious to hear it, but a lot of your issues seem to go back to a fundamental sticking point, which is that this isn't an entirely different game.

    No, I'd like to play a game designed like a game, and 'you just want a video game' as a critique was already meaningless invective ten years ago. It continues to be telling that - even after having it directly pointed out - the responses to people bringing up their issues with 5e are still just a recycled grab bag of "you can fix this by making up different rules yourself, so it doesn't need to be fixed", "stop trying to use the rules for this", "I think it works fine for me so there's nothing wrong with it", "it's supposed to be that way", and "you just want your hand held because you're not cut out for tabletop games".

    That's not how you design a game, it's not how you discuss a game, it's not how you develop a better understanding of game design as a principle, and it's not how you grow a hobby.

    ElvenshaeSaint JusticeJustTeeFry
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    Do you have examples of better systems than CR that do the same things in different systems?

    Ivellius
  • KasynKasyn Registered User regular
    Abbalah wrote: »
    Kasyn wrote: »
    This still sounds very much like you and your players want to play a game designed like a video game. You seem to have this false assumption that game design principles are fully universal, and the fact is, only some of them are. I know it's getting tedious to hear it, but a lot of your issues seem to go back to a fundamental sticking point, which is that this isn't an entirely different game.

    No, I'd like to play a game designed like a game, and 'you just want a video game' as a critique was already meaningless invective ten years ago. It continues to be telling that - even after having it directly pointed out - the responses to people bringing up their issues with 5e are still just a recycled grab bag of "you can fix this by making up different rules yourself, so it doesn't need to be fixed", "stop trying to use the rules for this", "I think it works fine for me so there's nothing wrong with it", "it's supposed to be that way", and "you just want your hand held because you're not cut out for tabletop games".

    That's not how you design a game, it's not how you discuss a game, it's not how you develop a better understanding of game design as a principle, and it's not how you grow a hobby.

    I gave a substantial amount of productive and realistic advice throughout that post that did not involve "making up different rules for yourself" or dismissing specific concerns arbitrarily. Ignore it if you'd like, but I'm not going to say that you're being anything other than dense for doing so and continuing to straw man people's helpful responses.

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    Abbalah wrote: »

    Right, but if the goal is to cast a spell that just lets someone else live long enough to cast an offensive spell that will actually impact the encounter

    then like...you could just cast an offensive spell yourself instead, and that does the same thing but saves the party a spell slot since you're not spending a spell to get a spell, and probably also lets the wizard live an extra turn by downing the enemy that would have attacked him.

    Clerics do not get fireball. (And in general do not get powerful burst damage/control spells). Yes in most cases the cleric should not be healing and should instead be acting(because they hit half decently hard with cantrips and with melee attacks and they have decent armor and HP making them half-tanks compared to wizards). But even then there are combat situations (and initiative structures) that will make these spells valuable both for bringing people up and also for preventing them from going down.

    For instance if its Enemy, Wizard, Cleric then if you want your wizard to act you better heal him before his turn if he might go down (or you better be good with maybe losing a readied action). And if its enemy, cleric, wizard then you're fine with spot healing as necessary when the wizard goes down.

    But yes. It does not appear to be a problem that healing has more specific rather than general uses. The game does not appear to want a situation in which players fight fluctuating HP bars.

    Now if you want that kind of thing you're going to have to change the game. But that isn't a problem with the game just as it isn't a problem with V:tM that it doesn't play Epic Fantasy well or CoC doesn't do modern train management well.

    Goumindong on
    wbBv3fj.png
    override367Ivellius
  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    If you're interacting with the system incorrectly, in a way that produces bad outcomes I'm going to point out the way you're interacting with the system that's possibly fuckin up your results.

    Folks still seem pretty salty over the CR argument a while back and it's seemingly mainly because the answer to the issue there is that situation and combat presentation is way more important to encounter difficulty than the monsters present in the combat necessarily are. The map is more important than the monsters, and that's a hard aspect to deal with, but the DMG gives guidelines on how to consider such aspects in the encounter difficulty calculation (if in far too little detail and in a pretty bad place in the encounter building guidelines). It's right there in the encounter building system to consider that shit, and that such considerations can be responsible for way more of the encounter difficulty rating of an encounter than the monsters themselves.

    If you're interacting with a sub system incorrectly at a base level I'm going to point that out because it's probably really fuckin with your ability to use the system.

    I've seen people that outright skip the last part of encounter difficulty determination and complain when the combat they designed was either way too deadly, or way too easy for what the calc said even though they skipped one of the most important parts of the difficulty determination process.

    The part that is unfortunate is that when pointing out how folks might be interacting with a system incorrectly the general response, despite my ability to cite where I'm pulling from, is to tell me I have no idea what I'm talking about, and couldn't possibly understand game design.

    I'm trying to explain how the actual system works, how you're supposed to interface with it at a base level, and give guidance on how to get better outcomes with that system including a few cheats I've gathered in my time. You can insist I'm wrong, but I'm following the guidelines and not running into a bunch of trouble.

    Kasyn
  • KasynKasyn Registered User regular
    There is a truly excellent video series on DMing theory by a very strange and passionate fellow who very directly tackles some of the various ways you can make an encounter more or less challenging while preserving fairness and interest. It is an exceptional primer on this, and a really, really productive way to think about some of this stuff.



    It's more like, if you want to go a level above and beyond what the basic material provides you, and he gives some practical tools for implementing it, as well, if you want to take him that literally.

    override367Fry
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Abbalah wrote: »

    Right, but if the goal is to cast a spell that just lets someone else live long enough to cast an offensive spell that will actually impact the encounter

    then like...you could just cast an offensive spell yourself instead, and that does the same thing but saves the party a spell slot since you're not spending a spell to get a spell, and probably also lets the wizard live an extra turn by downing the enemy that would have attacked him.

