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D&D 5E 5th ed D&D general impressions from a new player and DM.

clearstream

(He, Him)
Sounds like you are referencing The Role of the Dice (DMG p274) here. It is true, the document is best suited for "The Middle Path" as described on that page.
You might mean DMG 236 (or perhaps the number varies with editions). The middle path is what most DMs use in my experience. It contains scope for a wide variety of approaches. However, it doesn't cover the appreciation of the use of dice that I was thinking of: none of that section does.
At the outset (4 years ago or so), our table play used to be informed quite a bit on assumptions from prior editions that the more experienced players brought in and, frankly, it felt very clunky at times. As I hadn't played 2e through 4e, it was hard at first for me as DM to identify that most of those habits the players were introducing just weren't jiving with the 5e ruleset.
I see this kind of comment a lot and it rings false to me, because it frequently comes up just when a poster wishes to denigrate another's point of view. Listening to the WotC designers on how they developed 5th edition, they consciously aimed to capture the heart of D&D from across all editions. One can trace advancements that came out of 3rd edition, through Book of Nine Swords and 4th edition, and landed in a streamlined form in 5th. There has no doubt been change and increasing sophistication in roleplaying generally... and yet very often what we see is simply widespread recognition of strands that were there from the very beginning.

I'd most urge DMs to read - really read - the core books... and to value their individual style. To consider the views of others, but make up their own minds, and be very conscious that these boards represent a small and opinionated subsection of the D&D community. Myself included :)
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Sounds like you are referencing The Role of the Dice (DMG p274) here. It is true, the document is best suited for "The Middle Path" as described on that page.


Of course, people can play and DM 5e however they like. That's the beauty of D&D and I don't think anyone posting here in good faith believes otherwise. It doesn't affect your table or my table one bit how others choose to play and have fun. It certainly does keep these discussions interesting, though, to hear other viewpoints of how to interpret and implement the rules. That said, I've found @iserith 's style to be particularly apt for running a smooth and enjoyable 5e game. I want to make others aware of that because it transformed my table play into something that I found much more rewarding. At the outset (4 years ago or so), our table play used to be informed quite a bit on assumptions from prior editions that the more experienced players brought in and, frankly, it felt very clunky at times. As I hadn't played 2e through 4e, it was hard at first for me as DM to identify that most of those habits the players were introducing just weren't jiving with the 5e ruleset. It took a while but thanks to many posters here, my DMing style and our game play has evolved in a positive direction. Ultimately, every DM needs to find their own way and all I'm doing here is sharing a methodology that has been very successful in my experience.

For me, it's not the general idea that encouraging describing what you're doing is a good thing. It's a combination of the specificity "I try to recall from my studies at Snob U professor Dumbdoor..." or "I use my sword to strike the goblin with the funny hat" along with ignoring the spectrum of roll of the dice.

I mean, sure. I want players to describe what they're doing. I just don't require a lot of fluff. If someone switches weapons they'll tell me. If it's not obvious which goblin they're attacking I'll ask. They want to do a knowledge check on a specific monster just ask "Using arcane do I know anything about this?" or "Do I know anything about this? I have Arcana and History".

On the other hand if the PC is trying to jump from tabletop to tabletop before swinging from a chandelier, describe what you're doing and I'll figure it out what checks are required. If there's ever any ambiguity or if I need more detail I will simply ask.

For that aspect it's just a matter of preference. Some people are good at making up fluff, some people aren't. Fluff is fun for some, painful to make up for some, a waste of time in many cases for others. I don't think fluff in and of itself is inherently better. Describing what you're doing if there's ever any question is good, but I'm okay with "gamer shorthand".

As far as the roll of the dice I try to take a middle ground, leaning towards having PC skill matter as much or more than player skill. Again it's a personal preference. It's not always easy to balance, but I don't want a game where "the PCs avoid rolling the dice at all costs".

There is no one true way and the oft repeated "5E works better if you do it my way" comes off as one true way-ism even if it's not meant that way.
 

You might mean DMG 236 (or perhaps the number varies with editions). The middle path is what most DMs use in my experience. It contains scope for a wide variety of approaches. However, it doesn't cover the appreciation of the use of dice that I was thinking of: none of that section does.
Ah, thanks for the correction. Could you say more about the "appreciation of the use of dice" that you are thinking of? Sincerely would like to learn more of what you mean here.

I see this kind of comment a lot and it rings false to me, because it frequently comes up just when a poster wishes to denigrate another's point of view.
Not my intent. I apologize if you took my words that way.

