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5E A truly horrifying Age of Worms

jgsugden

Legend
Another thing to consider - characters being effective in combat is not inherently going to ruin a game. If your PCs can fight back the darkness with their powerful magic, that would make them heroes.

The horror of this adventure path is not what happens to the PCs. It is what this threat can do to everyone else. If you have trouble seeing how watching hundreds of thousands of people die to a threat like this can be scary, you're missing an obvious recent example.
 

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TheSword

Hero
It's not about being reluctant to tinker. Plenty of people have given plenty of suggestions to tinker with the rules.

What you're suggesting is less like banning paladins from Dark Sun and more like banning Wizards in a campaign set in Hogwarts.

Most of the reluctance that I've seen in this thread seems to stem not from a hesitancy to change things or set limits. Rather, my impression is that the proposed solution does not address the issue well.
The suggestions seem to be in two camps...

- Make the worms more powerful/harder to resist/remove.

- ignore the problem and roll with it.

Have I missed something here? I’m not seeing an engagement with the idea of removing diving magic from players hands, rather just a blanket refusal to contemplate it.

It isn’t removing wizards from Hogwarts... it’s removing specifically tooled mage-killers from Hogwarts.
 

Mort

Hero
Supporter
I also don’t see how going through class features piece be piece to balance things is easier than just saying “guys, avoid clerics and paladins this time round as it’s an apocalyptic campaign and I don’t want you to suffer.” It might be more balanced, or it might be fairer to players... but it definitely isn’t easier.

Incidentally this conversation could also have taken place about Curse of Strahd or Carrion Crown.
I'll agree with @Fanaelialae; It's not really tinkering to take the classes very thematically appropriate for the adventure and uber-nerf them to the point of making taking them pointless (all because it'll otherwise be "too easy"). Much better to tweak things so that it's not too easy for those classes (which isn't difficult at all - and not by nerfing the class into near unplayability; great example above - require significant upcasting of spells to remove certain curses).
 

TheSword

Hero
Another thing to consider - characters being effective in combat is not inherently going to ruin a game. If your PCs can fight back the darkness with their powerful magic, that would make them heroes.

The horror of this adventure path is not what happens to the PCs. It is what this threat can do to everyone else. If you have trouble seeing how watching hundreds of thousands of people die to a threat like this can be scary, you're missing an obvious recent example.
Absolutely, and as the campaign progresses this becomes the main driver as the part try to ‘save the world’ as they themselves are now largely immune to the problem personally. However the initial encounters with the worms should be impactful and effecting and I’m saying that isn’t the case with 5e as it currently stands.
 

TheSword

Hero
It would be helpful to know who is familiar with the campaign itself. There seem to be people with strong opinions about what is thematically appropriate. I don’t see anything about the campaign that makes Paladins and Clerics thematic... they’re just powerful.

There aren’t any notable religious organizations involved, the other gods are barely mentioned and the conventional pantheons don’t seem even to get a feature. The law / chaos war is the significant planar reference.
 


Mort

Hero
Supporter
Have I missed something here? I’m not seeing an engagement with the idea of removing diving magic from players hands, rather just a blanket refusal to contemplate it.
I believe most people are saying, if you're going to remove it then remove it (no clerics, druids, paladins etc.) - don't nerf the classes that have it with no compensation - because then all you get are classes that are significantly behind the curve. That's certainly my view. It's all about balance within the PCs not balance toward the world.
 


Var

Explorer
It's not about being reluctant to tinker. Plenty of people have given plenty of suggestions to tinker with the rules.

What you're suggesting is less like banning paladins from Dark Sun and more like banning Wizards in a campaign set in Hogwarts.

Most of the reluctance that I've seen in this thread seems to stem not from a hesitancy to change things or set limits. Rather, my impression is that the proposed solution does not address the issue well.
This.

