OneDnD Bard Playtest discussion

Ashrym

Hero
My initial question was whether the bard still felt like an iconic bard. I believe it still does for the most part but the spell list access restricts access to some typical spells until magical secrets becomes available. I prefer class spell lists to common lists. I think they give more identity to that specific class.

The change to prepared spells led to the change to magical secrets and I think that even though there are less secrets given in total that the prep mechanic made secrets far more versatile. The nice thing about prep is that it leads to using spells that might never be taken because those situational spells can be swapped out and back instead of never taken. The drawback is that I think this can take away from the identity of the specific bard style being emulated.

If the healing spells granted are meant to be a menu choice like domain lists that seems decent and should be attached to the college choice. If they are meant to maintain the jack-of-all-trades concept for bards when the arcane spell list restricts healing I can see the point, but we're going from bards who may or may not be built to heal with some minor healing to all bards have those healing spells. It feels like I have lost the option to build bards who don't heal; probably because I have lost that option.

I preferred song of rest and deciding how much healing I wanted. I thought there was better flavor and more build variety that way. OC, free spells prepped isn't bad and if that's how we have a bard healer then I'll take it.

Losing the extra weapon proficiencies isn't a big deal. They were largely flavor to represent a bit of martial training that wasn't necessary (IMO). Other subclasses will add proficiencies anyway based on what I've seen here so far.

I do like the changes to bardic inspiration. Using proficiency bonus instead of CHA bonus for the number of uses slows down the number of uses, as does the delay of font to 7th level, but the "fail" wording and reaction makes for a more reliable ability. Not losing the ability on a roll of a 1 when the die increases and that likelihood to not lose that use of the inspiration will decrease as the die increases with level. That's not good.

Superior bardic inspiration is far better than the old capstone. Regaining 2 uses is obviously better than 1 use only if all uses are expended. It's subject to the odd mechanic of fully refilling by instigating encounters and not using any inspiration during those encounters.


No. No it's not and it never has been. You're inventing stuff now. They started off with actual druid and no wizard levels. Then moved to arcane casters with wizard spells and a spell book in 2e. Then in 3e were arcane casters that were like sorcerers, but still had a limited selection and the same with 5e. Maybe you're thinking of the Spellsinger series of novels that were not D&D.

Yes they do. They just don't make up magical spells on a whim.

Bards started with magic-user spells prior to the AD&D publication. That PHB was the only version of the bard the was ever not an arcane spellcaster and it was just an appendix option at the time. When a single edition was not arcane and every other edition was then arcane is the standard.

The access to every arcane spell up to the spell level limit existed in 2e because they used a wizard spell book and the wizard spell list. This play test version has less access to arcane spells than that bard because of the spell school restrictions and lower number of spells prepped.

3.x gave bards access to those spells via prestige classes (notably Sublime Chord), and they definitely had the ability to acquire those spells. Spell secrets from Lyric Thaumaturge specifically gave sorc/wiz spells as a precursor to magical secrets. Magical secrets just moved that access from PrC's to the base class in 5e. And 5e grants that same access with magical secrets.

"Making up spells on a whim" might be a bit hyperbolic given what's being presented is the bard is making a bard version of the spell as "making up a spell" and that isn't something we haven't seen. This is especially true for every bard in 3.x or 5e who picks up wish to replicate most spells on whim.

On those notes, however, one of the things I don't like about the common spell lists is bards are harder to make in that 1e tradition of primarily drawing from druid spells. The 5e list shares a lot of druid spells already and secrets can fill that out a bit more. I don't have that same sense of the old school version with this playtest version.

In what way is that reflected mechanically, in any edition?

Magical secrets in the context it was presented, and wish as literally casting spells on the fly. Bards could do this via PrC in 3.x and can do it via secrets in 5e.

If it's based on their whim, why do they have to select their spells ahead of time, either as spells known (in the 5e bard) or prepared for the day (in the proposed 6e bard)? Wouldn't they just be able to create the effect they want right then, "on a whim" as you say?

This part of the discussion was based on creating spells through creativity and that's what secrets allows for. "On a whim" is better expressed through the wish spell and that does exist as an option for bards.

Sure there is. It's the fact that wizard cannot just pluck spells out of the air and write them all in their books to memorize. No arcane caster can do it or has ever been able to do it.

