5E Helping melee combat to be more competitive to ranged. - Page 67
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  1. #661
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    I get that each player is asked to declare his action. But where does the time savings come in? Do you have each player resolve his action by himself, once you've determined that there are nothing stopping that action from happening?

    And do you always assume a PC acts before the goblin (or goblins) that he's attacking and attacked by?

    Or what?

    (On second thought, perhaps it would be best if you replied in a new thread, but I leave that decision up to you)
    I started a new thread here (http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...52#post6984752) which I hope answers your questions above.

  2. #662
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Sorry, but are you now bringing in (quite high level) spells into this?

    And counting repellant blast as an auto-kill doesn't get us anywhere, I'm afraid. Sure its useful in that particular scenario, but going to the lengths where you say you'd rather have repellant blast for the off-chance of doing that over reliable damage?!

    As for Sorlocks in general, the comparison can't ever become fair unless you consider the character's defense. After all, the basic attraction of the Crossbow Expert is that she is a fully fledged fighter, with all the sturdiness that comes with that chassi.

    I think we will never get anywhere if we don't try to focus on a single case - a player desiring to create a character focussed on dealing damage through weapons. What options are there?

    One more thing: I'm sure this isn't the first time where I ask y'all to not merely calculate -5/+10 as 25% less accuracy. That's exactly the simplistic analysis that probably made the WotC designer think the feat was alright in the first place.

    Still, you say something I would like you to expand upon. You say SS "isn't responsible for ranged dominance in 5E". You mean there is something else that carries that responsibility? And I think you say you need -5/+10 to make fighters fun. Do you mean that fighters aren't fun in a game without feats, or what?

    To me it's obvious -5/+10 must be taken away from archers in particular (because otherwise ranged is equal to melee and therefore superior) and fighters in general (because otherwise every other fighter build is left in the dust, and monster HP melt away far too quickly).

    I'm repeating this, because I feel uncertain where you're going with the discussion, and wanted to ensure we're still talking about the same thing.
    Oh, come on! If we're talking about 12th level Sharpshooter Crossbow Experts, there's nothing weird or "quite high level" about 4th level Wall of Fire (available at 7th)! (Especially considering that Spike Growth works just as well starting at only 3rd level--although that requires cooperation from a druid, ranger, or lore bard, which I think would start another argument over party cooperation/composition.)

    Repelling Blast is quite good in a number of different scenarios--you can't claim that it's being taken only for the specific scenario of knocking enemies off cliffs. It has damage and control applications. Besides, all you asked for was an example of something better than Crossbow Expert/Sharpshooter.

    Sorlocks aren't at all fragile. Sorcerer 1/Life Cleric 1/Warlock 2/Sorcerer 8 gives you AC 20 (up to 27 if needed with Shield of Faith + Shield spell) plus 57 spell points (or equivalent spell slots) plus 2 first-level warlock slots (or 4 spell points). Put that together with the intrinsic defensive advantages of ranged combat and you have a PC who isn't fragile in the slightest.

    You are trying to limit the discussion to "a single case", but doing so is leading you to false conclusions, like believing that ranged superiority is predicated on Sharpshooter's -5/+10 bonus option. You could disprove your hypotheses with a little effort if you were willing to look at the broader cases, like Sorlocks, but because you've limited yourself to that single case it apparently doesn't occur to you to examine related cases.

    Fighters aren't fun (IMO) in a game without feats, because feats are so much a part of their identity. E.g. the Champion with a Healer feat, or the knight with the Heavy Armor Master feat. I think fighters could still potentially be fun in a game where feats can't be taken with normal 4th/8th/12th/16th/19th level ASIs, but if you bar fighters from taking feats with their bonus 6th/14th level ASIs I think they become boring--like a sorcerer who's only allowed to spend sorcery points on extra spells and not metamagics.

    I think Sharpshooter and GWM are important for fighters' fun because that's how 20th level fighters can claim the title of "best at-will damage dealer in the game", which gives them a niche. If you were interested purely in tanking you'd be a paladin or paladorc instead. If you eliminate Sharpshooter/GWM then the title of "best at-will damage dealer in the game" goes to someone else like an Eldritch Knight 7/Warlock 2/Rogue 11, which I find a bit silly.

    In short--and I don't want to be disrespectful here so I'll try to put this gently--but I think you aren't yet seeing what's actually happening with the 5E game rules, and you're jumping to conclusions about how to "fix" the discrepancy you do see. You admitted yourself that you didn't perceive ranged superiority until a few months ago; I perceived it years ago and I've had a lot of time to see factors which make it even stronger, and ways to exploit it more efficiently.