There's exactly one problem that seems to be the reason to swing the nerfbat at Divine Casters and its not Lesser Restoration, it's Turn Undead. Otherwise you'd also have to ban Bards and Druids. Lesser Restoration and Lay on Hand not curing Worms is a simple matter, there's no Rulebook reference about a worm plague turning people into undead being dead set to be a run of the mill disease.
From an onlooker's viewpoint your're more or less attempting to use dynamite to remove a couple daisies from your flowerbed. Rather than just getting rid of them manually and going ahead with your campaign. :unsure:

There's a mere 2 minor fixes.
1. Turn Undead doesn't seem to work in the region or on the Worm Undead in particular.
2. It's not a nasty cough, it's a magical plague and Lesser Restoration isn't gonna cut it. Might as well not removeable by anything shy of Greater Restoration or specifically brewed potions you're in charge of distribting in amounts that makes sense for you.
I'd personally take Lycantrophy as reference for a magical disease with an physical component. Lesser Restoration is simply not gonna cut it and your players aren't ever gonna second guess it.
 

TheSword

Hero
I believe most people are saying, if you're going to remove it then remove it (no clerics, druids, paladins etc.) - don't nerf the classes that have it with no compensation - because then all you get are classes that are significantly behind the curve. That's certainly my view. It's all about balance within the PCs not balance toward the world.
Yes remove those classes as PCs. Classes don’t exist in 5e as NPCs so I’m free to make the High Priest of St Cuthbert as strong or weak as I like.
 

TheSword

Hero
@TheSword if you don't want to listen to the advice of everyone that's posted, why ask?

Nobody's saying "don't tinker" we're saying "there are better ways of dealing with the perceived issue".
What an odd response. You said in your first post that you’re not familiar with the campaign, but when I’m specifically asking for In Campaign advice, you say “why post”.

I want to know what impact this would have on the campaign. Not what impact it has on an ideological white room party playing d&d.
 

TheSword

Hero
This.

There's exactly one problem that seems to be the reason to swing the nerfbat at Divine Casters and its not Lesser Restoration, it's Turn Undead. Otherwise you'd also have to ban Bards and Druids. Lesser Restoration and Lay on Hand not curing Worms is a simple matter, there's no Rulebook reference about a worm plague turning people into undead being dead set to be a run of the mill disease.
From an onlooker's viewpoint your're more or less attempting to use dynamite to remove a couple daisies from your flowerbed. Rather than just getting rid of them manually and going ahead with your campaign. :unsure:

There's a mere 2 minor fixes.
1. Turn Undead doesn't seem to work in the region or on the Worm Undead in particular.
2. It's not a nasty cough, it's a magical plague and Lesser Restoration isn't gonna cut it. Might as well not removeable by anything shy of Greater Restoration or specifically brewed potions you're in charge of distribting in amounts that makes sense for you.
I'd personally take Lycantrophy as reference for a magical disease with an physical component. Lesser Restoration is simply not gonna cut it and your players aren't ever gonna second guess it.
On the flip side making it too hard to cure will be a death sentence for characters. There is a fine line to be struck here’s. Simply increasing the resource requirement from classes doesn’t solve the problem for me. Rather it penalizes characters tasked with this ‘role’. While characters not tasked with the role carry on as normal.
 

Mort

Hero
Supporter
What an odd response. You said in your first post that you’re not familiar with the campaign, but when I’m specifically asking for In Campaign advice, you say “why post”.

I want to know what impact this would have on the campaign. Not what impact it has on an ideological white room party playing d&d.
Answering your question - largely removing divine magic from the hands of the PCs will likely affect the campaign in several ways:

1) It will shift things to a more of a horror vs. heroic feel, not being able to turn undead, cure disease etc. will make the PCs feel less heroic and be much more cautious (likely);

2) It will likely slow things down quite a bit. If the best way to recover form stuff (or only way) is to rest then the PCs will try to figure out ways to do that much more often - this will certainly affect pacing.

3) You will have to figure out ways to help characters recover. From what I recall (it's been ages since I played any of these) Age of Worms is an absolute meat grinder by later levels; having little to no healing magic will be deadly and worse will be extremely frustrating for the characters. The adventure assumes you have access to lots of healing, if you don't things must change a lot. You would have to do this in such a way as to not hit the players over the head with it ("why does every room have healing potions and death ward scrolls?!?")