There's no good reason to think that just because bards can play a musical instrument(the only real difference between bards and sorcerers with their spells), that they can just pluck any spell they feel like out of the ether to be able to cast that day. Hell, there's no good reason to think that they've even heard of every spell.

Wizards can cast wish too. Wish is the spell that let's arcane spell casters easily pluck spells out of the air. It doesn't even need to be an arcane spell that they pluck. Sorcerers can do this too. Neither writes the spell down and learns it, but wizards can easily have more access to wizard spells the bards cannot because the version of the bard we're discussion only has that free access to 2 spells at a time after hitting 3rd tier where the wizard has access to all of the spells in the wizard spell book.

Playtesting the current rules wizards also still cast rituals from their book without needing to prep them like bards would need to.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Bards started with magic-user spells prior to the AD&D publication. That PHB was the only version of the bard the was ever not an arcane spellcaster and it was just an appendix option at the time. When a single edition was not arcane and every other edition was then arcane is the standard.
Sure. I even noted that only one had them as non-arcane.
The access to every arcane spell up to the spell level limit existed in 2e because they used a wizard spell book and the wizard spell list. This play test version has less access to arcane spells than that bard because of the spell school restrictions and lower number of spells prepped.
No. They did not have access to every spell in 2e, because in 2e they had to go out and find spells. They did not for instance have access to every single 1st level spell the instant that the hit 2nd level. Not only were the 2e bard's first 1d4 spells completely random, but he didn't even gain a spell of choice when he gained a level. He had to find them all.

Having such a hard time getting new spells to cast is the opposite of what the 5.5 playtest is doing.
3.x gave bards access to those spells via prestige classes (notably Sublime Chord), and they definitely had the ability to acquire those spells. Spell secrets from Lyric Thaumaturge specifically gave sorc/wiz spells as a precursor to magical secrets. Magical secrets just moved that access from PrC's to the base class in 5e. And 5e grants that same access with magical secrets.
Right, spell access remains limited as it was in 2e.
"Making up spells on a whim" might be a bit hyperbolic given what's being presented is the bard is making a bard version of the spell as "making up a spell" and that isn't something we haven't seen. This is especially true for every bard in 3.x or 5e who picks up wish to replicate most spells on whim.
Only slightly in that they can't switch spells on the fly. But the bard can invent any spell in existence(of the type he has access to, which is half of the schools), even those he has never even heard about, each morning when he prepares his spells for the day. That's close enough to "on a whim" for me. Hell, the rules don't even state it has to be PHB or from an official list of arcane spells, so he could theoretically just create entirely new spells of those schools without doing any research.
 

Ashrym

Hero
No. They did not have access to every spell in 2e, because in 2e they had to go out and find spells. They did not for instance have access to every single 1st level spell the instant that the hit 2nd level. Not only were the 2e bard's first 1d4 spells completely random, but he didn't even gain a spell of choice when he gained a level. He had to find them all.

They eventually had access to those spells via captured spell books or found scrolls. Or research or DM rewards or magic item stores depending the DM and campaign style. Harder access isn't the same thing as lack of access. By high levels it was minor distinction while the playtest magical secrets doesn't grant that access until 11th level. In granting that access it's still a limitation on the number available at the given time compared to a wizard and denying access to the divine or primal lists to create an opportunity cost.

The playtest bard is limited to 4 schools and can have 2 of the rest at any given time at higher levels. The 2e bard beats that by prepping 3 spells outside of those 4 schools and can do it earlier than 11th level.

I would also point out that 2e wizards didn't have all the spells, however. There were 3 methods of determining starting spells (player choice, DM choice, or collab) in the DMG. It was pretty much read magic, detect magic, and 4 other spells by DM choice. They also had to find spells leveling up to inscribe. Specialists got a free school spell without a knowledge roll but could not learn opposition schools at all and had lower rolls to learn non-specialized schools.

The intelligence chart determined the chance to learn the spell and dictated the maximum number of spells that could be learned. 2e was the edition a wizard could fail to learn fireball when a bard could, and the bard would cast it at a higher level because of the class progression tables and XP bonus options.

2e bards were great arcane casters and could easily have access to spells wizards did not. Part of the issue here is we don't really have the new playtest wizard to really compare to the new playtest bard, but a 2e to 2e comparison doesn't seem to line up with what you are saying.

Right, spell access remains limited as it was in 2e.