    The source of ranged combat's superiority to melee specialization in 5E is a confluence of factors including (1) very flexible movement rules including mounted combat rules; (2) elimination of "requires +2 or better to hit" and introduction of at-will cantrips/elimination of old-style Magic Resistance, which removes one of the main factors that used to make melee combat necessary; (3) introduction of richer and more effective defensive maneuvers, especially Dodge; (4) harsh range limits on monsters' abilities like Medusa gaze which rewards not getting into melee; (5) bounded accuracy and strong summoning spells which makes it both simple and effective to flood the enemy with weak meat shields--without this it would be viable for an enemy to simply ignore a ranger's or sorlock's meatshields and go after their master, but under 5E rules the meat shields and ranged attacks synergize in a way that melee attacks do not, especially given concentration rules; (6) light/obscurement rules which make it possible to gain advantage at range as easily as (but differently than) when in melee; (7) feats like Sharpshooter and Spell Sniper which synergize with Dodging rules to allow e.g. one tank to hold a chokepoint while all the ranged PCs behind him slaughter the enemy with ranged attacks without a penalty; (8) cheap equipment, cantrips (mold earth), and tactics for impairing enemy mobility; (9) fighting styles (Archery) which synergize better with Sharpshooter feat than melee styles (Dueling, Defense, Great Weapon Fighting) synergize with melee feats (GWM, Shield Master, Polearm Master).

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Only a few of the factors are even tangentially related to feats, and the -5/+10 aspect of Sharpshooter really doesn't even factor in at all.
    Last edited by FormerlyHemlock; Monday, 2nd January, 2017 at 08:20 PM.
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  3. #663
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hemlock View Post
    Oh, come on! If we're talking about 12th level Sharpshooter Crossbow Experts, there's nothing weird or "quite high level" about 4th level Wall of Fire (available at 7th)!
    Sorry if I didn't make myself clear. Obviously a spellcaster in a level 12 scenario can cast this spell.

    But the character can't.

    I realize you consider a sorlock capable of casting this spell as a viable option to a Crossbow Expert (or any other fighter archetype). But to me, it only muddles the issue.

    Your point might well be that fighters can't compete with spellcasters; the linear fighter quadratic wizard thing. And you might well be right - just like people clamored for bad-ass Legolas fighters, they've been clamoring for spellswords with powerful magic.

    And more to the point: just like I'm claiming they forgot to make sure there's still a reason to create melee builds if restrictions on ranged are removed, you might claim they forgot to make sure there's still a reason to create martial builds at all if magical builds can still be sturdy and robust enough.

    It just feels like a completely different discussion to me....

  4. #664
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hemlock View Post
    You admitted yourself that you didn't perceive ranged superiority until a few months ago; I perceived it years ago and I've had a lot of time to see factors which make it even stronger, and ways to exploit it more efficiently.
    Well, that was a bit of a cheap shot, wasn't it...

    Of course I didn't mean ranged superiority in its general sense. That much has been obvious for long. I specifically meant it took me a while to realize exactly how many checks on ranged builds WotC has done away with in this edition.

    What I mean is that any reasonably effiency-minded player will create a character able to project force at range, unless the game rules actively rewards melee builds.

    I don't deny (or even mind) that ranged is superior in general. I just don't want it to be the go-to option in my D&D. For that to happen, there must be a considerable cost to ranged capability.

  5. #665
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hemlock View Post
    You are trying to limit the discussion to "a single case", but doing so is leading you to false conclusions, like believing that ranged superiority is predicated on Sharpshooter's -5/+10 bonus option. You could disprove your hypotheses with a little effort if you were willing to look at the broader cases, like Sorlocks, but because you've limited yourself to that single case it apparently doesn't occur to you to examine related cases.
    What I am trying to do is enable other fighter builds than ranged builds in particular and other builds than GWM/SS in general.

    Your message seems to make that a hopeless cause.

    We can look at it from two angles.

    One, the regular sword n board fighter is the default.
    Two, the hyper tricked out SS/CE fighter is the default, if even that (if not the ultra-minmaxed Sorlock or whatever).