    Clerics do not get fireball. (And in general do not get powerful burst damage/control spells). Yes in most cases the cleric should not be healing and should instead be acting(because they hit half decently hard with cantrips and with melee attacks and they have decent armor and HP making them half-tanks compared to wizards). But even then there are combat situations (and initiative structures) that will make these spells valuable both for bringing people up and also for preventing them from going down.

    For instance if its Enemy, Wizard, Cleric then if you want your wizard to act you better heal him before his turn if he might go down (or you better be good with maybe losing a readied action). And if its enemy, cleric, wizard then you're fine with spot healing as necessary when the wizard goes down.

    But yes. It does not appear to be a problem that healing has more specific rather than general uses. The game does not appear to want a situation in which players fight fluctuating HP bars.

    Now if you want that kind of thing you're going to have to change the game. But that isn't a problem with the game just as it isn't a problem with V:tM that it doesn't play Epic Fantasy well or CoC doesn't do modern train management well.

    Right that was my point, I don't think the problem with 5e is healing isn't good enough, I think people are placing expectations on healing that base 5e isn't interested in fulfilling

    but that's okay, 5e is quite easy to muck around with under the hood, it's not hard to accommodate a pure healer playstyle. That said, while there's only one really good base healing class in 5e, the life cleric, Xanathars has added a few more ways to be a really good healer and in different ways (the celestial warlock is great!) because they seem to have noticed that a lot of people are carrying expectations of being something akin to an MMO raid healer into 5e and finding it lacking without homebrew

    override367 on
  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    Sleep wrote: »
    If you're interacting with the system incorrectly, in a way that produces bad outcomes I'm going to point out the way you're interacting with the system that's possibly fuckin up your results.

    Folks still seem pretty salty over the CR argument a while back and it's seemingly mainly because the answer to the issue there is that situation and combat presentation is way more important to encounter difficulty than the monsters present in the combat necessarily are. The map is more important than the monsters, and that's a hard aspect to deal with, but the DMG gives guidelines on how to consider such aspects in the encounter difficulty calculation (if in far too little detail and in a pretty bad place in the encounter building guidelines). It's right there in the encounter building system to consider that shit, and that such considerations can be responsible for way more of the encounter difficulty rating of an encounter than the monsters themselves.

    If you're interacting with a sub system incorrectly at a base level I'm going to point that out because it's probably really fuckin with your ability to use the system.

    I've seen people that outright skip the last part of encounter difficulty determination and complain when the combat they designed was either way too deadly, or way too easy for what the calc said even though they skipped one of the most important parts of the difficulty determination process.

    The part that is unfortunate is that when pointing out how folks might be interacting with a system incorrectly the general response, despite my ability to cite where I'm pulling from, is to tell me I have no idea what I'm talking about, and couldn't possibly understand game design.

    I'm trying to explain how the actual system works, how you're supposed to interface with it at a base level, and give guidance on how to get better outcomes with that system including a few cheats I've gathered in my time. You can insist I'm wrong, but I'm following the guidelines and not running into a bunch of trouble.

    I think you could possibly understand game design, but when faced with the option generally prefer to dig in your heels and double down on a ill-conceived position instead.

    People don't skip the last part of encounter difficulty, they just don't use it the way you do because you use it wrong. It's there to account for major situational advantages that deviate substantially from an even-footing encounter, not to serve as a black box sliding multiplier that you can use to handwave your encounter into being whatever difficulty you've eyeballed it to be.

    And of course, as per your own explanation in the original conversation on this subject, you're following the guidelines (except when you don't) and not running into a bunch of trouble (except when you do), because the rules work just fine (except when they don't, which doesn't count).
    Kasyn wrote: »
    Abbalah wrote: »
    Kasyn wrote: »
    This still sounds very much like you and your players want to play a game designed like a video game. You seem to have this false assumption that game design principles are fully universal, and the fact is, only some of them are. I know it's getting tedious to hear it, but a lot of your issues seem to go back to a fundamental sticking point, which is that this isn't an entirely different game.

    No, I'd like to play a game designed like a game, and 'you just want a video game' as a critique was already meaningless invective ten years ago. It continues to be telling that - even after having it directly pointed out - the responses to people bringing up their issues with 5e are still just a recycled grab bag of "you can fix this by making up different rules yourself, so it doesn't need to be fixed", "stop trying to use the rules for this", "I think it works fine for me so there's nothing wrong with it", "it's supposed to be that way", and "you just want your hand held because you're not cut out for tabletop games".

    That's not how you design a game, it's not how you discuss a game, it's not how you develop a better understanding of game design as a principle, and it's not how you grow a hobby.

    I gave a substantial amount of productive and realistic advice throughout that post that did not involve "making up different rules for yourself" or dismissing specific concerns arbitrarily. Ignore it if you'd like, but I'm not going to say that you're being anything other than dense for doing so and continuing to straw man people's helpful responses.

    I could go through your post piece by piece to demonstrate how I'm in no way strawmanning you here, but I'll just highlight this line here:
    I hate to be a dick but I think you should just be playing a video game

    Not only is this terrible, useless, condescending, gatekeeping advice, but people who actually think they're giving productive, helpful responses generally don't feel the need to include the phrase "I hate to be a dick", and, similarly, people who say "I hate to be a dick, but" almost never actually hate being dicks and indeed have actively chosen to do so.

    ElvenshaeJustTee
  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    Abbalah wrote: »
    Sleep wrote: »
    If you're interacting with the system incorrectly, in a way that produces bad outcomes I'm going to point out the way you're interacting with the system that's possibly fuckin up your results.