The spells known was the limitation, not the spells available. But when we look specifically at secrets in lyric thaumaturge what we ended up with was the bard having access to the full sorcerer list and the full bard list to have options not available to wizards or sorcerers. The sublime chord also granted access to those high level spells to also give bard spells / songs as options not available to wizards or sorcerers.

Bards ultimately had a strong selection in their caster PrC's and given the casting system in that edition a comparison to sorcerers is more accurate than wizards.

Only slightly in that they can't switch spells on the fly. But the bard can invent any spell in existence(of the type he has access to, which is half of the schools), even those he has never even heard about, each morning when he prepares his spells for the day. That's close enough to "on a whim" for me. Hell, the rules don't even state it has to be PHB or from an official list of arcane spells, so he could theoretically just create entirely new spells of those schools without doing any research.

That's a plus. The idea that bards could use magical secrets as a form of spell research isn't really different from any other spellcaster selecting which spells among the many when leveling up.

As it is, the playtest spell system leaves bards with more spell access in some ways when they're just using the same spell casting system as artificers now, but in other ways it leaves out a lot spells no longer available because they were on the class list and now are not.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
They actually have fixed this though? Having Perform and an Instrument allows you to roll with advantage. Instrument allows you to play the instrument, perform allows you to dance, sing, paint ect. I like having it this way.
Acapella performers suffer.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
They eventually had access to those spells via captured spell books or found scrolls. Or research or DM rewards or magic item stores depending the DM and campaign style. Harder access isn't the same thing as lack of access. By high levels it was minor distinction while the playtest magical secrets doesn't grant that access until 11th level. In granting that access it's still a limitation on the number available at the given time compared to a wizard and denying access to the divine or primal lists to create an opportunity cost.
No the didn't eventually have access to every single spell. They got access to a very, very limited selection of the thousands of 2e wizard spells. At no point, though, did a bard outside of a Monty Haul game or a player who cheated, have access to even every PHB spell, let alone all 2e spells.
I would also point out that 2e wizards didn't have all the spells, however. There were 3 methods of determining starting spells (player choice, DM choice, or collab) in the DMG. It was pretty much read magic, detect magic, and 4 other spells by DM choice. They also had to find spells leveling up to inscribe. Specialists got a free school spell without a knowledge roll but could not learn opposition schools at all and had lower rolls to learn non-specialized schools.

The intelligence chart determined the chance to learn the spell and dictated the maximum number of spells that could be learned. 2e was the edition a wizard could fail to learn fireball when a bard could, and the bard would cast it at a higher level because of the class progression tables and XP bonus options.

2e bards were great arcane casters and could easily have access to spells wizards did not. Part of the issue here is we don't really have the new playtest wizard to really compare to the new playtest bard, but a 2e to 2e comparison doesn't seem to line up with what you are saying.
2e bards had to roll to learn spells just like a wizard did. It wasn't like they just automatically got a spell that was found on a scroll. And since wizards were smarter on average, the wizard was far more likely to actually learn that fireball spell.
As it is, the playtest spell system leaves bards with more spell access in some ways when they're just using the same spell casting system as artificers now, but in other ways it leaves out a lot spells no longer available because they were on the class list and now are not.
The playtest is changing how spells work. They're getting rid of class lists, so while the artificer was able to learn whatever spell they wanted, they chose from a very, very limited selection of spells.

The playtest is now just giving broad categories. Arcane, primal, and divine. So when the bard uses this system, he is getting access to every spell on the arcane list of the 4 schools that he can use. That's a lot broader than the artificer.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
And dragons come in one form. Dragons!

Incorrect. There is no statblock labeled "Dragon". There are statblocks that use the word dragon, but none just called "Dragon"

CR doesn't matter. You would be using the ability as you encounter them. It's not as if you learn what a balor's resistances and immunities are until you encounter it. Chasme isn't going to clue you in.

CR does matter?

If you use this ability on a Chasme, and you learn it is resistant to fire, cold, lighting and immune to poison. Then later you are fighting a Balor, which is a stronger and more powerful demon, and literally on fire, then you can easily assume that Fire, Poison are immune and cold and lightning might still just be resistant, because it is a demon, just like that other demon. Also, the higher the CR, the higher level you are, and the less and less non-magical weapons matter.

So the only differences between the Chasme and the Balor can be inferred trivially.

It can lead to a tactical change. Will it every time? Probably not every time, but at least you will be able to make an informed decision rather than shooting blindly in the dark.

It doesn't lead to a tactical change unless you have magical weapons that are weaker than your non-magical weapons. In every other possible scenario, there is no tactical change. So the information is largely worthless.

