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  1. #61
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    Tony, when comparing traits among editions, like lethality, we have to use how the game was designed. Not how you totally modified it. Or how I played it. That's subjective and isn't worth a lot to the discussion. You certainly can't make some of the claims you made because you changed the rules to get that experience. I made my post based on how the game is designed, not how it might have been played from group to group. That's the only objective way to make the comparison.

    Like your comment about how by 9th level it wasn't that dangerous anyway. You can't claim that with any sort of objectivity when you say you heavily modified the rules. Looking the rules, how the game was designed, and it was incredibly dangerous even at that level. A single breath weapon attack from a red dragon in 1e would kill half the party at name level even if they made their saves instantly. A couple hits from a vampire would reduce the most stout name level PC to nothing. Magic resistance as a % rendered casters almost worthless. The list goes on.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
    My favorite part of 2e was the beefed up dragons. Such an improvement over 1e IMO. However, having said that this is kinda a cherry-picked example (intended or not). 2e dragons were the toughest dragons (relatively) of any edition.

    Also, a 5e adult red dragon is CR17, it is not meant to be a challenge for 17th level party. Per the encounter guidelines it is a deadly encounter for (4) 12th level PCs, only hard for a group of higher level, and only a medium encounter for a 17th level party. IMO "deadly" is the metric of a "challenging" encounter. So in my mind, and adult red dragon in 5e is meant to challenge PCs in the 12-13 range. . That is also a lot closer to your 2e metric, as failed save could equal out right death for a 5e wizard at that level. Of course, I still think the dragon needs to hit harder too.
    Dragons was the easiest comparison since that's what we're most familiar with, but it's hardly cherry picked. Many of the undead with level drain, umber hulks with confusion, purple worms with swallow, numerous monsters with high magic resistance, medusa/cockatrice/basilisk, chimeras, etc. the list goes on. Monsters as compared to PCs were more deadly in 2e than in 5e. By a wide margin of what they could do to you. And then of course all the other things I mentioned like rot grubs, green slimes, oozes, etc. Way more deadly.
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  3. #63
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    Some quick math illustrates just how big a difference it makes to be able to cast lower spells at higher slots, and why Tony's dismissal at that point is either ignorant of the rules, or disingenuous to the argument. If the cleric maximized on healing spells, this is how much damage they could cure once per day:

    2e 10th level cleric:
    4 cure light: 4-32
    3 cure serious: 9-50
    2 cure critical: 12-54

    Total: 25-136

    5e 10th level cleric, assuming modifier of +4 by this level*
    1st level, 4e: 20-48
    2nd level, 3ea: 18-60
    3rd level, 3ea: 21-84
    4th level: 3ea: 24-108
    5th level: 2ea: 18-88 (84-648 if mass cure wounds is cast)

    Total: 101-388 (with mass cure wounds in conjunction with cure wounds at level 4 and below): 165-948)

    As you can see, it's not even close. Even if you keep the 5e cleric to only cure wounds spells. Then factor the 5e cleric having additional utility with spells like healing word (reaction) and mass curing? Or the added flexibility to keep casting a cure spell if that core level of slots has already been used (a 2e cleric could still have all level 3 slots available and not be able to heal, whereas a 5e cleric can)


    *this illustrates another key difference where 2e was tougher: In 2e, your stats didn't keep going up.
    Last edited by Sacrosanct; Thursday, 30th May, 2019 at 06:59 PM.
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrosanct View Post
    Tony, when comparing traits among editions, like lethality, we have to use how the game was designed. Not how you totally modified it.
    IDK, it was designed to go to -10, but that seemed to disappear to make it /more/ leathal. ::shrug:: ...and AD&D was notorious for being run very differently from place to place & DM to DM.

    And, how the game was designed sometimes just didn't work, it contradicted itself or punted to the DM for a judgement or ruling, making comparison even more fraught. Likewise, there was no helpful CR guide, so if you figured it was fine for purple worms, for instance, to eat 3rd level characters with regularity or whatever, you'd have a much more lethal game than someone who reserved those for deep/high-level dungeons.

    You start running 5e without regard to encounter guidelines, you'll get all the TPKs you want.

    A single breath weapon attack from a red dragon in 1e would kill half the party at name level even if they made their saves instantly. A couple hits from a vampire would reduce the most stout name level PC to nothing. Magic resistance as a % rendered casters almost worthless. The list goes on.
    Those all seem like over-statements, to me. They might be OK, if you made a number of assumptions, fairly meh stats, exactly average hp rolls, no magic items that in any way help, a Huge/Ancient dragon, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrosanct View Post
    Some quick math illustrates just how big a difference it makes to be able to cast lower spells at higher slots, and why Tony's dismissal at that point is either ignorant of the rules, or disingenuous to the argument.
    You don't /need/ to insult me to register disagreement. Just say'n.

    In 2e, spells scaled with class level. In 5e, with slot. The former is much more powerful, in general...


