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

clearstream

(He, Him)
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.
I think it goes further than that. The crucial context is what happens across the narrative, not delivered as a series of potted ability checks. It doesn't matter, for example, if the only immediate cost of failing a history check is lack of the knowledge it might have delivered, if that check is meaningful to your players within your contextual arc.

One can also draw on the power of symbolism, and player imagination. I can say - make an athletics check to climb this tower wall - and that really can be enough for my players. They have an internal picture of the wall. They understand that for whatever reason it is difficult to climb. Any differences in what is envisioned are only salient if they will impact play. Almost all differences won't. I believe a DM - especially a new DM - should start simple: light-touch narration, not heavy-handed. I have seen groups turned off a campaign by a DM overindulging their passion for narration... players literally falling asleep at the table as their DM layered detail upon detail.

Also - as a point of style - avoid adjectives that tell players what they should be feeling. Are the beetles disconcerting? I don't know? Do you feel disconcerted by them? Yes? Then fine, they are disconcerting.
 

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clearstream

(He, Him)
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.
Well, the first thing is to think about symbolism and imagination, and behaviour. What we want most, as DMs, is for players to feel something and to do something in response. Say I simply tell a player that they can make a Dexterity (Thieves' tools) check and if they fail, they will take 8d6 of fire damage. That alone can be enough to shape their behaviour. And this is what RPG is about. It's not about neatly parceling up ability checks with immediate consequences, or lavish narration. It is about a player thinking "Golly, I have 18 HP... if that thing goes off I am toast!" and changing what they want to do. The things you describe are representations that stand for more. I can tell my players - "It'll take an athletics check to climb that wall" - and that really can be enough for them. It's an imaginary wall. Imaginary walls have no qualities. What they need to know is that a fall from near the top is 12d6 of bludgeoning damage. The word "wall" is not a wall, and most certainly the words "sheer wall" are not a sheer wall. We are working with symbols, and imagination, and we aim to make players feel something and respond.

The second thing is think about game as game. Players are psychologically capable of experiencing tension just from the mechanics. Roll a die and get 8+, or take 8d6 fire damage. That stands for something that can just of itself - as play - be tense. Just of itself, it can inform behaviour. Game dynamics can have in themselves a great deal of psychological effect. Perhaps you know the "thought-worm" mechanic that some horrors can use in Earthdawn? It is a beautiful mechanic that just through the way it operates, can lead players down a troubled path. Often the game mechanic is capable of doing the work: that's generally what they are there for! A very interesting question is - what psychological impact do differing probabilities of success have? What is the difference between making one roll - live or die - or a dozen interdependent rolls? How does overwhelming damage feel relative to incremental damage. To think of game mechanics as shorn of meaning unless slathered with verbiage is to terribly misapprehend game qua game.

And this is aside from some of the very misleading - or let us say, idiosyncratic - applications of the 5e mechanics in the PDF.
 
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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.
I read it a lot,
but in my experience, there never was the feeling of "too easy". In 2e there was always the tenison if your character dies against the next thing around the corner.
In 3.x especially at low levels, a single hit could from an orc axe could kill you. At later levels it was only your arsenal of magic items that kept you going (im 2e and 3e)
The difference in 5e for me is that more power to survive actually comes from your class abilities, less so from your magic items. Also the feeling of atrition is way reduced by the default healing rules. But if you take your time and chose from one of the options or even two or make up your own rules as we do, you can pretty much get the feeling of preasure back. Not being fully healed after every combat, with a few of your spells already burnt.
For me, playing 2e is like playing a very old computer game. You remember how nice it was back then, but it is hard to play it with the knowledge of what came after it.
 

TheSword

Legend
I find it utterly impossible to stop my players from treating every 5' movement or quaff of a potion as a committee decision. 5-8 encounters per adventuring day would mean that we start a campaign in January, and in May, we're on the 2nd adventuring day. Maybe. If we move fast.

I try to do 1-2 really brutal encounters per day, basically squash those 6-8 together.
That’s quite possibly why they agonise over every decision. Players who fear impending death every encounter are encouraged to be more cautious and more efficient with time and resources.

I’ve learned to enjoy the odd fight or two when they get to kick ass. Even if it’s not as engaging for me as a DM. It makes the brutal fights more impactful without making the PCs scared to open a door without buffing up first.
 