If I have a longsword +1 and a Longsword, I'll be using the Longsword +1 against enemies with and without resistance to non-magical weapons, because as the stronger weapon, I'm just using it as my default weapon.

No they don't. Armor doesn't come with numbers attached in the world.

And yet, they do, because the players are immediately told a number attached to the armor. It is freely available information that they have 100% access to. No one is ever going to say that a player has NO WAY of knowing that a person holding a shield is more difficult to hit than a person without it. No one is ever going to say that a player has NO WAY of knowing that someone wearing chainmail is less protected than someone wearing plate armor.

So, why are you trying to say that there is NO WAY that they could use magic to confirm AC?

It's impossible for them to figure out exactly how much it protects, because hit points are abstract. Hit points don't even represent being actually hit until you are at 50%, and then it's only scratches until you hit 0. So that near miss? It was really a hit for 20 points of damage taking you from 100 to 80.

How's a guy in plate mail supposed to figure out how much his armor protected him against a miss that hit?

AC for armor is not representative of physical protection. It would need to be DR for that to be true.

Completely missing the point. Because we do know when we hit. Otherwise we couldn't activate abilities on a hit. The Paladin knows when they have hit the enemy, because they can only use Divine Smite when they hit the enemy. Whatever narrative you want to force around that is fine, but it doesn't change what is known.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Incorrect. There is no statblock labeled "Dragon". There are statblocks that use the word dragon, but none just called "Dragon"
Statblocks =/= creature. But since you will probably want proof, I will provide it to you. Page 6 of the monster manual. Dragon is a type of creature. Not red dragon. Not blue dragon. Dragon.

The statblock for wolf is just for that kind of wolf.
If you use this ability on a Chasme, and you learn it is resistant to fire, cold, lighting and immune to poison. Then later you are fighting a Balor, which is a stronger and more powerful demon, and literally on fire, then you can easily assume that Fire, Poison are immune and cold and lightning might still just be resistant, because it is a demon, just like that other demon. Also, the higher the CR, the higher level you are, and the less and less non-magical weapons matter.
No, you can't just assume that the Balor is like the other demon, because you don't know that demons have these things in common unless you learn it somehow. There's nothing that a Chasme and Balor have in common by looking at them other than they live on the Abyss. Hell, tons and tons of non-demon creatures also live on the Abyss, so unless you have the knowledge, you won't even know a Balor is a demon and not some other denizen of that place.
It doesn't lead to a tactical change unless you have magical weapons that are weaker than your non-magical weapons. In every other possible scenario, there is no tactical change. So the information is largely worthless.
It can also lead to using the Magic Weapon spell instead of something else someone might have cast, or using a magical class ability instead of swinging, or a lot of other things.
And yet, they do, because the players are immediately told a number attached to the armor. It is freely available information that they have 100% access to. No one is ever going to say that a player has NO WAY of knowing that a person holding a shield is more difficult to hit than a person without it. No one is ever going to say that a player has NO WAY of knowing that someone wearing chainmail is less protected than someone wearing plate armor.
Yes. Players know. PCs don't have any access to numbers.
So, why are you trying to say that there is NO WAY that they could use magic to confirm AC?
Magic is in fiction, as are the PCs. The PCs cannot know the numbers.
Completely missing the point.
Or did I? Maybe it was a hit that looked like a miss. ;)
Because we do know when we hit. Otherwise we couldn't activate abilities on a hit. The Paladin knows when they have hit the enemy, because they can only use Divine Smite when they hit the enemy. Whatever narrative you want to force around that is fine, but it doesn't change what is known.
The paladin makes no such choice. The player is the one who makes that choice. Narratively, the paladin just decided to smite on that attack.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Have you considered that not everything has to be taken to the extreme? We don't live in a bi-polar universe. I see value in rules that more accurately depict real combat to my mind. My players may as well. That's the upside to me. Your arguments make zero sense to me.

Sure it doesn't have to be taken to extremes, but I've seen more than a few times when a DM wants something because they see the value in making things "more realistic" and the back-liners who it doesn't affect agree with the DM, and then the front-liners end up getting the short-straw.