    I far prefer angle #1, for two main reasons:
    a) if the sword n board fighter is viable (instead of hopelessly behind) this means pretty much ALL fighting styles are viable. This means the game offers great variety and many options, even if you're sensitive to being effective.
    b) monsters remain challenging much longer

  6. #666
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hemlock View Post
    The source of ranged combat's superiority to melee specialization in 5E is a confluence of factors including (1) very flexible movement rules including mounted combat rules; (2) elimination of "requires +2 or better to hit" and introduction of at-will cantrips/elimination of old-style Magic Resistance, which removes one of the main factors that used to make melee combat necessary; (3) introduction of richer and more effective defensive maneuvers, especially Dodge; (4) harsh range limits on monsters' abilities like Medusa gaze which rewards not getting into melee; (5) bounded accuracy and strong summoning spells which makes it both simple and effective to flood the enemy with weak meat shields--without this it would be viable for an enemy to simply ignore a ranger's or sorlock's meatshields and go after their master, but under 5E rules the meat shields and ranged attacks synergize in a way that melee attacks do not, especially given concentration rules; (6) light/obscurement rules which make it possible to gain advantage at range as easily as (but differently than) when in melee; (7) feats like Sharpshooter and Spell Sniper which synergize with Dodging rules to allow e.g. one tank to hold a chokepoint while all the ranged PCs behind him slaughter the enemy with ranged attacks without a penalty; (8) cheap equipment, cantrips (mold earth), and tactics for impairing enemy mobility; (9) fighting styles (Archery) which synergize with Sharpshooter feat than melee styles (Dueling, Defense, Great Weapon Fighting) synergize with melee feats (GWM, Shield Master, Polearm Master).

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Only a few of the factors are even tangentially related to feats, and the -5/+10 aspect of Sharpshooter really doesn't even factor in at all.
    I don't see your point here Hemlock.

    The only way I can understand what you're saying is if you're saying "stop trying to make 5E work like the D&D we knew; 5E is a game of ranged superiority and there's nothing you can do about so why not enjoy it for what it is".



    (I mean, your list of points is definitely talk-worthy; I just need to understand where you're coming from)

  7. #667
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    That is a valid question, Seebs.

    If you can come up with another source of great damage, or even a build where something else is more valuable than damage; I'm all ears, because we haven't (so far).
    Ignore the "other source of damage".

    Say you have a base to-hit bonus of +6, your base damage is average 5 points with a +3 damage modifier, you have a -5/+10 ability, and you have the ability to "mitigate" the -5, which is to say, you have the ability to add +5 to hit somehow.

    You now have three options: +6 to hit, average damage 8. +1 to hit, average damage 18. And +11 to hit, average damage 8, using the +5 without the -5 to offset it. The +6/8 only beats +1/18 if AC is 19 or 20, and breaks even at AC 18. But +11/+8 beats +1/18 from 15 and up, ties at 14, and is only worse against 11-13.

    In short, you're disregarding that -5 because you "have mitigated it", but you're not considering what benefits you'd gain if you just went with the bonuses you're using to "mitigate" it, and hit a heck of a lot more often. Furthermore, hitting more often can improve things for PCs by making combat less swingy. And that's not even taking into account overkill. You get exactly zero benefit from damage done beyond what it takes to kill something. If something has <10 hp left, you're unconditionally better off not taking that -5, because hitting it will kill it anyway. And things may well spend some time with <10 hp left.
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  8. #668
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Well, that was a bit of a cheap shot, wasn't it...

    Of course I didn't mean ranged superiority in its general sense. That much has been obvious for long. I specifically meant it took me a while to realize exactly how many checks on ranged builds WotC has done away with in this edition.

    What I mean is that any reasonably effiency-minded player will create a character able to project force at range, unless the game rules actively rewards melee builds.

    I don't deny (or even mind) that ranged is superior in general. I just don't want it to be the go-to option in my D&D. For that to happen, there must be a considerable cost to ranged capability.
    This is exactly the point I perceived two years ago (IIRC as soon as I bought a copy of the MM) and have been dealing with in one way or another ever since, both in theorycrafted Internet discussions and at the table.

    I doubt I was anywhere near the first one to notice it--it's a pretty obvious feature of 5E. I remember @Celtavian started a discussion around that time about how crippling the concentration limits were because spellcasters "have" to spend their concentration on getting the melee guys into combat with the Fly spell, and a number of people on that thread were like, "Dude, spend your concentration on something else. Ranged weapons are where it's at now."