Listening to the WotC designers on how they developed 5th edition, they consciously aimed to capture the heart of D&D from across all editions. One can trace advancements that came out of 3rd edition, through Book of Nine Swords and 4th edition, and landed in a streamlined form in 5th. There has no doubt been change and increasing sophistication in roleplaying generally... and yet very often what we see is simply widespread recognition of strands that were there from the very beginning.
What they aimed for and what we ended with... are perhaps not the same in practice. Can't say that with any accuracy as I haven't delved into the development history. I will absolutely take your word for it that strands do exist, though. I've heard others say the same. Trying to play 5e with assumptions brought in from past editions, though, has been clunky, IME.

I'd most urge DMs to read - really read - the core books... and to value their individual style. To consider the views of others, but make up their own minds, and be very conscious that these boards represent a small and opinionated subsection of the D&D community. Myself included :)
Yes! Completely agree here
 

For me, it's not the general idea that encouraging describing what you're doing is a good thing. It's a combination of the specificity "I try to recall from my studies at Snob U professor Dumbdoor..." or "I use my sword to strike the goblin with the funny hat" along with ignoring the spectrum of roll of the dice.

I mean, sure. I want players to describe what they're doing. I just don't require a lot of fluff. If someone switches weapons they'll tell me. If it's not obvious which goblin they're attacking I'll ask. They want to do a knowledge check on a specific monster just ask "Using arcane do I know anything about this?" or "Do I know anything about this? I have Arcana and History".
Shorthand is not specific enough for my table. That does not mean that accepting shorthand is wrong for your table.

On the other hand if the PC is trying to jump from tabletop to tabletop before swinging from a chandelier, describe what you're doing and I'll figure it out what checks are required. If there's ever any ambiguity or if I need more detail I will simply ask.
This sounds great - just like how play proceeds at my table, too. Common ground!

For that aspect it's just a matter of preference. Some people are good at making up fluff, some people aren't. Fluff is fun for some, painful to make up for some, a waste of time in many cases for others. I don't think fluff in and of itself is inherently better. Describing what you're doing if there's ever any question is good, but I'm okay with "gamer shorthand".
This is a point I've seen you consistently misunderstand (hopefully it's not "misrepresent") in these discussions. To reiterate: No one is requiring excess fluff at my table or at tables who play similarly. A player just needs to tell me what their character is trying to accomplish in the game world. Could be first person, could be third person. Be reasonably specific with the approach and goal and I, as the DM, will adjudicate accordingly. For my table (again, I'm not saying for your table or anyone else's table here), this is a more engaging and satisfying way to play than "I have Arcana and History".

As far as the roll of the dice I try to take a middle ground, leaning towards having PC skill matter as much or more than player skill. Again it's a personal preference. It's not always easy to balance, but I don't want a game where "the PCs avoid rolling the dice at all costs".
Another misunderstanding (again, hopefully not a misrepresentation) if that is how you picture my table. At my table players attempt to frame their PCs' actions in ways that will just succeed or in ways that will favor their strong skills or in ways that favor them getting inspiration for playing to their traits/ideal/bond/flaws. They are not trying to "avoid rolling the dice at all costs".

There is no one true way and the oft repeated "5E works better if you do it my way" comes off as one true way-ism even if it's not meant that way.
If you are getting "5E works better if you do it my way" from anything I said, you are grossly misrepresenting what I'm saying.

If someone reading is so inclined, I encourage them to try out the suggestions that helped me. I'm not sure why that is at all controversial or offensive. Just take it or leave it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
For me, it's not the general idea that encouraging describing what you're doing is a good thing. It's a combination of the specificity "I try to recall from my studies at Snob U professor Dumbdoor..." or "I use my sword to strike the goblin with the funny hat" along with ignoring the spectrum of roll of the dice.

I mean, sure. I want players to describe what they're doing. I just don't require a lot of fluff. If someone switches weapons they'll tell me. If it's not obvious which goblin they're attacking I'll ask. They want to do a knowledge check on a specific monster just ask "Using arcane do I know anything about this?" or "Do I know anything about this? I have Arcana and History".

On the other hand if the PC is trying to jump from tabletop to tabletop before swinging from a chandelier, describe what you're doing and I'll figure it out what checks are required. If there's ever any ambiguity or if I need more detail I will simply ask.

For that aspect it's just a matter of preference. Some people are good at making up fluff, some people aren't. Fluff is fun for some, painful to make up for some, a waste of time in many cases for others. I don't think fluff in and of itself is inherently better. Describing what you're doing if there's ever any question is good, but I'm okay with "gamer shorthand".

As far as the roll of the dice I try to take a middle ground, leaning towards having PC skill matter as much or more than player skill. Again it's a personal preference. It's not always easy to balance, but I don't want a game where "the PCs avoid rolling the dice at all costs".

