5E Helping melee combat to be more competitive to ranged.
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  1. #1
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    Helping melee combat to be more competitive to ranged.

    Personaly, I think that melee combat is lagging a bit behind ranged combat. But not by much.

    Here is few suggestions to help it along.


    1. Raise the damage die of non-finesse melee weapons by one die. 1d4->1d6,1d6->1d8,1d8->1d10,1d10->2d6,1d12/2d6->2d8.

    2. Making ranged attack provokes Attack of Opportunity(AoO) in addition of suffering disadvantage ot attack roll.

    3. AoO does not use reaction. Reaction should be used of special class abilities not a simple swing. You have a number of AoOs per round equal to your proficiency bonus.

    4. Ready action can be used to make every attack as normal Attack action. That way when archer peek around corner to shoot you can make your "full attack" on him.

    5. Count the damn ammunition and check for load. Archers cannot pass whole campaign with starting 30 arrows and they sure can't carry 500 arrows around without magic quivers/bags of holding.

    6. Add charge action: Action, add half your speed to your movement this round, but all movement must be in a straight line. If you move atleast 20ft make one melee attack as bonus action.

    7. Add new feat: combat reflexes: +1 to str, dex or con. You have advantage on AoO attack roll, and deal max damage with AoO.

    8. Add Run action: After you use your action to Dash, you can use bonus action to Run. Add your base move speed to your total speed for this round(with Dash, total of 3 speed). You can only move in a straight line.
    Last edited by Horwath; Tuesday, 13th December, 2016 at 09:27 AM.

  2. #2
    Start encounters 20-40' away. In dungeons preferably.

    It works for me.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamestrike View Post
    Start encounters 20-40' away. In dungeons preferably.

    It works for me.
    Not all settings are 2020 rooms in dungeons with 10ft corridors in between.

    In somewhat open terrain minimum range for encounter is 60ft(normal darkvision range) or 150ft(longbow range). If there is open terrain al around, that is 5 rounds to close down to melee.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Horwath View Post
    Not all settings are 2020 rooms in dungeons with 10ft corridors in between.

    In somewhat open terrain minimum range for encounter is 60ft(normal darkvision range) or 150ft(longbow range). If there is open terrain al around, that is 5 rounds to close down to melee.
    Ever walked through a forest? Or a jungle? Or looked at a map and seen contour lines?

    Or watched Revenant where the bear is... right there.

    Just start your encounter descriptions with: 'As you enter the clearing you spot a pack of wolves emerging from the treeline about 30' away...' or 'Rounding the bend on the road around a small hillock, you come across a band of Ogres crossing the road at a distance of 40'.. or 'As you come up the ridge line, you peer over it and into the dead ground on the other side. You notice a manticore taking a drink in the creekline on the other side, about 50' from your position' or 'As you wander through the barren bad-lands (checks passive perception of the PCs, notes two have a good enough bonus) you notice movement in the rocks around you. You two are not surprised, but the rest of you are as bandits open fire on your position...'

    I mean dont do it all the time. Some encounters you want to start at longer range (to give your casters and ranged guys a chance to shine). 'As you cross the plains, you see a group of humanoids emerge from behind some trees around 300' away...'

    But you dont need complex rules to do it. Just... DM it.
    Last edited by Flamestrike; Tuesday, 13th December, 2016 at 10:31 AM.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Horwath View Post
    Personaly, I think that melee combat is lagging a bit behind ranged combat. But not by much.

    Here is few suggestions to help it along.


    1. Raise the damage die of non-finesse melee weapons by one die. 1d4->1d6,1d6->1d8,1d8->1d10,1d10->2d6,1d12/2d6->2d8.

    2. Making ranged attack provokes Attack of Opportunity(AoO) in addition of suffering disadvantage ot attack roll.

    3. AoO does not use reaction. Reaction should be used of special class abilities not a simple swing. You have a number of AoOs per round equal to your proficiency bonus.

    4. Ready action can be used to make every attack as normal Attack action. That way when archer peek around corner to shoot you can make your "full attack" on him.

    5. Count the damn ammunition and check for load. Archers cannot pass whole campaign with starting 30 arrows and they sure can't carry 500 arrows around without magic quivers/bags of holding.

    6. Add charge action: Action, add half your speed to your movement this round, but all movement must be in a straight line. If you move atleast 20ft make one melee attack as bonus action.

    7. Add new feat: combat reflexes: +1 to str, dex or con. You have advantage on AoO attack roll, and deal max damage with AoO.