Well, the first thing is to think about symbolism and imagination, and behaviour. What we want most, as DMs, is for players to feel something and to do something in response. Say I simply tell a player that they can make a Dexterity (Thieves' tools) check and if they fail, they will take 8d6 of fire damage. That alone can be enough to shape their behaviour. And this is what RPG is about. It's not about neatly parceling up ability checks with immediate consequences, or lavish narration. It is about a player thinking "Golly, I have 18 HP... if that thing goes off I am toast!" and changing what they want to do. The things you describe are representations that stand for more. I can tell my players - "It'll take an athletics check to climb that wall" - and that really can be enough for them. It's an imaginary wall. Imaginary walls have no qualities. What they need to know is that a fall from near the top is 12d6 of bludgeoning damage. The word "wall" is not a wall, and most certainly the words "sheer wall" are not a sheer wall. We are working with symbols, and imagination, and we aim to make players feel something and respond.
Except for the bit about "lavish narration", which is not required in games we run, this is very much in line with how I run ability check situations, when they are called for. Just add a DC in front of your phrasing such as : "make a DC 20 Dexterity (Thieves' tools) check and if [you] fail, [you] will take 8d6 of fire damage". Now they know the difficulty and stakes to make that informed decision. And the player then has the opportunity to come up with a different course of action because the assumption is that their PC is a very capable adventurer that is often able to discern the difficulty of the task before them.

With that in mind, I think I'm hitting both your wishes from the first paragraph to shape behavior and your second paragraph where mechanics add to the tension. This is happening as a result of the player being reasonably specific about what their PC is doing in the game world. It is the DM's responsibility to invoke mechanics when appropriate. It's the player's most basic role to "describe what they want to do."

At my 5e table, players invoking "I use Arcana" might be using symbols, but they are not using imagination in the context of the scene to the best of their ability. We're all more likely to feel something and respond when a player describes what their PC is aiming to do and why, maybe invoking something from their character's background, maybe utilizing something from their equipment, or their personality, or race or class or whatever. I just find "I use Arcana" to fall short. The goal here is not for the player to seek a mechanical solution necessarily, but to seek an imaginative one that engages with the game world and helps build immersion for all at the table. First person, third person, a few sentences, a short phrase, it doesn't matter as long as it is reasonably specific. "I use Arcana" is not specific enough for me, as DM, to adjudicate without making assumptions about what the PC is doing in the scene - so I'm going to ask for more detail.

The second thing is think about game as game. Players are psychologically capable of experiencing tension just from the mechanics. Roll a die and get 8+, or take 8d6 fire damage. That stands for something that can just of itself - as play - be tense. Just of itself, it can inform behaviour. Game dynamics can have in themselves a great deal of psychological effect. Perhaps you know the "thought-worm" mechanic that some horrors can use in Earthdawn? It is a beautiful mechanic that just through the way it operates, can lead players down a troubled path. Often the game mechanic is capable of doing the work: that's generally what they are there for! A very interesting question is - what psychological impact do differing probabilities of success have? What is the difference between making one roll - live or die - or a dozen interdependent rolls? How does overwhelming damage feel relative to incremental damage. To think of game mechanics as shorn of meaning unless slathered with verbiage is to terribly misapprehend game qua game.
Again, off the mark if you think our gameplay must be "slathered with verbiage". It just does not represent game play at my table or, likely, any other table that employs this method of insisting that players engage with the game world rather than just the naming a skill.

And this is aside from some of the very misleading - or let us say, idiosyncratic - applications of the 5e mechanics in the PDF.
It jives with the rules, both new and old players pick it up very quickly, and it produces a fun result at the table so I'm really not sure how you can label it "misleading" or "idiosyncratic" -- other than perhaps it may seem somewhat foreign to your own experience with 5e. Hopefully my explanation under your first paragraph helps you realize this style is not as foreign as you have been trying to claim.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
That’s quite possibly why they agonise over every decision. Players who fear impending death every encounter are encouraged to be more cautious and more efficient with time and resources.

I’ve learned to enjoy the odd fight or two when they get to kick ass. Even if it’s not as engaging for me as a DM. It makes the brutal fights more impactful without making the PCs scared to open a door without buffing up first.