And, like I've said, I've played in quite a few systems with these sorts of injury rules, and it is pretty consistent to see the people who try and build character who can take punishment getting utterly rekt, while the people who build the more powerful archetypes who avoid direct confrontation entirely but still effectively contribute stay as they were. One side gets nerfed, the other stays the same, and the power imbalance increases. And it still won't be "accurate" to real-life combat, so it will potentially (because it has done this for me) decrease people's fun, all to just inch closer to an impossible to achieve goal.

And I don't get why.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Sure it doesn't have to be taken to extremes, but I've seen more than a few times when a DM wants something because they see the value in making things "more realistic" and the back-liners who it doesn't affect agree with the DM, and then the front-liners end up getting the short-straw.

And, like I've said, I've played in quite a few systems with these sorts of injury rules, and it is pretty consistent to see the people who try and build character who can take punishment getting utterly rekt, while the people who build the more powerful archetypes who avoid direct confrontation entirely but still effectively contribute stay as they were. One side gets nerfed, the other stays the same, and the power imbalance increases. And it still won't be "accurate" to real-life combat, so it will potentially (because it has done this for me) decrease people's fun, all to just inch closer to an impossible to achieve goal.

And I don't get why.
Because it a goal you don't value, and because, to me, you overvalue class balance. I have serious issues with some 3pp, for example, because they're so afraid to make something that might be a smidgen stronger than a WotC option that their design is too weak to use.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Statblocks =/= creature. But since you will probably want proof, I will provide it to you. Page 6 of the monster manual. Dragon is a type of creature. Not red dragon. Not blue dragon. Dragon.

The statblock for wolf is just for that kind of wolf.

Sorry, no moving the goalposts mid-discussion. I didn't ask for a creature type, I asked for a statblock. I haven't been discussing "creatures" I've been discussing statblocks. You don't get to just decide that you can't argue that point and try to argue a different point.

When I said "wolf" I meant "Wolf" not "Winter Wolf" not "Fire Wolf" not "Wisp Wolf" not "Blade Wolf". I was talking about the statblock "Wolf" which represents... normal wolves.

Also, if you want to go down the creature type rabbit hole, I note there is no "wolf" creature type, so that wouldn't apply either.

No, you can't just assume that the Balor is like the other demon, because you don't know that demons have these things in common unless you learn it somehow. There's nothing that a Chasme and Balor have in common by looking at them other than they live on the Abyss. Hell, tons and tons of non-demon creatures also live on the Abyss, so unless you have the knowledge, you won't even know a Balor is a demon and not some other denizen of that place.

Why can't I? What right do you have to tell me what I can and cannot assume?

As I said, this isn't about "what does your character know" this is about "What Maxperson will allow you to think". Because there is no other reason to demand that I not take the knowledge I have about a demon and apply it to another demon. Because, frankly, if my DM is putting me up against a Balor, and not telling us what this thing is... I question what is going on in the campaign. Why is a CR 19 final boss monster so unimportant to the campaign that we don't know anything about it.

Also, I have no idea what "tons and tons" of creatures you are talking about. Very few entries I can find in the monster books for anything non-demonic that lives in the Abyss. They all seem to be... fiends, with the same sort of resistances and immunities.

It can also lead to using the Magic Weapon spell instead of something else someone might have cast, or using a magical class ability instead of swinging, or a lot of other things.

And if they don't have a niche spell like Magic Weapon prepared? What do we do then? Because honestly, I've never seen anyone prepare the spell unless they know BEFORE the fight that they will be facing enemies resistant to non-magical weapons and there is ONE non-magical wielding ally who they can buff to be effective. And that means finding this out BEFORE the fight, so the Hunter's Lore ability would only tell you after the fight is over, at which point you already knew without it.

Very few melee classes who would use non-magical weapons primarily who have effective magical damage dealing options. And generally, if they do have something like that, it is a ranged option they'd be using before getting into melee, and once in melee they'd go back to using their non-magical weapons.

Yes. Players know. PCs don't have any access to numbers.


Magic is in fiction, as are the PCs. The PCs cannot know the numbers.

So why can't the player use an ability that will give them access to the numbers, and then have the PC translate it into something that makes sense to them without it having to be the number? If I can look at someone with plate mail and translate that to 18 AC, why can't I use magic to determine that something has 16 AC? It is literally the exact same thing. The PCs may not learn "you need to roll a 10 on a twenty-sided dice" but they learn information that translates to that, such as "it's hide is as tough as chain mail" which tells me it has an AC of 16. This is really not difficult.

The paladin makes no such choice. The player is the one who makes that choice. Narratively, the paladin just decided to smite on that attack.