    Folks still seem pretty salty over the CR argument a while back and it's seemingly mainly because the answer to the issue there is that situation and combat presentation is way more important to encounter difficulty than the monsters present in the combat necessarily are. The map is more important than the monsters, and that's a hard aspect to deal with, but the DMG gives guidelines on how to consider such aspects in the encounter difficulty calculation (if in far too little detail and in a pretty bad place in the encounter building guidelines). It's right there in the encounter building system to consider that shit, and that such considerations can be responsible for way more of the encounter difficulty rating of an encounter than the monsters themselves.

    If you're interacting with a sub system incorrectly at a base level I'm going to point that out because it's probably really fuckin with your ability to use the system.

    I've seen people that outright skip the last part of encounter difficulty determination and complain when the combat they designed was either way too deadly, or way too easy for what the calc said even though they skipped one of the most important parts of the difficulty determination process.

    The part that is unfortunate is that when pointing out how folks might be interacting with a system incorrectly the general response, despite my ability to cite where I'm pulling from, is to tell me I have no idea what I'm talking about, and couldn't possibly understand game design.

    I'm trying to explain how the actual system works, how you're supposed to interface with it at a base level, and give guidance on how to get better outcomes with that system including a few cheats I've gathered in my time. You can insist I'm wrong, but I'm following the guidelines and not running into a bunch of trouble.

    I think you could possibly understand game design, but when faced with the option generally prefer to dig in your heels and double down on a ill-conceived position instead.

    People don't skip the last part of encounter difficulty, they just don't use it the way you do because you use it wrong. It's there to account for major situational advantages that deviate substantially from an even-footing encounter, not to serve as a black box sliding multiplier that you can use to handwave your encounter into being whatever difficulty you've eyeballed it to be.

    And of course, as per your own explanation in the original conversation on this subject, you're following the guidelines (except when you don't) and not running into a bunch of trouble (except when you do), because the rules work just fine (except when they don't, which doesn't count).
    Kasyn wrote: »
    Abbalah wrote: »
    Kasyn wrote: »
    This still sounds very much like you and your players want to play a game designed like a video game. You seem to have this false assumption that game design principles are fully universal, and the fact is, only some of them are. I know it's getting tedious to hear it, but a lot of your issues seem to go back to a fundamental sticking point, which is that this isn't an entirely different game.

    No, I'd like to play a game designed like a game, and 'you just want a video game' as a critique was already meaningless invective ten years ago. It continues to be telling that - even after having it directly pointed out - the responses to people bringing up their issues with 5e are still just a recycled grab bag of "you can fix this by making up different rules yourself, so it doesn't need to be fixed", "stop trying to use the rules for this", "I think it works fine for me so there's nothing wrong with it", "it's supposed to be that way", and "you just want your hand held because you're not cut out for tabletop games".

    That's not how you design a game, it's not how you discuss a game, it's not how you develop a better understanding of game design as a principle, and it's not how you grow a hobby.

    I gave a substantial amount of productive and realistic advice throughout that post that did not involve "making up different rules for yourself" or dismissing specific concerns arbitrarily. Ignore it if you'd like, but I'm not going to say that you're being anything other than dense for doing so and continuing to straw man people's helpful responses.

    I could go through your post piece by piece to demonstrate how I'm in no way strawmanning you here, but I'll just highlight this line here:
    I hate to be a dick but I think you should just be playing a video game

    Not only is this terrible, useless, condescending, gatekeeping advice, but people who actually think they're giving productive, helpful responses generally don't feel the need to include the phrase "I hate to be a dick", and, similarly, people who say "I hate to be a dick, but" almost never actually hate being dicks and indeed have actively chosen to do so.

    Hahaha literally insisting I don't know what I'm talking about and that I'm using the system wrong when I can walk you through the steps as written in the book and it yields the desired results...

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Abbalah wrote: »

    I think you could possibly understand game design, but when faced with the option generally prefer to dig in your heels and double down on a ill-conceived position instead.

    People don't skip the last part of encounter difficulty, they just don't use it the way you do because you use it wrong. It's there to account for major situational advantages that deviate substantially from an even-footing encounter, not to serve as a black box sliding multiplier that you can use to handwave your encounter into being whatever difficulty you've eyeballed it to be.

    And of course, as per your own explanation in the original conversation on this subject, you're following the guidelines (except when you don't) and not running into a bunch of trouble (except when you do), because the rules work just fine (except when they don't, which doesn't count).

    In the prior example* you were ignoring a major situational advantage(combat start range) that you had been giving the monster which was making your monster significantly more powerful that it would be under a base assumption.

    Maybe the problem is that DnD 5e is a relatively high variance system compared to what you're used to?


    *The prior example was a CR 2 dragon that started in breath weapon range of the entire party with no players out of range, no players behind obstructions and the party unaware of the dragon, which was unreasonable for a number of reasons.

    wbBv3fj.png
    Sleepoverride367Hachface
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    I'm not asking in bad faith by the way I genuinely want to know of a better system for balancing encounters than CR

    I steal stuff from other game systems all the time

    override367 on
    Sleep
  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Abbalah wrote: »

    I think you could possibly understand game design, but when faced with the option generally prefer to dig in your heels and double down on a ill-conceived position instead.

    People don't skip the last part of encounter difficulty, they just don't use it the way you do because you use it wrong. It's there to account for major situational advantages that deviate substantially from an even-footing encounter, not to serve as a black box sliding multiplier that you can use to handwave your encounter into being whatever difficulty you've eyeballed it to be.

    And of course, as per your own explanation in the original conversation on this subject, you're following the guidelines (except when you don't) and not running into a bunch of trouble (except when you do), because the rules work just fine (except when they don't, which doesn't count).

    In the prior example* you were ignoring a major situational advantage(combat start range) that you had been giving the monster which was making your monster significantly more powerful that it would be under a base assumption.

    Maybe the problem is that DnD 5e is a relatively high variance system compared to what you're used to?