That's a good point. I know some people seem to push the idea that every fight should be high stakes and I do think some should be. But if every fight might mean the effective end of your PC, then of course they're going to be super careful about everything they do.

I never particularly enjoyed the paranoia style game (even back in older editions) because to me it doesn't feel particularly heroic. I'm sure it works for some people, but if that's the style you run I don't think you have much standing to complain when people are timid and take their time to figure out what to do.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Except for the bit about "lavish narration", which is not required in games we run, this is very much in line with how I run ability check situations, when they are called for. Just add a DC in front of your phrasing such as : "make a DC 20 Dexterity (Thieves' tools) check and if [you] fail, [you] will take 8d6 of fire damage". Now they know the difficulty and stakes to make that informed decision. And the player then has the opportunity to come up with a different course of action because the assumption is that their PC is a very capable adventurer that is often able to discern the difficulty of the task before them.
It's interesting to consider the cases where they do not know the difficulty, too!
With that in mind, I think I'm hitting both your wishes from the first paragraph to shape behavior and your second paragraph where mechanics add to the tension. This is happening as a result of the player being reasonably specific about what their PC is doing in the game world. It is the DM's responsibility to invoke mechanics when appropriate. It's the player's most basic role to "describe what they want to do."
The idea that tension can't be organic to the mechanics is what I resist. Or that it can be reliably created through fluff: often the opposite is true. The most powerful tension will span events: it isn't contained within an individual ability check. And not every check has - or needs to have - the same weight. A DM can vary their level of detail.
At my 5e table, players invoking "I use Arcana" might be using symbols, but they are not using imagination in the context of the scene to the best of their ability. We're all more likely to feel something and respond when a player describes what their PC is aiming to do and why, maybe invoking something from their character's background, maybe utilizing something from their equipment, or their personality, or race or class or whatever. I just find "I use Arcana" to fall short. The goal here is not for the player to seek a mechanical solution necessarily, but to seek an imaginative one that engages with the game world and helps build immersion for all at the table. First person, third person, a few sentences, a short phrase, it doesn't matter as long as it is reasonably specific. "I use Arcana" is not specific enough for me, as DM, to adjudicate without making assumptions about what the PC is doing in the scene - so I'm going to ask for more detail.
Does this come back to that old chestnut: do we penalise our player with superb Arcana, just because they ask merely to apply their Arcana? Here I feel one has to be thoughtful about your group and purposes. Streaming the game? No doubt actual voice actors who play strongly to character will be wonderful. A friendly home campaign? Depends on the group, but if you notice colour-snippets repeating themselves, it might be time to question the value of those snippets. Again, this is something a set of written examples can be misleading about.
Again, off the mark if you think our gameplay must be "slathered with verbiage". It just does not represent game play at my table or, likely, any other table that employs this method of insisting that players engage with the game world rather than just the naming a skill.
I am perforce speaking here of the examples in the PDF, and not of your table. And the real question is less the slurry of words, and more the necessity of it. If a DM were to demand it, then that will suit some groups and not others: neither can claim the greater virtue.
It jives with the rules, both new and old players pick it up very quickly, and it produces a fun result at the table so I'm really not sure how you can label it "misleading" or "idiosyncratic" -- other than perhaps it may seem somewhat foreign to your own experience with 5e. Hopefully my explanation under your first paragraph helps you realize this style is not as foreign as you have been trying to claim.
So far as I can tell, it misapplies abilities in several places. Such as right from the outset Strength (Athletics) to avoid being noticed by birds. I also find many of the consequences an unnecessary stretch, apparently conjured up just in order to satisfy the rubric. DMing should be done confidently and feel natural. Flow, is what we must aim to achieve; tempo, pacing, variation of tension, flexibility to adapt in response to player response.

Start light, and then build on that.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Such as right from the outset Strength (Athletics) to avoid being noticed by birds. I also find many of the consequences an unnecessary stretch, apparently conjured up just in order to satisfy the rubric.
And this is why people never want to provide examples as more often than not the actual information contained in the examples is ignored and instead nitpicked.