One reason I had a viscerally negative reaction to your suggestion is that I dislike slow paced horror adventures - they just don't interest me (clearly a personal preference).
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
What an odd response. You said in your first post that you’re not familiar with the campaign, but when I’m specifically asking for In Campaign advice, you say “why post”.

I want to know what impact this would have on the campaign. Not what impact it has on an ideological white room party playing d&d.
You explained what the issue is that you perceive. Enough details have been shared to make a call. I've DMed for a few decades now, the information we have is adequate.

What I find odd is that you ask "what do you think" and every single response seems to be "don't do that, here's a better way".

Yet you just dig in your heels. If no advice will convince you otherwise, why ask in the first place?
 

TheSword

Hero
Answering your question - largely removing divine magic from the hands of the PCs will likely affect the campaign in several ways:

1) It will shift things to a more of a horror vs. heroic feel, not being able to turn undead, cure disease etc. will make the PCs feel less heroic and be much more cautious (likely);

2) It will likely slow things down quite a bit. If the best way to recover form stuff (or only way) is to rest then the PCs will try to figure out ways to do that much more often - this will certainly affect pacing.

3) You will have to figure out ways to help characters recover. From what I recall (it's been ages since I played any of these) Age of Worms is an absolute meat grinder by later levels; having little to no healing magic will be deadly and worse will be extremely frustrating for the characters. The adventure assumes you have access to lots of healing, if you don't things must change a lot. You would have to do this in such a way as to not hit the players over the head with it ("why does every room have healing potions and death ward scrolls?!?")

One reason I had a viscerally negative reaction to your suggestion is that I dislike slow paced horror adventures - they just don't interest me (clearly a personal preference).
That makes sense. For instance if there is an assumption that PCs have resurrection And true magic in the game in order to make it through then this would be a real issue.

The single biggest difference between 5e and 3e aside from bounded accuracy for me is access in 5e to hp recovery methods. We haven’t played with a cleric in our group since 5e started. Not because it can’t be effective, but because we all find the class fairly dull. I’m not sure we have seen play slow down. Mainly because short resting seems to get us through to the end of the day - particularly combined with the bards song of rest. Bards are the new (far more interesting) clerics for us I reckon.

The campaign was written for 3.5 not 5e and is suspect 5e mores like death saves, and spending HD, not to mention key spells split across a lot of new classes will keep people in the game longer.
 

TheSword

Hero
You explained what the issue is that you perceive. Enough details have been shared to make a call. I've DMed for a few decades now, the information we have is adequate.

What I find odd is that you ask "what do you think" and every single response seems to be "don't do that, here's a better way".

Yet you just dig in your heels. If no advice will convince you otherwise, why ask in the first place?
I’m hoping that something other than make removing the worms harder comes along... or someone engages with the specific campaign like Mort has.

It is frustrating when you ask for answers to a question and someone comes along and says ‘there’s no point asking that question.”.

I too have Dmd for a few decades, and based on that experience, when I don’t think the answer I need has been reached I am entitled to keep looking. Up until Morts recent post I haven’t seen convincing justification for a lot of the assertions that have been made.
 

jgsugden

Legend
What an odd response. You said in your first post that you’re not familiar with the campaign, but when I’m specifically asking for In Campaign advice, you say “why post”.

I want to know what impact this would have on the campaign. Not what impact it has on an ideological white room party playing d&d.
I believe his response was to your tendency to discredit any advice given that does not match what you intended to do. You came here with a proposed plan, asked if it was ok, essentially, and then had several peole offer suggestions that contradicted it, and several people point out problems with the approach that may frustrate players. You were not receptive to the advice after asking for it. Follow it, or ignore it, but playing the 'Do you guys even know what you're talking about? Have you even read the modules?' card was not something that encourages people to want to help you.
 

