D&D 5E Bouncing heroes and healing tweaks

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Yes, that is the good thing about having these kinds of conversations. I started writing pretty convinced I knew what the issue was, but after some exchanges in post, feedback from fellow forum-dwellers about consequences of the proposed changes and also suggestions on how I might do things differently, the real matter becomes more evident.

The players (at least the majority of them) are actually nice in regards to the others. They do seem to abhor "wasting" actions stabilizing or healing comrades, but usually don't think twice before throwing themselves on harm's way to protect their allies or any NPC they care about. They also seem to get too stingy regarding using resources in a significant manner to make healing effective, even when, by the end of the day, they still have a lot of resources remaining. They do not shy out of burning resources to do pornographic amounts of damage, though....

It does get annoying when they are deep into the sixth or seventh encounter in the day (pretty much getting to the end of the dungeon already) and by the last rounds of combat the "bouncing" starts. And then, when combat ends, I get some players complaining about just that, which I do understand, the narrative gets really weird when this happens, and the scene as a whole is ugly. But on the other hand, I point out they managed to finish the day with significant resources unspent but still they gave themselves the luxury of being careless about healing or otherwise preventing damage or using defensive tactics. And then, sometimes, some PC dies, and everybody is not happy about that.





I know I have been playing way longer and way more often than most of my players, and I am starting to realize that maybe I should just soften the game. But then again I get second thoughts about that, as I already feel my game is not really very challenging (even though they keep on dying stupidly) and to lower the bar could lead to a game without that tension that makes the combats interesting. Do you get what I mean?

On the other hand, I could just assume their tactics as they are, and throw in encounters accordingly. I am not sure how to achieve that, though. I mean, what exactly should I adjust in the encounters to take into account that the party in general refuses to back down to defend or heal, even though they have invested classes, levels, spell selection, etc., to have all the resources for that?




I am not really looking at a rule change, just some way to solve those table issues. If changing some rule could help, good, but any other solution is as welcome. Sometimes they get too focused on killing enemies instead of understanding what is really going on in the fight. They take for granted that the best defense is a strong offense. When this is the case, the battles run really well, but when this is not the case, then bad things happen, and it is not because the game difficulty has changed, but because the challenge is different.

A little bit off-topic, but still somewhat related, this eagerness to go full offense also has other consequences. For instance, some of the players specialize in nova-alpha attacks. Sometimes it happens that they discharge such a huge amount of damage in round 1 that the enemies, without knowing what will come next, simply flee, or start using skirmish tactics, which the group hates to handle. It is funny for me because they really like to kill all opposition, to be sure not to need to handle it again later, but more often than not they fail to reach this objective just because of this tactic, and sometimes they even lose very important objectives because of that too, as the enemy doesn't even bother to keep on an already lost battle and escapes with some important item/info/MacGuffin. They point out that they understand the enemy is just reacting to their chosen approach, but nonetheless complain that this converts fights into desperate chases. Then I get puzzled that they know the cause of their problem but they can't help themselves just doing that again on the next opportunity.



This is one problem, yes. They should be dying when they do stupid things themselves, but as a team game, they more often die because somebody else neglected them, which is sad and does not always "taste well" after the game. The other problem is narrative. All this bouncing does not make for good fighting scenes.



This is the tricky part. It is not always easy to acuse someone of being selfish, as they present different behavior depending on different scenarios, and quite often they act heroically and selflessly. To me, it seems more like they are reckless, they sometimes just take the mechanics of the game regarding healing and stabilization and the "offense is the best defense" motto for granted, and get blindsided by different reactions from the enemies, or by the occasional string of bad luck in situations where luck should not have taken a part to begin with.

I still think that your problems would be fixed if you had a group of enemies that healed to full whenever a PC drops, then on the second time they regain all their resources and on a third time their downed allies likewise heal to full and get all their resources.

Or buff healing, as long as it is used on conscious targets. And have all healing on unconscious targets to always default to 1 HP.
 

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Paraxis

Explorer
To encourage them to keep allies up impose a level of exhaustion if they go to 0 h.p.

To keep them from bouncing back into the fight once at 0 h.p, require the character to be healed to half hit points before regaining consciousness in combat.

To teach them the dangers of being at low h.p use monsters with high damage attacks that can do enough damage to intantly kill them if they hover in the single digit h.p zone.

To teach them to heal downed allies target characters that are at 0 h.p.

To make things more deadly change death save DC to 15.

To make certain areas even more deadly like necromancer/undead lairs have all death saves be made with disadvantage.