    8. Add Run action: After you use your action to Dash, you can use bonus action to Run. Add your base move speed to your total speed for this round(with Dash, total of 3 speed). You can only move in a straight line.
    I guess most of these work, to some extent.

    1. I'm wary of giving player characters extras that monsters don't get (assuming we can't be bothered to change monster stats). Have you considered instead of boosting Strength to nerf Dexterity, perhaps by changing to "all weapon damage is Strength based" (even if the attack is made with Dexterity). While this wouldn't change anything for a Strength 20 Dexterity 20 character, it would at least make such characters more common. That is, it would add a nice bit of MAD to Dex builds to counter all the existing advantages (to range, to AC, to initiative, etc)

    5. I think many groups find equipment administration inappropriately mundane for such a high fantasy game as D&D. If it works for you, great, but running out of ammo even once would simply be boring IMO. Besides, it would only encourage players to bring hundreds of arrows, which means all you end up with is the extra beancounting.

    8. I've done something similar I've added a new action that lets you run twice your Speed (which, combined with your regular movement totals 3x Speed, just like your proposal), but where you must make a DC 10 Dexterity check each time you change course or you fall prone.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Flamestrike View Post
    But you dont need complex rules to do it. Just... DM it.
    This bit needs to go in the "best DM advice ever" thread. It's amazing how many people seem to forget that the DM can DO stuff.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Flamestrike View Post
    Ever walked through a forest? Or a jungle? Or looked at a map and seen contour lines?

    Or watched Revenant where the bear is... right there.

    Just start your encounter descriptions with: 'As you enter the clearing you spot a pack of wolves emerging from the treeline about 30' away...' or 'Rounding the bend on the road around a small hillock, you come across a band of Ogres crossing the road at a distance of 40'.. or 'As you come up the ridge line, you peer over it and into the dead ground on the other side. You notice a manticore taking a drink in the creekline on the other side, about 50' from your position' or 'As you wander through the barren bad-lands (checks passive perception of the PCs, notes two have a good enough bonus) you notice movement in the rocks around you. You two are not surprised, but the rest of you are as bandits open fire on your position...'
    I would love to have your players. No, no sarcasm, Flamestrike. I really am convinced this is the easiest and therefore best option.

    It's just that my players would never not work to avoid this. They always have a point man, ideally an expendable one.

    The end result is that the monsters almost never get that close before Initiative is rolled.

    It doesn't help that D&D starts off by giving player characters better skill scores than almost all monsters. Once your Passive Perception is well past 15, non-supernatural monsters simply can't compete any longer.

    Then add how D&D is chock full of goodies on top, and the deal is sealed. (Just a single example: my party has the perfect scout - it flies, it's invisible and it's expendable: a Warlock Imp familiar)

    So a band of goblins would probably be smart and alert enough to shoot down the Imp, but their ambush would still be ruined.

    A pack of wolves would probably not understand the Imp's noises, and would probably never become aware of the party until they're all Fireballed.

    This doesn't mean I'm not on your side Flamestrike. The only difference is that I acknowledge the way the rules absolutely prevent any mystique or fog of war. Sure you can add that, but then you need to selectively ignore some rules and hope for non-optimal behavior from the group.

    And by non-optimal, I mean in a deal-the-most-damage-while-taking-as-little-damage-ourselves way. In a "maximize the immersiveness and fun" way, your way definitely wins out.

    For newbies and carebears the game probably works alright. It's just that to make the game fun and immersive in the hands of minmaxers and hardened murderhobos, the rules need to be made way less generous.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamestrike View Post
    Ever walked through a forest? Or a jungle? Or looked at a map and seen contour lines?

    Or watched Revenant where the bear is... right there.

    Just start your encounter descriptions with: 'As you enter the clearing you spot a pack of wolves emerging from the treeline about 30' away...' or 'Rounding the bend on the road around a small hillock, you come across a band of Ogres crossing the road at a distance of 40'.. or 'As you come up the ridge line, you peer over it and into the dead ground on the other side. You notice a manticore taking a drink in the creekline on the other side, about 50' from your position' or 'As you wander through the barren bad-lands (checks passive perception of the PCs, notes two have a good enough bonus) you notice movement in the rocks around you. You two are not surprised, but the rest of you are as bandits open fire on your position...'

    I mean dont do it all the time. Some encounters you want to start at longer range (to give your casters and ranged guys a chance to shine). 'As you cross the plains, you see a group of humanoids emerge from behind some trees around 300' away...'