Getting noticed by the birds is a consequence of failure of the athletics check. Hmm perhaps the unathletic were making a bunch of groaning and moaning noises about how hard the climb was and that attracted the attention? Or perhaps their clumsy climbing disturbed a nesting area and the birds are coming to attack? Just a little imagination beyond mechanics goes a long way I find.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
And this is why people never want to provide examples as more often than not the actual information contained in the examples is ignored and instead nitpicked.

Getting noticed by the birds is a consequence of failure of the athletics check. Hmm perhaps the unathletic were making a bunch of groaning and moaning noises about how hard the climb was and that attracted the attention? Or perhaps their clumsy climbing disturbed a nesting area and the birds are coming to attack? Just a little imagination beyond mechanics goes a long way I find.
Yes, one can absolutely conjure reasons for a DM to rule that way. It is not RAW (ironically, given the author's comments in another thread), and it is not rewarding for players who invested in Stealth.

However, my dislike is concretely around presenting it as a point of reference for a new DM. It is a very specific DMing style that can work... and can also be clunky: less of an issue were it not highly prescriptive. It is somewhat helpful to have as a reference point to consider among other reference points... that a new DM might never have seen. I believe understanding the core rules themselves are a better starting point, perhaps in the context of one of the more well-regarded adventures such as Phandelver. The DMG also contains a lot of excellent, thought provoking material.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yes, one can absolutely conjure reasons for a DM to rule that way. It is not RAW (ironically, given the author's comments in another thread), and it is not rewarding for players who invested in Stealth.

However, my dislike is concretely around presenting it as a point of reference for a new DM. It is a very specific DMing style that can work... and can also be clunky: less of an issue were it not highly prescriptive. It is somewhat helpful to have as a reference point to consider among other reference points... that a new DM might never have seen. I believe understanding the core rules themselves are a better starting point, perhaps in the context of one of the more well-regarded adventures such as Phandelver. The DMG also contains a lot of excellent, thought provoking material.
When it comes to the birds and an athletics check - to me it's just not clear that the issue is the amount of time the party needs to get to the top of the cliff. The birds see them, does the party beat them to the top of the cliff?

Kind of an odd scene in my mind TBH if I understand it because how long would it take the birds to get there? How do you know they're dangerous? But I think Iserith was looking for a cost to failure other than falling? Maybe? A better scenario IMHO would have been simply not wanting to fall on hazardous rocks or perhaps carnivorous crabs or so on.

What I would like to see? A collaborative effort, using the same scenarios showing different approaches. I mean, ideally it would be a set of streamed sessions. But you can't get there without actual examples, and a willingness to explain why you did something the way you did it which is something Iserith was unwilling to do.
 

That’s quite possibly why they agonise over every decision. Players who fear impending death every encounter are encouraged to be more cautious and more efficient with time and resources.

I said I started running harder encounters in response to player slowness, not the other way around. I could name the specific individuals whose presence quadruples play time. If they're not there, we move a lot faster and get a lot more done.

I’ve learned to enjoy the odd fight or two when they get to kick ass.

I've learned such fights are a waste of no less than an hour if the overthinkers show up.
 

I said I started running harder encounters in response to player slowness, not the other way around. I could name the specific individuals whose presence quadruples play time. If they're not there, we move a lot faster and get a lot more done.



I've learned such fights are a waste of no less than an hour if the overthinkers show up.
Time to bust out the turn clock then, if this is a problem. If a player doesn’t come up with something in 30 seconds, their character takes the Dodge action and play proceeds to the next person in the initiative order.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
When it comes to the birds and an athletics check - to me it's just not clear that the issue is the amount of time the party needs to get to the top of the cliff. The birds see them, does the party beat them to the top of the cliff?

Kind of an odd scene in my mind TBH if I understand it because how long would it take the birds to get there? How do you know they're dangerous? But I think Iserith was looking for a cost to failure other than falling? Maybe? A better scenario IMHO would have been simply not wanting to fall on hazardous rocks or perhaps carnivorous crabs or so on.
And on the other hand, I must really give credit for people being willing to put their concepts in writing to share with others. The fact is that @iserith has taken the trouble to provide a point of reference. What is good in the guide is that he considers passive checks as well as active, and - rather too assiduously for me - concerns himself with immediate consequences.