    If the cleric maximized on healing spells, this is how much damage they could cure once per day
    Is not hugely relevant. Yes, 5e Cure Wounds scaling with up-casting theoretically lets you burn every last slot for healing. 5e also scales hps & damage more rapidly than 2e so that scaling is called for. The same was true in 3e, by the simple expedient of having a healing spell at every spell level.
    But, ultimately, if you're putting your whole slate to healing, you're not in the middle of an adventure, you're on to downtime, and you'll prep & cast as many full slates of healing as you need.

    5e spontaneous casting, though, /is/ a more valid point. If a 5e party does get unexpectedly pasted, the cleric /can/ burn slots on healing like crazy, he didn't have to prep all his 1st, 4th & 5th level slots specifically for that purpose, that morning.

    this illustrates another key difference where 2e was tougher: In 2e, your stats didn't keep going up.
    They didn't go up with level, there were items that could boost them, though some radically while you had the item, some incrementally but permanently.

    The scaling in the two games was different. Attack & Saves scaled more quickly in 2e, hps/damage in 5e.


    ...anyway, perhaps more cogent, to make 5e feel more lethal:

    Stick to lower levels (in particular, replacement PC start at first regardless of the party average level).
    Toss the CR guidelines: feel free to use higher-CR monsters and to outnumber the party.
    Feel free to narrate death the same way you would success or failure, numbers notwithstanding. You don't have to add-back SoD to kill a PC with a trap, you just describe the results of an action as a trap going off and killing him.
    Don't pull any punches.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Thursday, 30th May, 2019 at 07:44 PM.
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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrosanct View Post
    Dragons was the easiest comparison since that's what we're most familiar with, but it's hardly cherry picked. Many of the undead with level drain, umber hulks with confusion, purple worms with swallow, numerous monsters with high magic resistance, medusa/cockatrice/basilisk, chimeras, etc. the list goes on. Monsters as compared to PCs were more deadly in 2e than in 5e. By a wide margin of what they could do to you. And then of course all the other things I mentioned like rot grubs, green slimes, oozes, etc. Way more deadly.
    And that is what you want?

    Personally, I think using the available options to a make 5e more dangerous (rest, healing, dying), in cooperation with more deadly encounters gets me where a I want.

    Of course, in my group we have modified AC and HP too, but I feel that is personal taste and not needed for a dangerous feel. I don't want PCs to be wiped out by one bad roll on a regular basis or have to buff them with magical items (which is what I did back in 1e). But everyone is different.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrosanct View Post
    Some quick math illustrates just how big a difference it makes to be able to cast lower spells at higher slots...

    ...As you can see, it's not even close.
    Shouldn't the comparison take into account relative HP and damage. I feel like the difference is not so great if you factor those in.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
    And that is what you want?

    .
    My posts weren't so much in what I want, but in response to Tony saying "I'm not sure where people get the idea 2e was anymore some sort of grueling fantasy Vietnam, anyway." I.e., in comparison to later editions, 2e was very much more lethal by a large amount.
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  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
    Shouldn't the comparison take into account relative HP and damage. I feel like the difference is not so great if you factor those in.
    Even then, 5e PCs don't have 3x-4x the amount of HP as a 2e PC (the ratio of healing output capability). Between 1.5-2x. Not only do 5e clerics get way more healing capability, but 5e PCs get hit dice and heal to max after a long rest, so the 5e cleric can spend all that healing in combat without having to worry about spending all of their spells on a rest.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrosanct View Post
    Even then, 5e PCs don't have 3x-4x the amount of HP as a 2e PC (the ratio of healing output capability). Between 1.5-2x. Not only do 5e clerics get way more healing capability, but 5e PCs get hit dice and heal to max after a long rest, so the 5e cleric can spend all that healing in combat without having to worry about spending all of their spells on a rest.
    However, it is relevant on a per encounter basis and a much narrower margin I imagine. Look at the total healing available is, to my mind, not as relevant as relative healing available during the average fight.

    Regardless, I get your point.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
    Shouldn't the comparison take into account relative HP and damage. I feel like the difference is not so great if you factor those in.
    HP/dmg balloon in 5e more rapidly than in 2e. You can calculate roughly how much healing a 5e party might burn through in a 'day' of 6-8 medium-hard encounters, and it's probably a lot. But there's nothing to compare that to in 2e, as there weren't meaningful encounter guidelines. The party would go through what it could go through before resting & recovering.

    In either case, the DM can keep challenges well within the party's capabilities, or, well, kill 'em. In 5e, it's a little easier to peg it correctly (even if only a little, they're not /great/ guidelines, but they're neither nothing nor worse than nothing).


    Part of the beauty of 5e is that it does give you tools to run it the way you want. You want it deadly, you dial it up. You don't have to change a bunch of rules to do it (though you're certainly free to), just adjust how you run it.
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