The final word on DPR, feats and class balance
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  1. #1
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    Hydra (Lvl 25)



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    The final word on DPR, feats and class balance

    There's way too many threads and retreads about this subject.

    Let me once and for all state the beef about all of this.

    In the beginning there is the fighting man, doing 1d8+5 with his sword once per round (and more often at higher levels).

    This is the baseline I feel monsters are built for.

    This is also my ideal game. No matter your archetype, you will deal comparable damage. If you give up a shield, you gain an appropriate damage bonus. This might be upping the damage die to d12 (which really is 2 less AC for 2 more damage). It might mean slightly more than that. It does not mean upping your damage maximum by 10 and getting pretty frequent bonus attacks.

    If you are a frail combatant you are compensated. Either by getting relatively few big-punch actions (ie spells), or getting more damage (to explain why the party lets in a weak chain; ie rogues)

    Fighting with a sickle, two clubs, a halberd... it's mostly a fashion statement. Sure historically better weapons could give you a slight nod, but not so much that players feel they have to stick with only a few weapons. If a "good" weapon gives you a point extra damage over a "cool" weapon, that's enough to flag real life. Much more than that, and you're asking cool concepts to sacrifice basic utility just for show.

    ---

    Problem #1 is, any group of reasonably experienced D&D gamers create characters with MUCH more damage than that.

    The 5th edition PHB is MUCH more generous with various goodies that allow PCs to run circles around monsters and play with them.

    Problem #2 is, there exists far too many archetypes that can't do much more damage than that.

    Problem #1 means that in any game with feats, multiclassing and magic items monsters (especially at high levels) stop working as listed, requiring DMs to tweak them or outright replace them. I'm sick and tired of not being able to just pull out a stock monster and use it as-is with zero prep, just because my players aren't newbie carebears that are content with not using the options in the PHB!

    Problem #2 means that loads of cool archetypes gets thrown by the wayside simply because it is no fun to be half as effective as the other guy, and some notion of "realism" told the designers only some archetypes get to be effective. Guy with greatsword, okay. Gal with throwing knives, fuggedaboudit.

    ---

    The deep flaws does not end there.

    Even if we say "no feats" the problems do not disappear.

    Warlocks and Sorcerers can do MUCH more damage (than 1d8+5 per attack, and one attack per tier).

    I'm not talking about area attacks or save-or-suck spells. Those are, after all, quite limited in numbers.

    I'm talking about Eldritch Blast. (For instance, limit Agonizing Blast to 30 ft!) I'm talking about twinned Fire Bolt.

    A Dragon Sorcerer isn't that much more frail (and definitely not nearly as frail as a land druid or wizard or lore bard), and can twin Fire Bolt all day, converting most of her considerable spell slots into sorcery points for metamagic (and keeping some slots for Shield etc).

    At HUGE ranges.

    ---

    The despairing realization is that feats are NEEDED for martials to keep up.

    I would never play a regular fighter in a feat-less game, when I could do just as much or even more damage with cantrip classes.

    The problem with "feats are needed" is of course that this leaves a lot of archetypes in the dust.

    For example, there is NO feat to up the damage of Rogues. Only greatweapons, polearms, and for some reason hand crossbows.

    I would much more prefer it if EVERY high level fighter dealt frightening amounts of damage, even when they attack you with a spoon.

    And, in order for monster stat blocks to keep working, that "frightening damage" was not significantly more than 1d12+5 per attack.

    ---

    Saying "no feats in my game" doesn't work, not unless you ban cantrips too.

    You can't just nerf feats like GWM, since that does nothing for the cantrips.

    I'm getting the impression the whole edition is helplessly lopsided and that there is no easy fix

    I'm getting the sinking feeling that in order to achieve a balanced edition, most if not all of the below is needed:

    * nerf or re-price feats
    (The other option, adding feats for underutilized concepts does not work since the maximum DPR is far too high for the Monster Manual as it is. If a greatsword no longer does MUCH more damage than throwing axes or a spear maybe these options will actually see use by DPR-sensitive players)
    * nerf cantrips (with or without feats). Thankfully this is only warlock blast and sorcerer twinning, afaik.
    * nerf ranged attacks more than melee ones. Thrown attacks can be treated as melee ones.
    * start player characters with lower scores
    (PCs vastly outcompete monsters on ability/skill checks including save DCs)
    I'm thinking replacing the "elite array" (old terminology for 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) with the "non-elite" one: 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 (and if rolling; straight 3d6).
    If the distance to 20 becomes greater, feats become more expensive.
    By lowering each attribute by one on average, this means lowering hit points by 10 at level 10. Also good.
    * regulate long rests ie remove the players' power to decide for themselves when and where to rest; in order to reinstate the challenge level of the game. (Since the alternative is to always consider a challenging fight in isolation)

    It's a tall order.
    Last edited by CapnZapp; Saturday, 2nd June, 2018 at 06:53 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Yup, that's why everyone got fed up with it and stopped playing 5e within a year or two of its release.
    Last edited by Caliban; Saturday, 2nd June, 2018 at 01:36 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

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    No, in the beginning was the fighting man, doing 1d6 damage (regardless of weapon). Differences in weapon damage and bonuses to damage from strength came in later supplements. If youĺre going to have a pretense of authority, do your research.

  4. #4
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    Mature players can work out how to create high DPS characters, but choose not too, as they like to do things other than smash hp pi˝atas.

    That's why the average age of players is higher for 5e than for other editions.


    But there are plenty of other RPG systems available, no one is forcing you to play 5e.
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  5. #5
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    Pit Fiend (Lvl 26)

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    You complain and complain and complain and yet you keep playing.

    Methinks he dost protest too much.

    And also @CapnZapp let's get real here for a second... this is BY NO MEANS the "final word" on the subject... because you couldn't stop complaining about this on ENWorld even if you wanted to. There is nothing "final" about any of your statements, because you're going to make the same exact points in some other thread tomorrow. And on Monday. And next week. And next year. Because you can't help yourself.

    You have this platonic ideal in your head for this imaginary game that you and your min-maxing friends can play in every possible combination where every number is equal to every other-- everyone is min-maxed insanely powerfully at high levels and yet the foes are just as powerful so that you as the DM don't have to do any work. Any "balancing factors" that come out of characters that aren't "combat-related" are removed so that every possible archetype is balanced in combat against every other character archetype-- whether or not the archetypes are meant for combat or not.

    Game doesn't exist. Will never exist. And you know this. And yet can't help continually complaining about it. And thus we respond. Again and again and again. Because quite frankly (at least in my case) it's enjoyable to type out just how ridiculous you always sound with your incessant repetitive babbling about this fantasy fantasy game you keep thinking is out there for you.

    Like Sisyphus pushing that boulder up the hill... you keep throwing out ideas on how this min-maxed fantasy D&D could come into existance if only WotC would listen... and with each product and UA that comes out, the boulder goes rolling back down the hill.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DEFCON 1 View Post
    You complain and complain and complain and yet you keep playing.

    Methinks he dost protest too much.

    And also @CapnZapp let's get real here for a second... this is BY NO MEANS the "final word" on the subject... because you couldn't stop complaining about this on ENWorld even if you wanted to. There is nothing "final" about any of your statements, because you're going to make the same exact points in some other thread tomorrow. And on Monday. And next week. And next year. Because you can't help yourself.


    Dude. Don't make it personal. Address the logic of the post, not the person of the poster. Thanks.
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  7. #7
    When you get perfect balance, you get a boring game.

    Street Fighter 1 is perfectly balanced. Who has played that?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingChihuahua View Post
    When you get perfect balance, you get a boring game.
    Right. So, chess and go are boring games. Gotcha. We should let the millions of people who play them know that they're actually bored, no?

    (Sorry for the snark, but the statement was a little out there.)
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Right. So, chess and go are boring games. Gotcha. We should let the millions of people who play them know that they're actually bored, no?

    (Sorry for the snark, but the statement was a little out there.)
    Do you want to have my honest opinion?

    I understand the point, but you're kinda comparing apples to oranges there. If people could choose what the pieces in chess could do, and how much each person could have, you'd have more of a point. D&D is different from chess because there is a lot more choices to it. Making every single one of those choices balanced against each other would just result in everything becoming the same and a lot of the fun will be taken out of the game.

  10. #10
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    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



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    The final word on DPR, feats and class balance

    As usual: wrong.
    Worse yet: boring

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