I would say not every consequence needs to be immediate, and some can just be inherent in the check, like failing a check to recall an important bit of information. It's hard to really capture play at the table in written dialogue and I think one can sense that in a certain over-brightness and over-specificity of the player-DM exchange. While I can see that creative application of the rules is helpful encouragement, a guide might take more care to arise in an explicable way from RAW.

And then again, I'm also starting to think DM's should be more open to variant skill checks. I'm conflicted, as I believe it is important to vest each ability with value and not let dump stats be without consequence by allowing glib players to fall back onto their primary or secondary abilities. On the other hand, there do seem to be scenarios where a variant application makes sense. Of course, that would need to be called out if in a guide.
What I would like to see? A collaborative effort, using the same scenarios showing different approaches. I mean, ideally it would be a set of streamed sessions. But you can't get there without actual examples, and a willingness to explain why you did something the way you did it which is something Iserith was unwilling to do.
That could add a lot of value. I mean, one can hardly complain if the person doing the writing does not serve ones every wish, but on the other hand, it would be good to see alternative ways to play out the same case. You mean also in different DMing modes, right?
 

Time to bust out the turn clock then, if this is a problem. If a player doesn’t come up with something in 30 seconds, their character takes the Dodge action and play proceeds to the next person in the initiative order.
Man, I have tried, but I'm just not enough of a ruthless taskmaster. I think all my ruthlessness gets absorbed in preparing ambushes.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Man, I have tried, but I'm just not enough of a ruthless taskmaster. I think all my ruthlessness gets absorbed in preparing ambushes.
I find that hard to do as well. I currently DM for a group of five and one is unfamiliar with the rules and hesitates over what action to take, and another is very familiar with the rules and likes to have time to consider alternatives. The latter player is quick enough that we just let it slide. The former player - I tried applying "dodge and move on", but that felt bad. I dislike the possibility a new player's experience might feel like we don't care about their contribution to events.

On the other hand, when the bard fell unconscious in shallow water in front of a hydra, I'm very happy to take a few more attacks on him. Sounds like we are in the same boat!
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
And on the other hand, I must really give credit for people being willing to put their concepts in writing to share with others. The fact is that @iserith has taken the trouble to provide a point of reference. What is good in the guide is that he considers passive checks as well as active, and - rather too assiduously for me - concerns himself with immediate consequences.

I would say not every consequence needs to be immediate, and some can just be inherent in the check, like failing a check to recall an important bit of information. It's hard to really capture play at the table in written dialogue and I think one can sense that in a certain over-brightness and over-specificity of the player-DM exchange. While I can see that creative application of the rules is helpful encouragement, a guide might take more care to arise in an explicable way from RAW.
I appreciate what he tried to do, and I get not wanting to put out specific details. On the other hand, while nobody can write a perfect document, if you put a document like this out there you have to be open to criticism and suggestions.

Taking the example of climbing the cliff specifically, I think a breakout sidebar might be good. Explain the thought process and options. I mean, I'm just kind of guessing as to why the climb check is even related to the birds at all.


And then again, I'm also starting to think DM's should be more open to variant skill checks. I'm conflicted, as I believe it is important to vest each ability with value and not let dump stats be without consequence by allowing glib players to fall back onto their primary or secondary abilities. On the other hand, there do seem to be scenarios where a variant application makes sense. Of course, that would need to be called out if in a guide.

I use variant ability/skill combos now and then. One wizard trying to persuade someone else might be more of an intelligence check than charisma. That half orc intimidating someone by lifting them up by the front of their shirt using strength for intimidate. For me though, it does have to make sense in the narrative it's not just an anything goes. But I will also say things like "Give me an athletics check, but you can use strength or dexterity because ___".

That could add a lot of value. I mean, one can hardly complain if the person doing the writing does not serve ones every wish, but on the other hand, it would be good to see alternative ways to play out the same case. You mean also in different DMing modes, right?
Yeah, different modes of handling non-combat challenges with examples would be ideal.

Maybe even just have say 2-3 narrators. Brief blurb at the top saying what approach they like. Then go through the different scenes and talk about how they would handle it. No arguments, just "Here's how I'd handle it and why". It's stuff you could probably gather reading through threads, but that can be a slog.