Splitting hairs so fine that no one ever cares about them. The paladin didn't make their choice, they just so happened to make a choice that looked identical but keeps the swiss cheese 4th wall from getting a hole poked in it. That is pointless semantics.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Because it a goal you don't value, and because, to me, you overvalue class balance. I have serious issues with some 3pp, for example, because they're so afraid to make something that might be a smidgen stronger than a WotC option that their design is too weak to use.

I've homebrewed everything to bring it up, so that doesn't apply to me. I don't tend to like some of the 3pp stuff because it is either useless, way too hyper specific, or bonkers broken.

But I find it interesting you think "don't make front-liners games less fun" is overvaluing class balance.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I've homebrewed everything to bring it up, so that doesn't apply to me. I don't tend to like some of the 3pp stuff because it is either useless, way too hyper specific, or bonkers broken.

But I find it interesting you think "don't make front-liners games less fun" is overvaluing class balance.
I don't necessarily think these rules would make it less fun. If I were playing a fighter, I'd be excited about potentially getting actually hurt in a combat. I might actually be cautious, for example. I might even take combat seriously. I wouldn't use any rule as a DM that I'm not willing to play under with a PC. My group has seen me prove this many times.
 

If I were playing a fighter, I'd be excited about potentially getting actually hurt in a combat. I might actually be cautious, for example. I might even take combat seriously.
My experience is that front-line combatants already do take things seriously and already are cautious.

My experience is that the usual "point of failure" that leads to yoyo'ing isn't the front-line combatants being incautious or unserious about combat. It's that the rest of their team rarely takes supporting them seriously, because they know they can yoyo them. The actual frontline combatant knows that all it takes it some extra damage to hit them from a few sources and they're dead-dead, the rest of the team are usually pretty sure they can drop some kind of minimum-size heal and stop that.

This is why I think it's important to not look at Fighters and the like as the source of the problem here.

I mean, a lot of healers, and I've been absolutely guilty of this in 5E, just don't really want to heal anyone who isn't already down, because it's literally inefficient.

If you make rules that only penalize the PCs who get downed, not the ones who let them go down, you're unlikely to change this dynamic. The only way that even helps is the whinging from the players whose PCs get downed might cause the rest of the players to rethink. But a lot of players just won't even whinge! They'll just grin and take it.

I think maybe the best way to do this would not be to make people who get downed get punished in any way, not by injuries, and not by death, but rather to make so when they're down, they stay down for at least a round or two (even if they're fine), so the monster they were "tanking" (more likely blocking from getting to the rest of the party) can go and pummel the idiots who decided not to cast any spells or really do anything to prevent that guy going down.
I have serious issues with some 3pp, for example, because they're so afraid to make something that might be a smidgen stronger than a WotC option that their design is too weak to use.
I've absolutely seen 3PP like that and it is frustrating. However, what's even more frustrating (imho) is 3PP that is just wildly more powerful than WotC options to the point where there's zero comparison, and this is particularly bad when it's from a like a fairly "pro" 3PP outfit, who should know better. A great example is the Blood Hunter - it's easily as powerful as 1.5 normal classes. Each of the subclasses basically adds 30-80% of entire other class (like Barbarian or Warlock) to the Blood Hunter. Hell, there's a Barbarian-style subclass that gives you literally every major thing a Barbarian with a specific subclass get and then some. That's like 2.1 classes lol.

Personally my experience is that way more 3PP is just wacky OP than frustratingly UP, but YMMV. I'm always looking for that sweet spot in-between, and you do find it sometimes.
 
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Micah Sweet

Legend
My experience is that front-line combatants already do take things seriously and already are cautious.

My experience is that the usual "point of failure" that leads to yoyo'ing isn't the front-line combatants being incautious or unserious about combat. It's that the rest of their team rarely takes supporting them seriously, because they know they can yoyo them. The actual frontline combatant knows that all it takes it some extra damage to hit them from a few sources and they're dead-dead, the rest of the team are usually pretty sure they can drop some kind of minimum-size heal and stop that.

This is why I think it's important to not look at Fighters and the like as the source of the problem here.

I mean, a lot of healers, and I've been absolutely guilty of this in 5E, just don't really want to heal anyone who isn't already down, because it's literally inefficient.