    Pointing out that you're late to the party isn't meant as a cheap shot--but you are late to the party, and so someone who's been dealing with this all along is entitled to look a bit askance when you arrogantly announce that you have discovered a major issue and also one simple trick that fixes it completely. So far you haven't seemed to listen to anyone who tells you how they've dealt with the issue at their tables, whether by encounter modification (I'll bet it's not an issue at @Flamestrike's table for example, because he'll just make all the monsters pop out of the dungeon walls within melee range of the party; I bet @Hawkeye has done occasional encounters in windy conditions or underwater to impose disadvantage on ranged attacks; probably everyone has done the occasional encounter with invisible stalkers or earth elementals/bulettes/other creatures that burrow) or monster modification (e.g. monsters with Missile Catch abilities a la monks; flying monsters like dragons that can close in a single round by dive-bombing the PCs; Medusas that can turn you to stone at a thousand paces if your vision is keen enough) or terrain modification or rule modification (a number of people have shared suggestions in this thread, some overlapping with yours and some not).

    If you actually want to solve the issue at your table, maybe some humility is called for? If you instead want to shape the future of 5E by evangelizing your viewpoint, then come to Seattle instead and buy Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford a nice dinner while you evangelize to them--because Enworld threads sure aren't going to influence that.
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  9. #669
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    I don't see your point here Hemlock.

    The only way I can understand what you're saying is if you're saying "stop trying to make 5E work like the D&D we knew; 5E is a game of ranged superiority and there's nothing you can do about so why not enjoy it for what it is".



    (I mean, your list of points is definitely talk-worthy; I just need to understand where you're coming from)
    Look, CapnZapp. I don't think "the game we knew" is even the same game--I never played 3E or 3.5, and yet I often see you reference it as your baseline edition. I'm not interested in trying to make 5E work like 3E; I do have some neat things from AD&D that I've imported into 5E (Magic Resistance), and others that I wish I could import but haven't yet found a way to do so idiomatically (golem immunities to magic; higher-level weapon immunities).

    So there's a bit of a pronoun problem here. There is no "we".

    I'm not necessarily telling you to stop trying to make it work like the game you knew, whatever that is; but I've listed some of the factors you need to be aware of before you start tinkering with the game design. In previous posts I've listed other things you could do, separately or in combination, so clearly I'm not telling you that it's futile to try to make melee fighters relevant.

    I'm approaching this thread like a powergamer or a game designer wearing a powergamer's hat to evaluate his game. That's where I'm coming from. If you were asking for advice from me wearing my DM-as-adventure-builder's hat, I'd be telling you to plan an adventure in the Vertical Cliffs of Colossus in which the PCs pursue a trail up through caves up through (and sometimes on) a cliff face past the Djinn Guardians of Rao to reach the Jade McGuffin of Humanityness which can save Lorella's baby from lycanthropy, all while being pursued by a cult of earth creatures who can phase through the rocks just like earth elementals. In that adventure, beefy sword-fighters will be as valuable as anyone, maybe even more so depending on what kind of sword-fighters they are.

    But this thread is about rules, so I've been giving mostly rule advice on what you can do on a systemic level to alter the incentives of your game.

    P.S. Oh yeah, I forgot one major thing you can do to incentivize sword-and-shield fighting: hand out a +3 shield that prevents you from dropping to 0 HP once per long rest (like the half-orc ability) while you're using it. Bam, done. I tend to overlook magic items as a motivator because I hate magic items, but they do unquestionably shape player incentives.
    Last edited by FormerlyHemlock; Monday, 2nd January, 2017 at 08:57 PM.

  10. #670
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    As far as I can tell, @CapnZapp was giving average damage, not maximum:

    5* (1d6 handxbow +15 feat & DEX) = 5*18.5 rounds off to 90 for the hand crossbow expert (the maximum would be 105, but maximums aren't that significant to this analysis), and 4* (1d8 sword +5 STR) = 38 which CapnZapp has rounded down to 30 rather than up to 40.

    In your post you have calculated the averages but for some reason described them as maximums. I'm sure that @CapnZapp has not "intentionally butchered the maths" - rather, I suspect that an error was made in calculating the sword damge (I am guessing that CapnZapp accidentally calculated as if it was 1d6 rather than 1d8, which would give 34 which might reasonably be rounded down to 30).
    The damage Zapp and I calculated was the average damage assuming the maximum number of attacks hit. He even says he's not taking hit probability into account and neither am I. He listed it as 90 and 30. By the formula he used, this is wrong. The sword damage should be 38. And we can't even take that number seriously as he didn't give the sword guy dueling fighting style, which would increase his damage by 8 to 46. The difference between 30 and 46 isn't trivial. It's over 50% higher than what he calculated.

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