If you're playing in person and using folded notecards to track initiative, add one for Initiative 20 (lair/environmental actions), and 3 small ones for Legendary actions as reminders.
The biggest problem is that characters are dumb. Not the player, but the characters. We only have a limited amount of time to play the game, and need to keep things flowing. That means a huge amount of intellectual power and information gathering cannot be applied, and even when it can, the characters often disagree on a course of action because they lack good resolution skills.Indeed. Intelligence does seem to get fetishised quite a bit in fantasy / sci-fi circles as the be-all and end-all of every character and conflict.
Yes, the Stat blocks are becoming more DM friendly, and have been even going back to VGtM.On top of this, the new standard appears to be to include a relevant spell description in the actions, like chromatic orb from Auril's first stage
I disagree a bit on this. Although there are a lot more monsters that have spells, I think for the most part they are there for flavor / world building and can be easily ignored on purpose. What I mean by this is that the CR of the monster, unless it is primarily a spellcaster, is not determined by the spells it has. They are there for an extra layer if you want them or need them, but you can run the monster completely fine without them. On top of this, the new standard appears to be to include a relevant spell description in the actions, like chromatic orb from Auril's first stage:
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I think this is a good compromise. You have a spell you are likely to need stated out for you, and then some flavor spells you can use if you want to, but you don't need to.
This blog can help. The Monsters Know What They’re Doing - Ready-to-Use Tactics for D&D 5E
Even if you don't agree with his tactics, he explains his reasoning and assumptions, so it's easy to work out your own
That snip was, but it started well before Frostmaiden. That was just the easiest to find as it was fresh in my memory.I think what they're doing in there (presumably in Frostmaiden?) is good, but it's not how it's been done historically, at least not in a lot of cases.
We will have to agree to disagree. However, please note that I qualified my statement to monsters that are not primarily spellcasters.I don't agree that "for the most part" monster spells are for world-building, certainly not the in the books I own (which is all the actual monster-books and most of the setting books, but not the adventures).
Lair actions....because they aren't in the statblock. Fortunately, its only been one monster so far.....
I find this to be pretty common, but I also find the CRs in the MM to be fairly accurate (with some exceptions) when you account for all the features and traits. Others do not agree.