There's nothing wrong with having different approaches but without actual concrete examples it's difficult to understand what people are saying. You mentioning not understanding how the birds played into an athletics check is not saying the example is wrong, it's saying that we need more explanation of what the DM has in mind.

As another example, in the PDF there's a line where it says: "I try to recall what I know about beetles like these." Now this is something that as far as I can tell Iserith is really adamant on. A player never says "Can I make a nature check to know what these beetles are?" is not allowed* I guess? Personally I'd be okay with that because it just means the player is reminding me that they're trained in nature.

Neither way is "right" IMHO, but you could do that back and forth and both sides just stating their case in a sentence or two.

Last, but not least, it can be tough to have people question what you say. But there is no one right way and feedback can be meant as constructive even if the person on the receiving end doesn't feel that way.

*I tried to get clarification from him at one point but he blocked me for asking questions like this.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
I think it goes further than that. The crucial context is what happens across the narrative, not delivered as a series of potted ability checks. It doesn't matter, for example, if the only immediate cost of failing a history check is lack of the knowledge it might have delivered, if that check is meaningful to your players within your contextual arc.
Lore recollection is a tricky beast, and DMs tend to be pretty idiosyncratic in how they handle them. Would you mind rephrasing this with a different example, as I’m not sure I follow your meaning.
One can also draw on the power of symbolism, and player imagination. I can say - make an athletics check to climb this tower wall - and that really can be enough for my players. They have an internal picture of the wall. They understand that for whatever reason it is difficult to climb. Any differences in what is envisioned are only salient if they will impact play. Almost all differences won't.
That’s certainly true, but I think one should be careful about relying on this too much. Yes, the players can all put together from the fact that the DM asked for a check when they said they wanted to climb the wall that something about the climb makes it especially difficult, and it doesn’t necessarily matter if what they all imagine creating that difficulty is difficult. However, the fictional context can become extremely vague if this is how most activity is framed.
I believe a DM - especially a new DM - should start simple: light-touch narration, not heavy-handed. I have seen groups turned off a campaign by a DM overindulging their passion for narration... players literally falling asleep at the table as their DM layered detail upon detail.
Agreed! Long-winded or overly prosy narration can be difficult to pay attention to, leading to the same problem of vagueness. This is why I emphasize reasonable specificity - both in the DM’s description of the environment and the players’ description of their characters’ actions.
Also - as a point of style - avoid adjectives that tell players what they should be feeling. Are the beetles disconcerting? I don't know? Do you feel disconcerted by them? Yes? Then fine, they are disconcerting.
Agreed! This can be tricky at times, but it’s well worth the effort in my opinion.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
I believe understanding the core rules themselves are a better starting point, perhaps in the context of one of the more well-regarded adventures such as Phandelver. The DMG also contains a lot of excellent, thought provoking material.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I believe the writers of 5e wrote for an audience of existing D&D players rather than new players. There is precious little handholding in Phandelver (and the first encounter is quite tricky to run well). The DMG is arse-backwards and the PHB is utterly overwhelming - character creation is an unholy exercise in back and forth page flipping. :)

Iserith's guide to action adjudication was like a breath of fresh air to this new DM, clearly connecting ability checks to declared actions and providing lots of examples.

But anyway we can agree to disagree.
 

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I believe the writers of 5e wrote for an audience of existing D&D players rather than new players. There is precious little handholding in Phandelver (and the first encounter is quite tricky to run well). The DMG is arse-backwards and the PHB is utterly overwhelming - character creation is an unholy exercise in back and forth page flipping. :)

Iserith's guide to action adjudication was like a breath of fresh air to this new DM, clearly connecting ability checks to declared actions and providing lots of examples.

But anyway we can agree to disagree.
Absolutely. That is, to this day, my biggest criticism with WoTC. I mean, making a character isn't that hard and running combat sorta makes sense.

But try having the players understand some other fundamental stuff and they'll be hard pressed.

Especially ability checks, which people
DM's still ask for rolls where there was no chance of failure or guaranteed failure.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Especially ability checks, which people still ask for rolls where there was no chance of failure or guaranteed failure.

What's the issue? The DM either replies "It's not possible" or "There's no need to roll". I mean, I agree you just wasted 20 seconds but it doesn't seem like a big issue to me.
 

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