    *The prior example was a CR 2 dragon that started in breath weapon range of the entire party with no players out of range, no players behind obstructions and the party unaware of the dragon, which was unreasonable for a number of reasons.

    "in breath weapon range" being within 90 feet, a range at which nearly all dnd encounters take place. None of the other things you list here - no obstructions, no players out of range, nor the party being unaware of the dragon were required. You're being hyperbolic to support a weak position.

    If I recall the conversation correctly this was also the point at which I asked okay, if you think 'within 90 feet' is a weird range for an encounter to happen at, what is the appropriate range at which no CR adjustment for unusual circumstances would be necessary? and got told that there was no such range, which is absurd on its face.

    I'm also not super interested in tediously relitigating a single specific example of a general problem for another four pages while Sleep loudly insists that all rules are merely guidelines and nothing is a houserule if the rules say you can change the rules and that all encounter difficulties come out accurate as long as you run them through the "the last step of calculating encounter difficulty", which is to alter the calculated difficulty in whatever way is necessary to declare yourself correct.

    ElvenshaeSaint JusticeJustTee
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    90 feet is a typical combat range but it would be extremely unusual for a creature to come up upon a party that are practically hugging each other, go before all of them in combat, be unseen by all of them before getting there, and have a direct path to them

    I think it would be reasonable to raise the CR of the encounter if the enemy is facing optimal circumstances

    override367 on
  • joshgotrojoshgotro Deviled Egg The Land of REAL CHILIRegistered User regular
    edited August 2018
    The Gotro Encounter System
    1. Where is the battle taking place?
    2. Simple drawing of the area including reasonable obstacles.
    3. What would I normally fight here?
    4. What would I love to fight here?
    5. Is there a secret environmental switch?
    6. Will my ranged players get to range? Will my melee players get to melee?
    7. Is flanking possible for both players and mobs?
    8. Throw away most of the stat block of monsters.
    9. Always have a secondary force ready to amp up the tension.
    10. Remember that AC should be a sliding scale.

    Edit: combat encounters, from goblin ambush to orc warband, should be tense. The only way to get there, regardless of actual systems, is to watch the flow of battle. Adjust that orc brutes AC down when he lands two attacks in a row because he's over extended himself into enemy territory.

    I hate the CR system.

    joshgotro on
    does it?
  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    Abbalah wrote: »
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Abbalah wrote: »

    I think you could possibly understand game design, but when faced with the option generally prefer to dig in your heels and double down on a ill-conceived position instead.

    People don't skip the last part of encounter difficulty, they just don't use it the way you do because you use it wrong. It's there to account for major situational advantages that deviate substantially from an even-footing encounter, not to serve as a black box sliding multiplier that you can use to handwave your encounter into being whatever difficulty you've eyeballed it to be.

    And of course, as per your own explanation in the original conversation on this subject, you're following the guidelines (except when you don't) and not running into a bunch of trouble (except when you do), because the rules work just fine (except when they don't, which doesn't count).

    In the prior example* you were ignoring a major situational advantage(combat start range) that you had been giving the monster which was making your monster significantly more powerful that it would be under a base assumption.

    Maybe the problem is that DnD 5e is a relatively high variance system compared to what you're used to?


    *The prior example was a CR 2 dragon that started in breath weapon range of the entire party with no players out of range, no players behind obstructions and the party unaware of the dragon, which was unreasonable for a number of reasons.

    "in breath weapon range" being within 90 feet, a range at which nearly all dnd encounters take place. None of the other things you list here - no obstructions, no players out of range, nor the party being unaware of the dragon were required. You're being hyperbolic to support a weak position.

    If I recall the conversation correctly this was also the point at which I asked okay, if you think 'within 90 feet' is a weird range for an encounter to happen at, what is the appropriate range at which no CR adjustment for unusual circumstances would be necessary? and got told that there was no such range, which is absurd on its face.

    I'm also not super interested in tediously relitigating a single specific example of a general problem for another four pages while Sleep loudly insists that all rules are merely guidelines and nothing is a houserule if the rules say you can change the rules and that all encounter difficulties come out accurate as long as you run them through the "the last step of calculating encounter difficulty", which is to alter the calculated difficulty in whatever way is necessary to declare yourself correct.

    No the last step is to review the encounter you just built and consider what advantages and disadvantages you're giving to the party. If the party is unquestionably sitting ducks for the first attack that will likely drop a player and necessarily won't be able to attack before that attack... it's not too hard to determine that monster has an advantage and that you need to step the difficulty concern up a step... oh that makes the encounter beyond deadly... good to know.

    Insisting that folks should never do that consideration, that this part can just be ignored, amd that instead the whole system should be ignored because it's garbage, produces bad outcomes.

    You aren't showing anyone you're better at game design, you're just making it harder to help the newbies.

    The system works if you take moderate consideration of your combat and admit when simple situational facts give the monsters an advantage over the players... no matter how much that advantaged position just makes sense as what would always happen.

  • RendRend Registered User regular
    @Sleep
    To be fair, while I think the CR system is on average good enough and occasionally weirdly way off, the system you proposed ended with a particular flavor of dm fiat which I felt would be pretty unintuitive and imprecise for a new dungeon master.

    Now I use the system roughly the same as you, eyeballing the situation and deciding who's at the advantage, if anyone, and adjusting as needed, but I also have a lot of experience and I PERSONALLY know a dnd5e dm who was very new and ran a game for new players (and one veteran) who TPK'ed her party on accident after following the CR rules, I believe ironically the culprit was a small dragon, against a low level party.

    From what I was told it was not close, they got annihilated.

    The game ended and they haven't played since, which is a shame. But all that is just an anecdote that both adjusting the encounter as you suggest is not a trivial process for an inexperienced dm, and also that there are some big old trap monsters that will totally fucking kill your whole party in there that are marked really low cr.