If you make rules that only penalize the PCs who get downed, not the ones who let them go down, you're unlikely to change this dynamic. The only way that even helps is the whinging from the players whose PCs get downed might cause the rest of the players to rethink. But a lot of players just won't even whinge! They'll just grin and take it.

I think maybe the best way to do this would not be to make people who get downed get punished in any way, not by injuries, and not by death, but rather to make so when they're down, they stay down for at least a round or two (even if they're fine), so the monster they were "tanking" (more likely blocking from getting to the rest of the party) can go and pummel the idiots who decided not to cast any spells or really do anything to prevent that guy going down.

I've absolutely seen 3PP like that and it is frustrating. However, what's even more frustrating (imho) is 3PP that is just wildly more powerful than WotC options to the point where there's zero comparison, and this is particularly bad when it's from a like a fairly "pro" 3PP outfit, who should know better. A great example is the Blood Hunter - it's easily as powerful as 1.5 normal classes. Each of the subclasses basically adds 30-80% of entire other class (like Barbarian or Warlock) to the Blood Hunter. Hell, there's a Barbarian-style subclass that gives you literally every major thing a Barbarian with a specific subclass get and then some. That's like 2.1 classes lol.

Personally my experience is that way more 3PP is just wacky OP than frustratingly UP, but YMMV. I'm always looking for that sweet spot in-between, and you do find it sometimes.
There are a lot of concepts WotC won't touch, or designs in a way I disagree with. Looking for good 3pp is always worth the search to me.
 

There are a lot of concepts WotC won't touch, or designs in a way I disagree with. Looking for good 3pp is always worth the search to me.
For sure. That's honestly the only reason someone lazy and digital (i.e. using Beyond as my primary source) like me even looks to 3PP - the fact that they do stuff WotC won't or that WotC does boringly.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
As I said, this isn't about "what does your character know" this is about "What Maxperson will allow you to think". Because there is no other reason to demand that I not take the knowledge I have about a demon and apply it to another demon. Because, frankly, if my DM is putting me up against a Balor, and not telling us what this thing is... I question what is going on in the campaign. Why is a CR 19 final boss monster so unimportant to the campaign that we don't know anything about it.
Metagaming is cheating. It's not about what you should think. It's about you cheating and assuming to wildly different Abyssal creatures are the same in order to metagame knowledge about their strengths.
Also, I have no idea what "tons and tons" of creatures you are talking about. Very few entries I can find in the monster books for anything non-demonic that lives in the Abyss. They all seem to be... fiends, with the same sort of resistances and immunities.

They abyss is infinite and chaotically varied. There are 103 entries on abyssal creatures there, and there are literally millions(infinite really) of other creatures that are not demons that live in the abyss. They do not all have the same resistances and vulnerabilities.
And if they don't have a niche spell like Magic Weapon prepared? What do we do then? Because honestly, I've never seen anyone prepare the spell unless they know BEFORE the fight that they will be facing enemies resistant to non-magical weapons and there is ONE non-magical wielding ally who they can buff to be effective. And that means finding this out BEFORE the fight, so the Hunter's Lore ability would only tell you after the fight is over, at which point you already knew without it.
There are lots of tactics that would be affected, but that you would focus on the one specific one of the many I mentioned while avoiding the actual point is telling.
So why can't the player use an ability that will give them access to the numbers, and then have the PC translate it into something that makes sense to them without it having to be the number? If I can look at someone with plate mail and translate that to 18 AC, why can't I use magic to determine that something has 16 AC? It is literally the exact same thing. The PCs may not learn "you need to roll a 10 on a twenty-sided dice" but they learn information that translates to that, such as "it's hide is as tough as chain mail" which tells me it has an AC of 16. This is really not difficult.
Does it? What if it has a dex bonus as well? What if it has some other magical defenses? Getting hide that is as tough as chain mail would allow the player to assume 16, but that player will often be wrong.
Splitting hairs so fine that no one ever cares about them. The paladin didn't make their choice, they just so happened to make a choice that looked identical but keeps the swiss cheese 4th wall from getting a hole poked in it. That is pointless semantics.
No it isn't. It's a major and distinctive difference.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
My experience is that front-line combatants already do take things seriously and already are cautious.

This is basically my answer in a nutshell @Micah Sweet

I actually am playing a barbarian right now who was just in a combat. He had been dropped multiple times in the previous fight and we were moving into a new fight. He took the lead. Was I not taking the combat seriously?