    But you dont need complex rules to do it. Just... DM it.
    Thanks for the suggestion, but you're answering a question I did not ask.

    I know that in dense forrest you can surprise someone 10ft away.


    I'm thinking about solutions for farmlands,grasslands,deserts,glaciers,sparse forrests, lakes and rivers.

    How to close the gap faster and more importantly how to keep melee engagement harded to brake off.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    I would love to have your players. No, no sarcasm, Flamestrike. I really am convinced this is the easiest and therefore best option.

    It's just that my players would never not work to avoid this. They always have a point man, ideally an expendable one.
    Then:

    1) Kill it.
    2) Set up critters with higher Stealth check results than its passive perception (11).
    3) Hit the party from the sides/ rear/ above/ below. Bulettes, Ankhegs etc bursting from the ground. Wyverns etc flying in from above. Things coming at them from the sides. While its off scouting the SE, monsters come in from the NW.

    I mean come on.

    The end result is that the monsters almost never get that close before Initiative is rolled.
    Thats not your players fault. Its the DMs. You designed the encounters knowing the Imp was there.

    If your party are getting the jump on your monsters, its by your own design.

    It doesn't help that D&D starts off by giving player characters better skill scores than almost all monsters. Once your Passive Perception is well past 15, non-supernatural monsters simply can't compete any longer.
    Dim light imposes disadvantage on perception checks. Thats a -5 right there. Plus only dedicated scouts get to apply passive perception (see the exploration rules). And even then, the range they get to apply that passive perception is up to the DM.

    Then add how D&D is chock full of goodies on top, and the deal is sealed. (Just a single example: my party has the perfect scout - it flies, it's invisible and it's expendable: a Warlock Imp familiar)
    It cant fly everywhere at once. Its stealth is only +5. Even while invisible, thats far from assuring it cant be noticed. Heck the first thing it flies past with scent (advantage to smell the thing, even invisible) and it gets eaten.

    Just kill it. Often. It takes time to resummon it. When your party are running against the clock to complete their task and have... oh wait.

    Plus, the thing probably doesnt want to be sent off as an expendable thing to die. It's evil remember. Roleplay it. Have it screw with the party and not tell them, or otherwise subvert its masters orders (all while trying to lay the blame elsewhere).

    This doesn't mean I'm not on your side Flamestrike. The only difference is that I acknowledge the way the rules absolutely prevent any mystique or fog of war. Sure you can add that, but then you need to selectively ignore some rules and hope for non-optimal behavior from the group.
    No, your DMing style encourages this kind of behaviour from your group, and you have no counter to it (which is why they do it). Dont blame your players. If they nova strike or rely on one tactic above all othrs its because you let them.

    Kill the Imp. Have it subvert its orders and lead the PCs into a trap for fun. Unless given incredibly complex orders, it's always going to have wiggle room to do something mischevious. And the more complex the orders, the more loopholes you should be able to find. Its a devil for gods sake.

    Of course, sometimes it should locate the ambush and bail out the party. Its a class feature, and the Warlock should be rewarded for using it.

    Its just your job as DM to not let that happen all the time.

    For newbies and carebears the game probably works alright. It's just that to make the game fun and immersive in the hands of minmaxers and hardened murderhobos, the rules need to be made way less generous.
    Look man, try me.

    Ive offered a billion times, but there is no party (optimised or otherwise) I couldnt run a game for. Feel free to present to me a party, and I'll happily stat it up 6-8 medium-hard encounters (and a reason to engage in those encounters) to challenge the crap out of it.

    I use the same rules that you do, but our DMing styles differ. Thats why we get different results playing the exact same game. Its also why my advice to you is generally 'DM differently' instead of 'Invent a whole slew of house rules to deal with the problem; a problem you probably created yourself as DM'.
    Last edited by Flamestrike; Tuesday, 13th December, 2016 at 12:22 PM.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ath-kethin View Post
    This bit needs to go in the "best DM advice ever" thread. It's amazing how many people seem to forget that the DM can DO stuff.
    Man I had some other dude who hated the simplicity of 5E skill system and drafted a whole slew of charts for skill DCs etc.

    I'm like; why? Now you just have a chart to constantly have to reference and slow the game down (and to get thrust in your face by your players 24/7).

    Just DM. If you're good at it, your players turst you and it just works. If you're not, your players will bail on you, and you'll get better, quick.

    Its an art and not a science. I keep seeing people trying to reduce it to a numbers game. Its not and never has been.
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