    Again, I think the system mostly works but the complaint that it's not precise enough for new DM's has merit, and adjusting it yourself is not a good solution when you lack the experience to do so accurately.

    ElvenshaeIvelliusNyhtDevoutlyApatheticSaint JusticeJustTee
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    given that the dice play such a crucial role in combat, you can only plan so much...

    How would you alter CR? should it lean more towards how lethal an enemy is under ideal circumstances? Maybe a metric for how dangerous it is for different types of adventurers? I have a feeling the latter could end up being quite a long list, with certain races and classes being all but immune to certain mechanics and others being super vulnerable to them

    I feel like the best course of action would be a section in the DMG about how to alter CR based upon circumstances and making sure you as the DM are familiar with your party's capabilities, resistances, and movement types... but that might already be in there

    I do think 5e is particularly gnarly to DM if you haven't either played it before or have previous DMing experience from another edition - but I don't think that's a problem as long as you and your players understand you might need a few sessions to get good at it. I feel like the official "starter" adventures are generally pretty well balanced and even give you tips for how to play monsters so you get an idea of how hard they should be

    override367 on
  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    90 feet is a typical combat range but it would be extremely unusual for a creature to come up upon a party that are practically hugging each other, go before all of them in combat, be unseen by all of them before getting there, and have a direct path to them

    I think it would be reasonable to raise the CR of the encounter if the enemy is facing optimal circumstances

    Yeah, that wasn't the example either. The thing wouldn't even be able to hit the whole party if they were bunched up, because the breath weapon is a line not a cone. The point was just that it deals enough damage to instantly kill whoever it does hit by massive damage if fought at level = CR, not that it would hit the whole party. It literally just had to be able to hit a person.

    Encounter starts at range of 90 feet or less, both sides aware of the other, nobody gets a surprise round. That's the whole scenario. This laundry list of superfluous nonsense Goum mentions is all an addition from his side aimed at casting the encounter as one that is weirdly and specifically optimal for the monster in order to justify modifying the encounter difficulty, something that requires an advantage on the order of a surprise round to be warranted but which Goum and Sleep tried to use to insist that any encounter with a monster with an inappropriate CR would just need a difficulty modification based on 'circumstances', rendering the difficulty appropriate and the CR correct. Sleep went so far as to suggest - stop me if this starts to sound familiar - that there was no 'normal' way to encounter any creature that didn't require difficulty adjustment due to situational modifiers, and that every conceivable way in which an encounter could be set up would warrant some kind of situational modifier due to one side having a circumstantial advantage. It's not how that modifier actually works.

    ElvenshaeJustTee
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    yeah levels 1-3 are quite deadly to the players in D&D, the expectation seems to be that you can and will die to bullshit at those levels, this can rub some people particularly the wrong way

    for my part I typically don't allow instant death to be a thing that's even possible until 5th level

    The thing is though, if you know how much damage the monster you're throwing against your players can do, and you know how much health they have... I don't think it's unreasonable for you to connect those dots? The CR2 makes a lot more sense if it cannot possibly one-hit-kill your players, a one-hit-unconscious is another matter entirely though

    That should probably be a disclaimer somewhere in the DMG, if the enemy can one hit kill your guys and they don't have resurrection magic, treat them as MORE deadly

    override367 on
  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    Abbalah wrote: »
    90 feet is a typical combat range but it would be extremely unusual for a creature to come up upon a party that are practically hugging each other, go before all of them in combat, be unseen by all of them before getting there, and have a direct path to them

    I think it would be reasonable to raise the CR of the encounter if the enemy is facing optimal circumstances

    Yeah, that wasn't the example either. The thing wouldn't even be able to hit the whole party if they were bunched up, because the breath weapon is a line not a cone. The point was just that it deals enough damage to instantly kill whoever it does hit by massive damage if fought at level = CR, not that it would hit the whole party. It literally just had to be able to hit a person.

    Encounter starts at range of 90 feet or less, both sides aware of the other, nobody gets a surprise round. That's the whole scenario. This laundry list of superfluous nonsense Goum mentions is all an addition from his side aimed at casting the encounter as one that is weirdly and specifically optimal for the monster in order to justify modifying the encounter difficulty, something that requires an advantage on the order of a surprise round to be warranted but which Goum and Sleep tried to use to insist that any encounter with a monster with an inappropriate CR would just need a difficulty modification based on 'circumstances', rendering the difficulty appropriate and the CR correct. Sleep went so far as to suggest - stop me if this starts to sound familiar - that there was no 'normal' way to encounter any creature that didn't require difficulty adjustment due to situational modifiers, and that every conceivable way in which an encounter could be set up would warrant some kind of situational modifier due to one side having a circumstantial advantage. It's not how that modifier actually works.

    Actually it is, insisting it isn't hurts new players.

    There is no white room.

    The party being at the end of their day is enough to bump up the difficulty rating on an encounter.

    The point is that the DM is supposed to take all facts under consideration and figure out if in this instance those facts give anyone an advantage over the other side.

  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    given that the dice play such a crucial role in combat, you can only plan so much...

    How would you alter CR? should it lean more towards how lethal an enemy is under ideal circumstances? Maybe a metric for how dangerous it is for different types of adventurers? I have a feeling the latter could end up being quite a long list, with certain races and classes being all but immune to certain mechanics and others being super vulnerable to them

    I feel like the best course of action would be a section in the DMG about how to alter CR based upon circumstances and making sure you as the DM are familiar with your party's capabilities, resistances, and movement types... but that might already be in there

    I do think 5e is particularly gnarly to DM if you haven't either played it before or have previous DMing experience from another edition - but I don't think that's a problem as long as you and your players understand you might need a few sessions to get good at it. I feel like the official "starter" adventures are generally pretty well balanced and even give you tips for how to play monsters so you get an idea of how hard they should be

    I definitely think the DMG undersold the absolute importance of this aspect of encounter design. Like I'll outright say they fucked the presentation of this part both in the placement of the section, and the lack of depth to the examples.