There is no one true way and the oft repeated "5E works better if you do it my way" comes off as one true way-ism even if it's not meant that way.
This is an old argument that’s been rehashed over and over again, but I’ll just say the following and leave it at that: those of us who employ techniques similar to what @iserith advocates in the linked document don’t “require a lot of fluff” either, and characterizing the reasonably specific description of the player’s goal and character’s approach as “fluff” is inaccurate to the way we do things.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Shorthand is not specific enough for my table. That does not mean that accepting shorthand is wrong for your table.


This sounds great - just like how play proceeds at my table, too. Common ground!


This is a point I've seen you consistently misunderstand (hopefully it's not "misrepresent") in these discussions. To reiterate: No one is requiring excess fluff at my table or at tables who play similarly. A player just needs to tell me what their character is trying to accomplish in the game world. Could be first person, could be third person. Be reasonably specific with the approach and goal and I, as the DM, will adjudicate accordingly. For my table (again, I'm not saying for your table or anyone else's table here), this is a more engaging and satisfying way to play than "I have Arcana and History".


Another misunderstanding (again, hopefully not a misrepresentation) if that is how you picture my table. At my table players attempt to frame their PCs' actions in ways that will just succeed or in ways that will favor their strong skills or in ways that favor them getting inspiration for playing to their traits/ideal/bond/flaws. They are not trying to "avoid rolling the dice at all costs".


If you are getting "5E works better if you do it my way" from anything I said, you are grossly misrepresenting what I'm saying.

If someone reading is so inclined, I encourage them to try out the suggestions that helped me. I'm not sure why that is at all controversial or offensive. Just take it or leave it.
If you actually saw different table play I'm not sure you would see much of a difference. However, I can only go by what people state. My example was paraphrasing from the monster knowledge thread "I draw upon my experience reading books in the world's greatest libraries to recall the weaknesses of trolls." which also specified "I hit the goblin on my left with my sword".

I think the former is extra fluff, the latter is just more info than I need the vast majority of time. But ... again. There is no one true way, I'm not saying the balance I happen to hit is any better or worse than anyone else's. If my reminder sounded like an accusation, sorry about that because it wasn't the intent.
 

To be fair, all the monsters feel tougher at lower levels. In 5e, levels 1-3 are really training levels. If you want to start as "heroes," you really need to start at level 3 at least, that is when most arch-types come into play.
That is of course correct. But I stand my point: if you want it closer to 2e, use commoners. Actually in 3.0 orcs and goblins were closer to 2e. It was 3.5 where the assumption went into play that all goblins and orcs you encounter are warriors.
 



Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
I actually have no idea what it is or how to use it. My group jumped in with none of us having played before, and that is one of the rules that we haven't taken the time to figure out yet.
Exhaustion is a stacking condition. Some effects increase Exhaustion levels by 1.

Each stacking level debuffs the target.

Level 1 Exhaustion gives disadvantage on ability checks

Level 2 Exhaustion halves your speed

Level 3 gives disadvantage against attack rolls and saving throws (dangerous)

Level 4 halves your maximum HP (very dangerous)

Level 5 reduces your speed to 0

And level 6 kills you (extremely dangerous).

And again, they stack. So a character exhausted to level 5 will have 0 speed, half health, and disadvantage on attack, saving throw, and ability check rolls.

Exhaustion is also kinda sticky. You'd either need Greater Restoration to remove it or the Exhaustion effect has a way to remove it in its description (hunger/thirst).
 

I can read the rules. I just haven't really looked at how and when to put them into practice. Frankly, it isn't that important to my group right now, when I am still trying to get them to use all the action/reaction options in a fight and not just attack.

My comment wasn't a complaint about the rules being too complicated. It was just a statement of fact. We don't know how to use exhaustion, and right now we just ignore that it exists.
 


Nebulous

Legend
I can read the rules. I just haven't really looked at how and when to put them into practice. Frankly, it isn't that important to my group right now, when I am still trying to get them to use all the action/reaction options in a fight and not just attack.

My comment wasn't a complaint about the rules being too complicated. It was just a statement of fact. We don't know how to use exhaustion, and right now we just ignore that it exists.
They are a very powerful aspect of 5e that doesn't come up a whole lot, but I've seen it used much more as 5e has evolved. 3pp books use it more, and there's a very common house rule that hitting 0 hp and getting brought up also incurs a level of exhaustion. Players generally really dislike exhaustion, because unlike hit points, they are difficult to heal from.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I can read the rules. I just haven't really looked at how and when to put them into practice. Frankly, it isn't that important to my group right now, when I am still trying to get them to use all the action/reaction options in a fight and not just attack.