No, I was. This combat was about rescuing a little girl who had been kidnapped. The two non-melee characters who were still up had much lower AC than me, but hit much harder than me. We knew there was only one, maybe two enemies up ahead, and my guy figured he could stay concious for at least one blow, and give the others the opening they needed. Could he have died in that fight? He didn't care. The point wasn't him trying to survive the fight, the point was the team winning the fight and rescuing a little girl. Dying was worth saving a child's life, that's just how he thinks.

Most melee front-liners I see are taking combat seriously. And to any degree they are incautious, it isn't because they are going YOLO, it is because they are prioritizing something else over their own survival. Generally the safety and survival of others.

I mean, a lot of healers, and I've been absolutely guilty of this in 5E, just don't really want to heal anyone who isn't already down, because it's literally inefficient.

Yeah, I know people give me a lot of strange looks when I say healing needs to be buffed, but frankly that would prevent yo-yo healing almost immediately. If you could heal and that healing at least cancel a single monster's attack, then you would see people healing mid-combat more. But very quickly they realize that taking their action to only partially undo an opponents action is a terrible plan, so all healing gets regulated to either after the fight or when someone drops and it is an emergency action.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Metagaming is cheating. It's not about what you should think. It's about you cheating and assuming to wildly different Abyssal creatures are the same in order to metagame knowledge about their strengths.

So, using knowledge about demons to make educated guesses about demons is cheating. Yet again, we find the truth. This is never about "what does your character know", this is about "I am certain you are cheating, because you don't think like I think."

Because, here's a question. Why should my character know anything about Abyssal creatures that aren't demons if they've only ever fought demons? The knowledge you are using to decide that I am cheating is... metagame knowledge. You are literally metagaming when you are saying "I know that there are more types of creatures that aren't demons and don't share their resistances, so therefore my character wouldn't assume that these demons share resistances, because I know they are working from incomplete knowledge."

People work from incomplete knowledge to build paradigms all the time, it is how you can get people who make WILDLY wrong claims about things, but if you limit yourself to only their knowledge, their conclusion makes sense. The difference is, you know that they are lacking knowledge.


They abyss is infinite and chaotically varied. There are 103 entries on abyssal creatures there, and there are literally millions(infinite really) of other creatures that are not demons that live in the abyss. They do not all have the same resistances and vulnerabilities.

Even in the first letter, I see a problem with your claim.

Aboleths -> Whether or not they live in the Abyss is irrelevant, they are likely not being encountered there. In fact, I've never heard of any being encountered in the Abyss. So for my character to think about how Aboleths are different I would not only need to know Aboleths live there, but have encountered Aboleths.

Arcanoloth -> These are Yugoloths. They don't live in the Abyss. They go to the Abyss on contracts. They are from The Grey Wastes. Saying they live in the Abyss because you can find them there is like saying that Celestials live in the Abyss because you can find them there.

Abrian, Abyssal Ant, Abyssal Hulk, Abyssal Drake, Abyssal Ghoul -> You know what these things have in common? They aren't in 5e. So, how many of those 103 entries are monsters that haven't been brought to 5e, and therefore don't matter to the discussion?

There are lots of tactics that would be affected, but that you would focus on the one specific one of the many I mentioned while avoiding the actual point is telling.

Because your actual point is a vague "It matters!" without actually giving any concrete reasons for it. You've just made a vague assertion, with no supporting evidence, and expect me to just accept it as gospel fact. Sorry, no. If you want to convince me, you need to provide counter-evidence, not vague assertions. Especially since I have acknowledged there is a small subset times when it happens. I just find it to be the minority. Just like claiming all M&M's are red, if you want to prove it, you need to do more than just pull a single red M&M out of the bowl.

Does it? What if it has a dex bonus as well? What if it has some other magical defenses? Getting hide that is as tough as chain mail would allow the player to assume 16, but that player will often be wrong.

Chain mail doesn't provide a dex bonus, also, if dex bonus mattered, then it would be mentioned in the knowledge the player learns. Magical Defenses? Those would also be mentioned in the knowledge they learned.

What you are doing is assuming that because I didn't list every possible thing, that there must be secret factors that matter that I'm hiding. I'm not. You would be wrong.

No it isn't. It's a major and distinctive difference.

No it isn't.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
If the player knows something but there is doubt if the character would know it, an Intelligence ability check with the appropriate skill can easily determine if the character happens to have come across it.

Every once in a while, a skeptical DM can ask for an ability check to confirm a piece of knowledge.
 

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