    They definitely failed to explain how simple things can affect encounter balance and it's why i try to clear it up and explain that even the most mundane of combat aspects can give an advantage to one side or another.

    Like

    archers in close combat? Easy encounter
    Same archers 90 feet away? Harder encounter
    Same archers 70 feet away and at the top of an unscaleable wall? That's like 2 steps harder.

    override367
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Where and how you are likely to encounter a monster are things baked into its CR. Those things effect the difficulty.

    Dragon's, where you're either going to find them flying in the wilderness or at the end of the dungeon have this factored in. "The encounter starts at 90 feet and no one gets a surprise round; ignore the fact that 90 feet is just close enough for if to hit you but not for you to get into melee of it if you beat its initiative and also inside of your maximum range so you had to let the monster get close to you before engaging and also none of the characters which are squishy are behind obstructions because you decided to start the fight at 90 feet for some reason" is not a fair or reasonable encounter based on the stat block or history of the creature. Such an encounter design, while maybe the norm for other monsters(it really isn't), is actually ridiculous.

    More or less there are two times you can encounter a dragon

    1) You come around a corner and there is a dragon. The dragon can only breath weapon the person in the party who is first in marching order. This does not let the dragon one shot any party member as the majority of players will have too much HP and these party members will be first in marching order.

    2) You encounter the dragon in the wilderness, where it is flying, and where you will see it, automatically with no stealth check far in advance of hundreds of feet because that is actually how stealth checks work

    wbBv3fj.png
  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    given that the dice play such a crucial role in combat, you can only plan so much...

    How would you alter CR? should it lean more towards how lethal an enemy is under ideal circumstances? Maybe a metric for how dangerous it is for different types of adventurers? I have a feeling the latter could end up being quite a long list, with certain races and classes being all but immune to certain mechanics and others being super vulnerable to them

    I feel like the best course of action would be a section in the DMG about how to alter CR based upon circumstances and making sure you as the DM are familiar with your party's capabilities, resistances, and movement types... but that might already be in there

    It ought to better match monster performance and account for special abilities, especially those which result in spike damage. At minimum, damage expressions should have been checked against character HP at the low end of range that can encounter the creature; a creature which can deal twice a player's maximum health in damage in one round is simply not a nonlethal threat.

    The underlying problem is bounded accuracy - CR tries to peg a kind of 'objective difficulty' for a monster that governs both how dangerous it is for a level 2 character and how dangerous it is to a level 10 character, and that system just doesn't actually work that well and leads to bad results at the extremes and a lot of monster entries that are fudged to make them work at the end of the range they're actually intended for (leaving them problematic at the other end).

    The monster level+standard/solo/elite/minion system worked substantially better, with more predictable outcomes, better monster-building guidance, and less bookkeeping. It'd be difficult to reverse-engineer that system onto 5e's existing statblocks, but you probably could if you wanted to undertake that scale of a project.
    Sleep wrote: »
    Abbalah wrote: »
    90 feet is a typical combat range but it would be extremely unusual for a creature to come up upon a party that are practically hugging each other, go before all of them in combat, be unseen by all of them before getting there, and have a direct path to them

    I think it would be reasonable to raise the CR of the encounter if the enemy is facing optimal circumstances

    Yeah, that wasn't the example either. The thing wouldn't even be able to hit the whole party if they were bunched up, because the breath weapon is a line not a cone. The point was just that it deals enough damage to instantly kill whoever it does hit by massive damage if fought at level = CR, not that it would hit the whole party. It literally just had to be able to hit a person.

    Encounter starts at range of 90 feet or less, both sides aware of the other, nobody gets a surprise round. That's the whole scenario. This laundry list of superfluous nonsense Goum mentions is all an addition from his side aimed at casting the encounter as one that is weirdly and specifically optimal for the monster in order to justify modifying the encounter difficulty, something that requires an advantage on the order of a surprise round to be warranted but which Goum and Sleep tried to use to insist that any encounter with a monster with an inappropriate CR would just need a difficulty modification based on 'circumstances', rendering the difficulty appropriate and the CR correct. Sleep went so far as to suggest - stop me if this starts to sound familiar - that there was no 'normal' way to encounter any creature that didn't require difficulty adjustment due to situational modifiers, and that every conceivable way in which an encounter could be set up would warrant some kind of situational modifier due to one side having a circumstantial advantage. It's not how that modifier actually works.

    Actually it is, insisting it isn't hurts new players.

    There is no white room.

    The party being at the end of their day is enough to bump up the difficulty rating on an encounter.

    The point is that the DM is supposed to take all facts under consideration and figure out if in this instance those facts give anyone an advantage over the other side.

    My position doesn't require a white room, you're being reductionist. You modify encounter difficulty by one step for the whole party getting a surprise round. Would being at the end of the day count? Arguable, but irrelevant, since they aren't. That modification is for major, unusual circumstances, not so you can apply modifiers to unremarkable, average circumstances that don't especially advantage either side as a way to file problem monsters down to size and then declare there was never a problem.

    And even if thet was the case, the fact that every encounter needs to be manually eyeballed for every possible minor extenuating circumstance to see how much difficulty modification is necessary would itself a huge barrier to new DMs, and thus an example of the system failing to work in the way that it needs to - if you can eyeball all those circumstances accurately then you can probably eyeball the statblocks in the first place, too, without needing CR at all. The system is for people who can't do that, and it fails them. You are categorically wrong, but even if you were right it would still be an example of why the system is shitty at its job.

    I'm not continuing to go in circles with you on this again.
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Where and how you are likely to encounter a monster are things baked into its CR. Those things effect the difficulty.

