D&D 5E A better model for Legendary Resistance

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I don't think we can fix LR or bosses or solo fights in general without talking about the play purpose of boss/solo fights. Clearly LR and legendary actions and lair actions are design features to solve a problem that disrupts an intent. So what's the intent?
 

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Stormonu

Legend
The intent is to keep the action going and prevent it from being one-sided. It should feel like an ebb and flow where both sides are grinding each other down and the PCs can’t overwhelm the bad guy - instead they have some sort Of trick or ability that allows them to keep menacing the party.

I would like to see it moved from an automatic ability the PCs know they have to burn through to a more strategic choice or effect that the DM can manipulate the timing of for dramatic effect or that the PCs might be able to goad or accidentally activate and be surprised by it.
 

MarkB

Legend
5e has auto win spells? Most of them let you save on consecutive rounds and there are no more save or die. What spells are you talking about specifically? Hold Monster is one where they lose a round of actions or more. I what else?
Banishment if the creature isn't on its native plane and lacks planar travel. Maintain concentration for a minute and it's gone for good, no further saves.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
The intent is to keep the action going and prevent it from being one-sided. It should feel like an ebb and flow where both sides are grinding each other down and the PCs can’t overwhelm the bad guy - instead they have some sort Of trick or ability that allows them to keep menacing the party.

I would like to see it moved from an automatic ability the PCs know they have to burn through to a more strategic choice or effect that the DM can manipulate the timing of for dramatic effect or that the PCs might be able to goad or accidentally activate and be surprised by it.
From an active perspective, I like how Dragonbane has big monsters pull multiple initiative cards. I can easily see a solo in D&D getting 3 actions at 3 different initiatives (eliminate multiattack and fold lair actions into this). From a strategic and reactive use of things like Legendary Resistance, maybe it has to give up a forthcoming action to do it?

There is also the possibility of returning to a declaration phase of the round. That is, everyone declares what they are doing in initiative order, but then resolves those things in the next, separate phase, and if you commit, you commit. That way, a player can say "I am casting a spell" and the GM can say "the BBEG is countering with legendary resistance" and both are locked in to those choices. Of course this goes back to D&D's wargame roots a little, and some folks won't like that, but I think it could be effective.

I guess that is part of the problem: D&D doesn't much resemble a wargame these days, but there are still lots of legacy rules and procedures that don't quite fit the modern narrative goal of combat. It is another case, i think, of D&D wanting to please to many audiences and therefore not serving any of them particularly well.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Banishment if the creature isn't on its native plane and lacks planar travel. Maintain concentration for a minute and it's gone for good, no further saves.
Sort of, but that's unlikely to be the case if it's the BBEG of a story or adventure. Unless the DM's off their game, getting that Banishment off is probably going to be the story point instead of the story killer.

Though it does allow the party to set up a good "first strike Nova" for other villians, and wipe out any minions it had while it is away.
 

MarkB

Legend
Sort of, but that's unlikely to be the case if it's the BBEG of a story or adventure. Unless the DM's off their game, getting that Banishment off is probably going to be the story point instead of the story killer.
Sure, but Legendary isn't just for BBEGs, it can be for any tough fight against a lone opponent.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Sure, but Legendary isn't just for BBEGs, it can be for any tough fight against a lone opponent.
Right, I think it is important to remember than not every "solo" is also a "boss" -- and I do think that bosses need different or additional kinds of abilities to fullfill that role. But a big solo monster just needs to not be a boring pile of HP and claw attacks to get smashed by the party before its second initiative. Action economy is king in 5E.
 

Stormonu

Legend
It would be nice if the new MM has a suite of Legendary abilities that you add to monsters to give them some oomph for tactical encounters. Along with an extended section of advice for designing your own (No, not in the DMG - in the MM!). Offensive, Defensive AND Utility abilities so that you can make a regular creature into a "elite" version (like turning a regular crocodile in "Thousand Teeth", a regular goblin in "Captain Redhand" or a mundane vampire into "The Midnight Drinker" or such, or swap out abilities on an already legendary monster to give it an unexpected twist.

Some ideas:

OFFENSIVE
Backhand. A single melee attack against a PC that just attacked it, combined with a Shove.
Flatten (Costs two). A double-strength melee attack, combined with a Trip.
Overrun (Costs two). Move half movement rate, can pass through enemy space. Anyone passed through makes Dex save, on failure takes 1d8/size category (Medium is 1d8) and is knocked prone. Can't end in occupied space.
Smash. Target opponent at 1/2 hp or less, make melee attack that deals + Xd6 damage. Once per turn.
Sweep (Costs two). Dex save melee attack against all targets in Reach.

DEFENSIVE
Absorb (Costs 2). Reduce incoming damage type to 0, charge next attack with Xd6 of that energy type.
Counter (Costs 2). Opposed check, attack negated.
Deflect. Increase AC by +5 against attacks until next foe's turn.
Redirect. Attacker makes Int save. On failure, deal damage to target of monster's choice.
Resistance. Make save with +5/+10 modifier.
Remove Condition. Removes a condition - poisoned, stun, etc.
Rebuke (Costs 2). Reduce damage to 0, attacker makes save on failure takes Xd6 damage.

UTILITY
Evade. Move full movement rate.
Reposition. Move half movement rate, without provoking Opportunity attack.
Refocus (Costs 2). Heal Xd8 hit points.
Teleport (Uses two). teleport to unoccupied space within twice movement.
Superior Skill. Use skill (such as Perception)
Special. Activate special ability. May cost 2 actions.
 

dave2008

Legend
OK, taking some of @Stalker0 's ideas, here is a revised Ancient Red Dragon. I decided to use a version of the Mythic monster template to simulate the idea that you have to work through the dragon's defenses. Please keep in mind this a quick draft of concept.

AncientRedDragon_Redux2.jpg
 
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Hypnotic Pattern is a big one. It could, for example, put the boss completely out of commission while the PCs deal with the minions, no matter how long it takes, and then they all focus-fire the boss.
Hypnotic Pattern is very powerful for sure yet still not “auto-win”. In the case of a boss with minions, I would think one of the unaffected minions would spend their turn to move and then shake their boss out of the stupor.

Note to self: always try to include a minion that has Disengage as a bonus action (e.g. goblin)
 

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