Use lingering wounds option from the DMG.

Mix and match to get the feel you want for your campaign.
 

Horwath

Hero
1. I would bring back negative HPs.

You die at -constitution score+level. 20th level character with 20 con dies at -40 HP.


2. change the healing spells.
4e did one thing good for healers as they made spells that you make an attack and if you hit you or ally can spend a healing surge. It satisfied the "ego" need of dealing damage and healing at the same time.

Also make healing only spells use bonus actions. That way you can still use your Action for an attack or some other "damage-like" thing.

Make cure wounds 1 min cast spell that heals alot.

I.E.
Cure wounds; 1st level spell
Casting time: 1 minute
Target heals for 15 HP, for each spell level above 1st raise the healing by 15HP

Healing word; 1st level spell
Casting time: bonus action
Range: 30ft
Target heals for 2d6 damage, for each spell level above 1st raise the healing by 2d6

Holy light; cantrip
Casting time action:
Range 30ft
Target one enemy within 30ft. If he fails charisma save deal 1d6 radiant damage. If this spell deals damage your or an ally within 30ft can spend 1 HD to heal themselves.
Spell deals 2d6 at lvl5, 3d6 at lvl11 and 4d6 at lvl17. You or ally can spend up to 2 HDs at lvl5, 3HDs at lvl11 or 4 HDs at lvl17.
 

You know that DM that likes their game to be one which hero death matters? Who takes from their hat add-ons to resurrection and raise dead spells that effectively make them once-in-a-campaign events..?
Yes, I've even gone there. I've also consistently seen it backfire. You make a huge deal out of once-in-a-campaign-level resurrection, and, then that PC just up and dies again out of the blue, or another PC as or more deserving/central-to-the-plot/whatever does, or the player moves away or otherwise becomes unavailable.

Who does not shy away from employing save-or-die (or better, choose-wisely-or-die) scenarios, as long as they are well telegraphed to the players so to avoid gotchas.
That can tend to get you a game of Paranoid Fantasy Roleplaying rather than Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying - "not that there's anything wrong with that..." ;P

Something that has been happening for a while (it is not a 5e specific issue)... I have players that simply refuse, at any cost, to spend one turn or a higher level resource to rescue a comrade in bad conditions during a melee.
That actually is something that kinda came back with 5e, because healing resources, though perfectly adequate overall, are a little weak and combats are tuned to be fast, so staying on offense rather than standing up an ally (especially doing so 'inefficiently' with the low-hps restored by Healing Word) often seems the way to go. It's similar to the situation in 3.5, really. Out-of-combat healing is resource-efficient (cheap wands in 3.5, HD not useful for anything else in 5e) and using your action offensively is very effective (because of OP spells & combos in 3.x, and fast-combat-tuning in 5e).

I find it more annoying that by entitling themselves to be complete arses, they even manage to complicate some encounters, by not preemptively acting to protect one another, followed by a dropped ally, who subsequently loses their action and is one less threat for the enemies.
That sounds like a problem, but how do you "preemptively act to protect one another" in D&D? Especially in 5e, how is just focusing fire to reduce the threat posed by enemies by simply dropping them ASAP not the most obvious way to do that?

Using an action now to prevent an ally from dropping is perceived as a weaker strategy as acting before the fact to prevent the drop and the ally's losing an action
Not sure I see the distinction. If you mean healing an ally to prevent them from dropping, yes, it's seen as a weaker strategy both because healing can't generally keep up with damage inflicted and because of the next point...

Healing a fallen ally is cheaper, as any leftover damage does not get accounted for.
Definitely true in an analytic sense. It's more efficient to let the enemy 'waste' damage in overkilling an ally, then negating all that excess damage

When the fight is too close to the end, it seem better just to try for a finishing blow and them rescue any fallen comrades.
Certainly true. In 3.5 you could count on ending a fight very quickly and in 4e dying rules were pretty forgiving so you could count on an ally staying alive for a round or few while you did so.
In 5e, both are true, and "fight close to the end" could be the case quite early in the battle...

While I generally agree with the third bullet myself (even though I find it somewhat reckless in some circumstances), the first bullet really annoys me. It has over and again being detrimental to the party tactics, but selfishness usually takes over and they never learn the lesson, even when adventurers start dying as a result of a battle becoming tougher.

