Are TTRPGs Even a "Good" Hobby?


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UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
A fun time with friends. The ability to be creative in making a world and NPCs. Crafting stories together we'll remember for years. Thrills, laughs.
I just don't get it often. I'm working too hard to be able to have a good time. Everyone else but me gets to have fun.
Stop working so hard. The stories that you will remember for years emerge but cannot be forced.
 


UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I'd have to learn 5e. I've really struggled with running the system in a balanced way. Most of the encounters just didn't work. I think it's largely the encounters per day assumption built into the game.
I remember discussing this with you before and I seem to remember that you have a liking for 4e style cinematic combat and I do not believe that 5e can do that. I wonder if you have much time on the player side of 5e? Combats in 5e look worse from the player perspective than from the DMs. However, if you make all combats deadly or more deadly then you will occasionally tpk as the initiative and a few early crits can really destroy a party.
If you can accept that many of the basic encounters will be a bit bland and only put work into the mini boss and boss fights it would reduce the work load a lot.

On the bonus action, you could borrow the house rule from Critical Role where potions can be taken as a bonus action and be somewhat generous with potions.

Run shorter adventures, Ghosts of Saltmarsh has converted me. I may still run a big AP now and again but there is a lot to be said for shorter more episodic material.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Old me (as new DM circa 1990-2000): Yes. I would track the AC and HP of heroes behind the screen. I would roll behind the screen. I would let all damage be done for dramatic purpose - to get the heroes get damaged "just enough." Everything was fudged. The only deaths that would happen would be things like failed saving throws that the players did in the open.

Mid me (experienced DM circa 2000-2010): No. I was writing for publication in the 3E/PF era. My encounters had to be playtested by strict RAW. All rolls in the open ... "if he dies - he dies." No fudging anything.

Current me (older but not wiser DM circa 2011-present): I roll everything in the open because that is what the Internet demands. Trust in the game system, right? What else am I going to do - play favorites? With certain systems like 5e, I don't know if the encounter math has ever seemed correct in an encounter. So do I just let the players roll dice until I feel like enough damage has been done? Or we're bored?

In short, I don't know when it's appropriate to fudge, but I've been on both extremes.
I roll behind the screen and since 5e I do not fudge at least not dice or hip points but I have never tracked players AC, hit points or anything else (except with VTT because they do it) but I will be damned if I change my die rolling because of what the internet says.

That said 3.5 was my bug bear in encounters once the party got above level 7 or. Grew to hate that system. My fudging in 5e is add another wave of monsters to because that was too easy or call the fight because it is obvious that the characters are going to win and only mooks remain.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Stop working so hard. The stories that you will remember for years emerge but cannot be forced.
That right there.

"I have this epic story I want to tell the players but three sessions in they don't care and aren't engaged."

Because they're either bored by the system, bored by the story, or both. If they don't get to make actually meaningful choices that actually affect the world and story, they will check out.

"I'm running this epic adventure path and the PCs keep trying to go left when the story needs them to go right."

Because they're playing the game to make choices, not be led around by the nose. If they don't get to make actually meaningful choices that actually affect the world and story, they will check out.

This is a corollary to the improv NPC "mystery." Players will inevitably be drawn like moths to a flame when they encounter that NPC you made up on the fly in response to some random thing they did or bizarre choice they made. They will yawn and ignore the meticulously crafted and over-prepped NPC every time.

Now swap the word "NPC" for "story" in the above.

If the story does not emerge from the players' choices, the players will check out. But they will remember for years the stories that were a result of their choices.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I remember discussing this with you before and I seem to remember that you have a liking for 4e style cinematic combat and I do not believe that 5e can do that. I wonder if you have much time on the player side of 5e? Combats in 5e look worse from the player perspective than from the DMs. However, if you make all combats deadly or more deadly then you will occasionally tpk as the initiative and a few early crits can really destroy a party.

If you can accept that many of the basic encounters will be a bit bland and only put work into the mini boss and boss fights it would reduce the work load a lot.
There's nothing stopping you from running 5E fights in a more cinematic 4E style. All the advice about interesting terrain, environmental effects, secondary objectives, etc all still apply to 5E. And it doesn't take that much work to do at all. Simple version is take good 4E encounters and use them in 5E. Use 5E monster stats, DCs, damage, etc and you're good.

Improvising Damage, 5E DMG, p249 is one half of "Page 42" from the 4E DMG. The other half is Difficulty Class, 5E DMG, p238.

With the DC chart and improvised damage in hand you can easily import anything.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
There's nothing stopping you from running 5E fights in a more cinematic 4E style. All the advice about interesting terrain, environmental effects, secondary objectives, etc all still apply to 5E. And it doesn't take that much work to do at all. Simple version is take good 4E encounters and use them in 5E. Use 5E monster stats, DCs, damage, etc and you're good.

Improvising Damage, 5E DMG, p249 is one half of "Page 42" from the 4E DMG. The other half is Difficulty Class, 5E DMG, p238.

With the DC chart and improvised damage in hand you can easily import anything.
While I agree, I do not believe one can fine tune 5e the way one could in 4e and I also believe that outside boss fights it is not worth the effort. I also do not believe that every fight has to be a cracker edge of the seat affair. Some there to show that the PCs are awesome, we are not making a movie.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
While I agree, I do not believe one can fine tune 5e the way one could in 4e and I also believe that outside boss fights it is not worth the effort. I also do not believe that every fight has to be a cracker edge of the seat affair. Some there to show that the PCs are awesome, we are not making a movie.
Sure. But this is about what the OP is looking for. If that's his stated goal, then...
 

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