    Dragon's, where you're either going to find them flying in the wilderness or at the end of the dungeon have this factored in. "The encounter starts at 90 feet and no one gets a surprise round; ignore the fact that 90 feet is just close enough for if to hit you but not for you to get into melee of it if you beat its initiative and also inside of your maximum range so you had to let the monster get close to you before engaging and also none of the characters which are squishy are behind obstructions because you decided to start the fight at 90 feet for some reason" is not a fair or reasonable encounter based on the stat block or history of the creature. Such an encounter design, while maybe the norm for other monsters(it really isn't), is actually ridiculous.

    More or less there are two times you can encounter a dragon

    1) You come around a corner and there is a dragon. The dragon can only breath weapon the person in the party who is first in marching order. This does not let the dragon one shot any party member as the majority of players will have too much HP and these party members will be first in marching order.

    2) You encounter the dragon in the wilderness, where it is flying, and where you will see it, automatically with no stealth check far in advance of hundreds of feet because that is actually how stealth checks work

    Within 90 feet, not at 90 feet. If you prefer, 'at whatever range allows both sides to move in and engage on their own initiative'. It can be 30 feet if you want, I don't give a shit, it doesn't matter! Whether you think it's sufficiently verisimilitudinous based on your imaginary idea of the normal hunting habits of a dragon or not, that's how most DnD encounters actually happen: You roll initiative at a range where both sides are close enough together that whoever wins initiative can move up and attack. There are not a lot of encounters that start with 'you spot your opponents 300 feet away because that's how stealth checks work. Roll initiative, then each side will spend five turns hustling into melee with each other before the fight starts for real'.

    And just for the sake of argument, let's pretend it only gets to breath weapon the first guy because - for some reason - it can't both move and attack on its own initiative, and all the party members who beat it on initiative spent their turn hiding around the corner. it still probably kills him by massive damage. It's a CR 1 creature dealing an average of 18 damage, and very few level 1 characters are going to have more than 9 HP. There is every possibility that even in your intentionally restrictive version of events it breathes on the first guy in the marching order and gibs him anyway. That is not consistent with a reasonably nonlethal challenge.

    Like, I corrected you on all this stuff the first time around, and it seemed like you were being intentionally obtuse then. I'm not sure what to make of it this time.

    And good lord, if where and how you are supposed to encounter a monster is baked into its CR, then why are we accounting for it again at the end? I mean, other than the inconveniently true answer, which is that you're hoping to double-count it so you can come up with a CR that is more accurate than the real one.

    Abbalah on
    ElvenshaeSaint JusticeJustTee
  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    Abblah you're just plain wrong and interacting with the system the way you suggest produces bad outcomes, no one should listen to you about how this subsystem works because you refuse to interact with it the way that actually works.

    Like you'd probably do killer at rebuilding the monster system from the ground up to offer an alternative, but your understanding of the current encounter building guidelines for 5th as they currently exist is critically flawed

    Sleep on
  • KasynKasyn Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    Abbalah wrote: »
    Sleep wrote: »
    If you're interacting with the system incorrectly, in a way that produces bad outcomes I'm going to point out the way you're interacting with the system that's possibly fuckin up your results.

    Folks still seem pretty salty over the CR argument a while back and it's seemingly mainly because the answer to the issue there is that situation and combat presentation is way more important to encounter difficulty than the monsters present in the combat necessarily are. The map is more important than the monsters, and that's a hard aspect to deal with, but the DMG gives guidelines on how to consider such aspects in the encounter difficulty calculation (if in far too little detail and in a pretty bad place in the encounter building guidelines). It's right there in the encounter building system to consider that shit, and that such considerations can be responsible for way more of the encounter difficulty rating of an encounter than the monsters themselves.

    If you're interacting with a sub system incorrectly at a base level I'm going to point that out because it's probably really fuckin with your ability to use the system.

    I've seen people that outright skip the last part of encounter difficulty determination and complain when the combat they designed was either way too deadly, or way too easy for what the calc said even though they skipped one of the most important parts of the difficulty determination process.

    The part that is unfortunate is that when pointing out how folks might be interacting with a system incorrectly the general response, despite my ability to cite where I'm pulling from, is to tell me I have no idea what I'm talking about, and couldn't possibly understand game design.

    I'm trying to explain how the actual system works, how you're supposed to interface with it at a base level, and give guidance on how to get better outcomes with that system including a few cheats I've gathered in my time. You can insist I'm wrong, but I'm following the guidelines and not running into a bunch of trouble.

    I think you could possibly understand game design, but when faced with the option generally prefer to dig in your heels and double down on a ill-conceived position instead.

    People don't skip the last part of encounter difficulty, they just don't use it the way you do because you use it wrong. It's there to account for major situational advantages that deviate substantially from an even-footing encounter, not to serve as a black box sliding multiplier that you can use to handwave your encounter into being whatever difficulty you've eyeballed it to be.

    And of course, as per your own explanation in the original conversation on this subject, you're following the guidelines (except when you don't) and not running into a bunch of trouble (except when you do), because the rules work just fine (except when they don't, which doesn't count).
    Kasyn wrote: »
    Abbalah wrote: »
    Kasyn wrote: »
    This still sounds very much like you and your players want to play a game designed like a video game. You seem to have this false assumption that game design principles are fully universal, and the fact is, only some of them are. I know it's getting tedious to hear it, but a lot of your issues seem to go back to a fundamental sticking point, which is that this isn't an entirely different game.

    No, I'd like to play a game designed like a game, and 'you just want a video game' as a critique was already meaningless invective ten years ago. It continues to be telling that - even after having it directly pointed out - the responses to people bringing up their issues with 5e are still just a recycled grab bag of "you can fix this by making up different rules yourself, so it doesn't need to be fixed", "stop trying to use the rules for this", "I think it works fine for me so there's nothing wrong with it", "it's supposed to be that way", and "you just want your hand held because you're not cut out for tabletop games".