The second bullet is a result of the specific way health is abstracted in 5e, and I find it even more annoying, as it effectively introduces the "bouncing heroes" effect.
"Whack-a-mole healing," we call it. It's always been an issue in any past edition or variant that had any dying options beyond instant-death-at-0-hps, because healing an ally in combat could always be 'wasted' if that ally didn't take any more damage that fight. Heal-from-0 and very generous dying rules (being dropped is even less life-threatening in 5e than it was in 4e), certainly build upon that incentive to a greater degree than ever, though.

But it'd be very hard to get away from by making combat 'deadlier' or healing/raising rarer or weaker or harder to use, because that only makes those less attractive options compared to all-out 'nova' offense that leverages 5e's fast-combat design to drop enemies faster than they can drop allies, rather than keeping allies up.

To address these issues (mostly the first and second bullets), I could go full "evil" and just start using actions from the baddies to terminate fallen heroes as soon as these baddies notice the healing capabilities of the party. But, on the other hand, sometimes I feel like I am even more of an arse than my usual self by doing this. This "solution" has, though a subjective advantage of not needing any rules tweak.
A good case in point. By raising the stakes, you make the most expedient option (full out offense from the surprise round on) that much more attractive.

Then I thought about a second option. What if every time someone gets dropped, they will take at least some minutes to be able to recover consciousness?
Then once someone is dropped they can forget about being healed, because it's a 'wasted' action in the action economy (and a wasted slot), and the efficient way to go is to let the ally recover using HD after the fight. Trying to heal to stay ahead of enemy damage is also still a losing proposition, so, again, full-on offense would seem like the winning strategy, leading to rollovers that don't feel 'dangerous,' leading to the DM upping the difficulty...

I know it could potentially let Jimmy very bored as his selfless chevalier PC got down in the beginning of the combat trying to protect that frail spellcaster ally, but I think most of the time the party would go to extra pains to avoid this from happening as it would be very detrimental for the whole group.
What extra pains? Probably not pro-active healing while the tough PC is still up. Trying to take turns evenly-absorbing damage is theoretically efficient but tough to pull off and probably out of character for a lot of PCs.

Do anybody have another option that could address these points?
If you want to get away from whack-a-mole healing, you do, indeed, need to get rid of heal-from-0 as you suggest, track negatives, die at negative CON or 1/2 hps or something, and require healing to heal those negatives. But, you'd also need to make healing more potent across the board - for instance, when you're healed by magic, you can also spend 1 HD/spell level to get back more hps, and/or healing spells could use the target's HD size instead of their usual dice, and/or the caster's stat or the target's CON could add to hps recovered, etc... That way keeping an ally up with in-combat healing seems more viable vs healing only dropped allies or only stabilizing dropped allies and maximizing slots & actions available for offense.
Speaking of offense the other thing you might want to do is re-tune monster stats and combat rules to produce longer, more elaborate combats that can't be rolled over so quickly. It'd mean going against the 'fast combat' goal of 5e, which is among it's best-supported goals, but it would also weaken the all-offense 'nova' strategy.

Maybe I am just facing an odd problem. Some of my players have been complaining about that "bouncing heroes" feature for quite some time already
Not an unusual phenomenon. You can find several 'whack-a-mole' threads about it, here on ENWorld.

it really annoys me, as a DM, to see one of my players' PC die because the others are "gaming the game" too much (for lack of a better expression), or being just plain egotistical. Also, if I can somehow tweak the rules to change this dynamic, I will.
Nod. It's just that that tweak might, intuitively, be towards making the game less risky (it already seems pretty /easy/ but that's potentially a different quality than risky or deadly) rather than more.

Her rationale was that if everybody could barely survive, they could inexpensively recover HPs on a short rest, and her lay on hands was too valuable to be spent on anybody else, as she was the paladin, who could rescue everybody else if things went wrong.
She may not have been that wrong, if no one else could heal.

On yet another campaign, a light cleric would always try to concentrate all his spells on offense. This would even mean he would rather burn a 1st level slot at an enemy to deal 4d6 @ 70% hit chance (average damage expected ~10) in place of healing the rogue for 1d8+4 (average 8.5). Some might say this is sound as he could potentially drop the enemy, and the heal was smaller than the expected damage, but he would do this even when he didn't really have any expectation to drop an enemy (for instance when fighting a giant, while only halfway through the battle), while he knew by the rogue's remaining HPs that a 6-8 HP heal was good enough to keep the she standing for at least one more round
6-8 hps making a difference vs the damage dished out by a giant?