TheSword

Hero
I believe his response was to your tendency to discredit any advice given that does not match what you intended to do. You came here with a proposed plan, asked if it was ok, essentially, and then had several peole offer suggestions that contradicted it, and several people point out problems with the approach that may frustrate players. You were not receptive to the advice after asking for it. Follow it, or ignore it, but playing the 'Do you guys even know what you're talking about? Have you even read the modules?' card was not something that encourages people to want to help you.
That’s fair. I guess it may seem like I was dismissive and I apologize for that.

I guess the issue was that at least half the posts were saying nerfing divine magic would annoy players when I had already said in the original post that my players aren’t bothered by the issue of not playing those classes (though they may choose to play them if allowed in an undead heavy game). I’m not interested in ideologies around pure d&d.

The other half of the posts were saying change individual spells, powers or monster effects which wasn’t dealing with the overall power impact of divine magic, turning, smite concentrated in those divine classes. With suggestions that would either lead to overshadowing of other players or handicapping the divine classes. Or worse (IMHO) don’t worry about let them have their day.

What I am VERY interested in is discussion of what elements of the campaign can’t work or will be majorly damaged by a lack of divine magic... I.e resurrection and if the work arounds to that are more immersion breaking than what I proposed.
 

TheSword

Hero
Having been a player in a very good Cleric/Paladin-less campaign of Carrion Crown. I have seen how much fun it can be not having every precise tool for the job in your tool box, when there are more interesting alternatives.

That isn’t adversarial DMing it’s taking PCs out of their comfort zone, which I would suggest is a fairly essential component of a horror campaign.
 

humble minion

Adventurer
I’m hoping that something other than make removing the worms harder comes along... or someone engages with the specific campaign like Mort has.

It is frustrating when you ask for answers to a question and someone comes along and says ‘there’s no point asking that question.”.

I too have Dmd for a few decades, and based on that experience, when I don’t think the answer I need has been reached I am entitled to keep looking. Up until Morts recent post I haven’t seen convincing justification for a lot of the assertions that have been made.
Hell, it's your game, end of the day, you can run it how you like!

I agree with you that hp healing is much less of a bottleneck in 5e than it was in 3e when this adventure was written. If you've got a bard or ranger or whatever backup healer, and if you're cautious and your players are willing to rest and retreat frequently, I don't think that raw access to hit point healing will be too much of a problem. However, remember that a lot of save-or-die effects from previous editions are now save-or-lose-lots-of-hp, so the hp damage that's getting dished out may be higher proportionately. Also I'm sure you're aware, some of the latter adventures in the path are really brutal dungeon crawl slogs against lots and lots of undead. With limited healing/turning, these are going to be a lot harder and (even when done successfully) will take a lot longer, in PC-time. I don't remember the campaign well enough to be sure, but if there's any campaign deadlines, countdowns etc, you might run into problems. PCs have to explore dungeon X before midnight to save the world, vs PCs have to continually retreat for long rests to regain their hit dice heals/healing spells. And then there's the issue of intelligent opponents and how they'll react to a party who invades a dungeon, goes through a few rooms, and then retreats to heal - and does this multiple times over the course of days. Do they counterattack the party while they're resting? In-character, certainly they would (the monsters don't care HOW much effort the adventure writers put into drawing up the maps and designing the traps, they're going to trek out in the middle of the night and try to eat your faces at your campsite or gather every critter from the dungeon and set a killer ambush at the door with overwhelming force). Is this sort of thing going to lead to a fun game? That's up to what you and your players enjoy.

Also, you need to decide how you want to run the worm plague. If there's nobody in the party who can remove disease, then you will need to provide ready access to someone who can, or be ready for a high PC death rate. And be aware that if a PC (or PCs) contracts the thing, they are quite likely to abandon whatever they're doing, go back to the temple (or whatever) and get cured before continuing adventuring. As you say, the spawn of kyuss are a very common adversary in this campaign (and they're going to last longer in any given fight if you remove undead turning), and even at mid/higher levels, 5e PCs are going to be hit by them more often than 3e PCs with ludicrously stacking AC bonuses were. PCs are going to catch this disease a LOT, and it could get very monotonous and frustrating to have no in-party disease removal capability and time after time having to abandon what you're doing and trek back to HQ to get cured by an NPC yet again.
 

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