    That's not how you design a game, it's not how you discuss a game, it's not how you develop a better understanding of game design as a principle, and it's not how you grow a hobby.

    I gave a substantial amount of productive and realistic advice throughout that post that did not involve "making up different rules for yourself" or dismissing specific concerns arbitrarily. Ignore it if you'd like, but I'm not going to say that you're being anything other than dense for doing so and continuing to straw man people's helpful responses.

    I could go through your post piece by piece to demonstrate how I'm in no way strawmanning you here, but I'll just highlight this line here:
    I hate to be a dick but I think you should just be playing a video game

    Not only is this terrible, useless, condescending, gatekeeping advice, but people who actually think they're giving productive, helpful responses generally don't feel the need to include the phrase "I hate to be a dick", and, similarly, people who say "I hate to be a dick, but" almost never actually hate being dicks and indeed have actively chosen to do so.

    Was that quote the sum total of my post? No, it was most definitely not.

    Here's why I approached that response the way I did.

    Several issues were pointed out, all of them being presented as design flaws with various core parts of the game. Some were totally valid, some were neglecting answers/content that is very easily found in the relevant sections of the book, some were pointlessly nitpicky. I responded to some and dismissed others. My sense continues to be that the connective tissue between a lot of those objections is that the players are seeking a game experience that is constructed so concretely that it is fundamentally at odds with the level of open-endedness that is at the heart of this game system. OR - and this is mostly you doing it - they are flat out ignoring things that are addressed in the material.

    I do not, and the hobby does not, owe you an infinite amount of indulgence for continued objections regardless of their rationality. There has been no shortage of good and practical advice in this thread on very many different subjects, if you want to keep banging these drums in the face of usable advice that directly addresses your issues, people are going to stop considering your critiques valid.

    Kasyn on
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Abbalah wrote: »

    The underlying problem is bounded accuracy - CR tries to peg a kind of 'objective difficulty' for a monster that governs both how dangerous it is for a level 2 character and how dangerous it is to a level 10 character, and that system just doesn't actually work that well and leads to bad results at the extremes and a lot of monster entries that are fudged to make them work at the end of the range they're actually intended for (leaving them problematic at the other end).

    The monster level+standard/solo/elite/minion system worked substantially better, with more predictable outcomes, better monster-building guidance, and less bookkeeping. It'd be difficult to reverse-engineer that system onto 5e's existing statblocks, but you probably could if you wanted to undertake that scale of a project.

    I don't understand what you want when you say what is in the quotes. Do you want a system that doesn't have a quantifiable difficulty? IF you do then why would you want level/standard/solo/elite minion? Did you think that 4e's system worked for all parties (even ignoring the fact that the math was off and needed to be fixed) or that leveling up/down encounters didn't have tangible effects on the combat balance?

    And i really don't see what bounded accuracy has to do with it.

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  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Abbalah wrote: »
    You roll initiative at a range where both sides are close enough together that whoever wins initiative can move up and attack.

    No. You roll initiative when someone does something that requires initiative to be rolled. The key is the "someone does something". If the dragon attacks or if a player attacks or if there are contesting actions where the order of the actions matter.

    You do not "roll initiative when you're at a range where both sides are close enough to move up and attack if they win init". Players would respond be eschewing range because high ranged options would be a disadvantage rather than an advantage!

    OK, sure you could just not roll initiative until that point but you would still let your players attack a creature in range even if you were doing it out of the initiative order. Right?

    wbBv3fj.png
  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    edited August 2018
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Abbalah wrote: »

    The underlying problem is bounded accuracy - CR tries to peg a kind of 'objective difficulty' for a monster that governs both how dangerous it is for a level 2 character and how dangerous it is to a level 10 character, and that system just doesn't actually work that well and leads to bad results at the extremes and a lot of monster entries that are fudged to make them work at the end of the range they're actually intended for (leaving them problematic at the other end).

    The monster level+standard/solo/elite/minion system worked substantially better, with more predictable outcomes, better monster-building guidance, and less bookkeeping. It'd be difficult to reverse-engineer that system onto 5e's existing statblocks, but you probably could if you wanted to undertake that scale of a project.

    I don't understand what you want when you say what is in the quotes. Do you want a system that doesn't have a quantifiable difficulty? IF you do then why would you want level/standard/solo/elite minion? Did you think that 4e's system worked for all parties (even ignoring the fact that the math was off and needed to be fixed) or that leveling up/down encounters didn't have tangible effects on the combat balance?

    And i really don't see what bounded accuracy has to do with it.

    Bounded accuracy, in effect, tries to let the exact same statblock be, say, a level 1 solo and a level 5 standard monster. That doesn't actually work, so it gets kludged together in the hopes that it'll work well enough that people don't notice, and that leads to problems when things like damage expressions that would be fine on a level 5 monster get thrown at level 1 characters with way less HP.

    Like, there was a reason that 4e had solo monsters instead of telling you to just throw a level 12 monster at your level 4 party or whatever and use it as a solo. That reason still exists in 5e, they just flattened the curve enough to make it less obviously problematic. But making a problem half as big doesn't eliminate it, and these poorly-CRed monsters are how that issue manifests.
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Abbalah wrote: »
    You roll initiative at a range where both sides are close enough together that whoever wins initiative can move up and attack.

    No. You roll initiative when someone does something that requires initiative to be rolled.

    Sure. My point is that in most cases, at most tables, that happens when everyone is more or less in range of everyone else. Players on one end of a room, monsters on the other, is a very normal, standard way for a fight to start, and does not inherently warrant a difficulty adjustment just because the monsters will do a lot of damage if they hit the players. That's not a function of a special circumstance, that's a function of the monster.

    Abbalah on
    ElvenshaeJustTee
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