One observation on regard to healing amounts and damage amounts, when a party has a combined HP total of, let's say, 150, and the enemies have a combined HP total of 450 (not at all unusual at my table), to be able to win, the party must be able to output more than 3x as much damage as they can withstand.
Assuming no healing...
That would also mean that a healing of around 1/3 of the expected attack output usually breaks even in the end of the fight
That depends on the damage output of the enemy, too. If the healing buys an ally an extra round of attacking, and the ally is about twice as good at attacking as you would have been attacking with the same-level slot, maybe. If the heal stands a decent chance of making no difference (you don't know which wounded ally is going to be attacked next, heal one, and the other gets dropped, for instance, or you heal an ally and the next hit drops him, anyway).

Revivify is one exception to the resurrection spells that I just "charge" the expected from the book... Curiously, this one spell usually was kept on the paladin arsenal, and I think she felt really responsible to have this available for the sake of the others, if need would arise. ...It was just not very fun for the other guy that was holding the frontline with her when he saw that when she was getting the pounding, she would go full-in healing herself for some 70 HPs after she lost half her total, while in other fights he was taking the pounding and she would patiently wait for him to drop and only then she would heal him back some crumbs, so that he would proceed to drop and raise again and again. I does feel like good teamwork is what is missing...
It may seem to generate weird fiction, but what you describe is a pretty reasonable way of managing hp resources, given that the Paladin is the prime/only source of in-combat healing. She can't afford to drop, the most efficient use of her healing on behalf of allies is to stand them up when they've been overkilled to leverage the heal-from-0 rule while preserving their actions (though in some cases, that might not work out so well, depending on the initiative cycle).

When I run the game, I try not to make it too much of a game of guessing, as I find it a more rewarding experience when players make their choices well informed.
"Early healing" is kinda a guessing game. Who will be attacked next? Will they be hit? For how much damage?
 

I tend to find that my players are risk-adverse and will spend hours over-planning and over thinking, so I'm for anything that makes them more willing to act.

A point in 5e is that the players are right. With the exception of mass-healing with multiple wounded comrades, for the most part pre-emptive healing is less effective then an attack. A dead foe does no damage, while most healing offsets less than equivalent actions on the other side spent to wound. (Equivalent actions - what I mean is if a PC's action is 20% of their actions for the round (for a 5 man group), then 20% of foe actions.) Pop-up healing gets them back to act, sometimes without having lost an action at all depending on the initiative of the dropping attack, the healer, and the fallen character.

There's not a dichotomy though between offense and healing. You could also (1) actively protect a comrade (e.g. Otiluke's Resilient Sphere); (2) offer yourself as a more inviting target to draw off fire; (3) help a wounded comrade flee.

If PCs aren't doing any of these things, ever, then either they're not working together effectively, or they don't feel threatened. Pop-up healing, in the absence of multiple attacks/etc., could be one factor that leads to them not feeling threatened.

I dunno though. My players clearly do feel threatened--fearlessly approaching 0 HP and continuing to attack is just not something I see at my table, so I'm just conjecturing about what might be going on at other people's tables. Obviously I have no firsthand knowledge of WHY things work differently at your tables.
 

That sounds like a problem, but how do you "preemptively act to protect one another" in D&D? Especially in 5e, how is just focusing fire to reduce the threat posed by enemies by simply dropping them ASAP not the most obvious way to do that?

You can grab an ally who is low on HP and drag him away from the enemy, perhaps putting him on the other side of a chokepoint (like a doorway that you physically block after he goes through). You can grab an ally and Shadow Jump or Dimension Door away from the enemy. You can cast Otiluke's Resilient Sphere around an ally. You can grapple the enemy that's attacking him and shove the enemy prone or drag the enemy away. You can throw a Net on the enemy to eat up some actions. You can Disarm an enemy with DMG Disarm maneuver. You can drop concentration on your Fly spell in order to cast a Wall of Force protecting an ally. You can Repelling Blast an enemy away from an ally, even if that requires you to stand in a position that makes you vulnerable to other enemy attacks.

I'm sure I'm overlooking a dozen more ways.
 

There's not a dichotomy though between offense and healing.
They're two major alternatives to which the very significant 5e resource of spell slots can be dedicated, and, as is so often the case, lend themselves to simplistic hp-denominated comparisons.
There're more pro-active forms of defense, but they suffer from varying degrees of needing to predict the future (as does healing an ally before he drops), there're less direct forms of offense.
There's never any telling what just might work at a given table, too.
:shrug:

You could also (1) actively protect a comrade (e.g. Otiluke's Resilient Sphere);
... You can cast Otiluke's Resilient Sphere around an ally. You can grapple the enemy that's attacking him and shove the enemy prone or drag the enemy away. You can throw a Net on the enemy to eat up some actions. You can Disarm an enemy with DMG Disarm maneuver.
Y'know, for all that you mention it in two posts in a row, I can't say I recall anyone ever casting a Resilient Sphere defensively like that - I suppose because it's protective but also cuts off the ally from contributing.