My comment wasn't a complaint about the rules being too complicated. It was just a statement of fact. We don't know how to use exhaustion, and right now we just ignore that it exists.
To be honest, I've played/run 5E since it was released and I don't remember ever using exhaustion either. I'm sure I've seen it at some point. Maybe.

It doesn't come up very often depending on the style of campaign you run. I personally don't find it fun to have what can amount to a death spiral so I don't use it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
I can read the rules. I just haven't really looked at how and when to put them into practice. Frankly, it isn't that important to my group right now, when I am still trying to get them to use all the action/reaction options in a fight and not just attack.

My comment wasn't a complaint about the rules being too complicated. It was just a statement of fact. We don't know how to use exhaustion, and right now we just ignore that it exists.
You say you don’t understand how to use exhaustion, and then when someone explains how to use exhaustion, you respond with “I can read the rules,” and yet reiterate that you don’t understand how to use it. What more is there to it that you don’t understand?
It doesn't help that my teens (and my husband) seem to think that I am the only one that needs to read the rules in ANY game we play. They are getting better at looking stuff up, but unfortunately only tend to do so when they disagree with my ruling.

(This one is a complaint, but not one I expect any help with.) :)
That is a frustrating situation, and quite a common one in my experience. Sorry to hear that.
 


Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
I can read the rules. I just haven't really looked at how and when to put them into practice. Frankly, it isn't that important to my group right now, when I am still trying to get them to use all the action/reaction options in a fight and not just attack.

My comment wasn't a complaint about the rules being too complicated. It was just a statement of fact. We don't know how to use exhaustion, and right now we just ignore that it exists.
Exhaustion rarely applies in conventional play unless your players were acting careless or the DM wants to use the mechanic as a form of challenge.

Exhaustion can be caused by food and hunger, but it can also be caused by being in extreme hot or cold for too long. Being submerged in cold water also threatens to exhaust the player. Certain spells will also apply exhaustion.

Exhaustion is like petrification. It doesn't show up often unintentionally so if you ignore it, you probably don't have to deal with it.
 

Gorg

Explorer
That is of course correct. But I stand my point: if you want it closer to 2e, use commoners. Actually in 3.0 orcs and goblins were closer to 2e. It was 3.5 where the assumption went into play that all goblins and orcs you encounter are warriors.
One of the things I liked most about 3rd ed, as a DM- is how easy it was to adjust the CR of an encounter, by advancing monsters, or adding class "templates" to them. The default Kobolds were kinda pushovers for all but the weakest 1st level parties- or a solo character. You needed gobs of them- which tends to bog down combat. OR, you could pull an "evil DM trick", and advance them- or give them some warrior levels, and have them be led by a shaman or something!

"WTH???? Why isn't that $#%&*$ pipsqueak dead yet???" And they really hate it, when the kobolds start casting spells back at them, lol.

To stave off XP inflation, I'd also give them max hp, shields, better weapons, etc, and have them use effective tactics. Levelling up monsters is great and all- and it allows you to get more mileage out of them as your PC's get stronger- but it also makes them worth more XP. Which accelerates the player's advancement. So does simply adding MORE monsters. I often found that I had to adjust the difficulty upward when using official D&D modules. I took one party through the linked adventures beginning with The Sunless Citadel. Pretty good stuff, and some very interesting settings- but my players found them too easy. I got to have some real fun making them tougher without feeding them silly amounts of extra XP.

One player in particular really hates hobgoblins, thanks to Sunless Citadel!

Orc barbarians were just plain rude.
 

Nebulous

Legend
One of the things I liked most about 3rd ed, as a DM- is how easy it was to adjust the CR of an encounter, by advancing monsters, or adding class "templates" to them. The default Kobolds were kinda pushovers for all but the weakest 1st level parties- or a solo character. You needed gobs of them- which tends to bog down combat. OR, you could pull an "evil DM trick", and advance them- or give them some warrior levels, and have them be led by a shaman or something!

5e is probably ever easier. No need to add classes. Just tweaking a few numbers is usually sufficient. What it could benefit from is more solid monster abilities to just slap on, as most monsters are going to die in a few rounds anyway and it's not worth the effort or classing something out to die in 60 seconds of gameplay.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
This is an old argument that’s been rehashed over and over again, but I’ll just say the following and leave it at that: those of us who employ techniques similar to what @iserith advocates in the linked document don’t “require a lot of fluff” either, and characterizing the reasonably specific description of the player’s goal and character’s approach as “fluff” is inaccurate to the way we do things.
I’d go as far as to say we don’t require any fluff. What we require is context.

Specifically: What the PC is trying to accomplish and what course of action the PC is taking to accomplish it.
 

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