And, like healing, all of those options sacrifice the focus-fire-DPR that wins the race to 0 hps in the game's most basic/obvious tactical approach.

(2) offer yourself as a more inviting target to draw off fire;
You can drop concentration on your Fly spell in order to cast a Wall of Force protecting an ally. You can Repelling Blast an enemy away from an ally, even if that requires you to stand in a position that makes you vulnerable to other enemy attacks.

I'm sure I'm overlooking a dozen more ways.
Dozens of creative/DM-may-I/off-label ways are less helpful than a few clearly viable ones more directly supported by the rules (especially rules that aren't spells!). Sure, if you happen to have certain spells or be in certain circumstances you can declare an action that the DM might allow to help you protect an ally...
...whom the enemy may or may not have attacked next, anyway....

(3) help a wounded comrade flee.
You can grab an ally who is low on HP and drag him away from the enemy, perhaps putting him on the other side of a chokepoint (like a doorway that you physically block after he goes through). You can grab an ally and Shadow Jump or Dimension Door away from the enemy.
5e allows a fair bit of mobility, it should't be too often that a conscious ally can't get himself out of trouble, but can simply be grabbed/pulled/shoved out of trouble. Paralysis, I guess.


If PCs aren't doing any of these things, ever, then either they're not working together effectively
Likely. Not every table is a well-oiled machine, a lot of players approach the game as an exercise in showing off - or showing up.
or they don't feel threatened. Pop-up healing, in the absence of multiple attacks/etc., could be one factor that leads to them not feeling threatened.....

I dunno though. My players clearly do feel threatened--fearlessly approaching 0 HP and continuing to attack is just not something I see at my table, so I'm just conjecturing....
Some players just don't immerse/empathize/invest enough to feel fear for their characters. A PC can be little more than a game token that can move as long as it has a hp. And treating it dispassionately like that can be part of gravitating to a fairly dogmatic set of tactics (like 'don't bother healing until they drop'), that, while valid and efficient enough, might not be the most fun every time....
 

Y'know, for all that you mention it in two posts in a row, I can't say I recall anyone ever casting a Resilient Sphere defensively like that - I suppose because it's protective but also cuts off the ally from contributing.

I recall someone learning Otiluke's Resilient Sphere for that reason. He never cast it, but that's just how contingency plans work: hopefully you never need them.

And, like healing, all of those options sacrifice the focus-fire-DPR that wins the race to 0 hps in the game's most basic/obvious tactical approach.

Sure. "Obvious" != "optimal," obviously.

But the context I'm responding to is the charge that healing 6-8 points of damage is ineffective and won't stop your ally from going down anyway. The actions I'm suggesting are not ineffective in this manner.

Dozens of creative/DM-may-I/off-label ways are less helpful than a few clearly viable ones more directly supported by the rules (especially rules that aren't spells!).

What's your point here, Tony? Are you saying that none of the examples I listed are clearly viable without spells or DM-may-I? (I disagree.) Are you saying you want to introduce new rules, like a Hinder action that makes it harder for an enemy to attack a specific ally? (Be my guest. Isn't that basically what Disarm is anyway?)

5e allows a fair bit of mobility, it should't be too often that a conscious ally can't get himself out of trouble, but can simply be grabbed/pulled/shoved out of trouble. Paralysis, I guess.

Opportunity attacks, for another. A guy with 4 HP left may choose to attack the T-Rex, because he's following the "obvious" strategy of trying to kill it before it kills him. At the end of his turn, if the T-Rex isn't dead, he can either take an opportunity attack (which might kill him) or sit there and hope that the T-Rex will miss him, OR one of his buddies can yank him out of the T-Rex's reach. Under 5E rules, being moved by somebody else doesn't provoke an opportunity attack--it makes no sense, but then, 5E's rationale for opportunity attacks makes zero sense in the first place so what's one more nonsensical special case?
 

I recall someone learning Otiluke's Resilient Sphere for that reason. He never cast it, but that's just how contingency plans work: hopefully you never need them.
Heh. Yep. Just that kinda thing...

Sure. "Obvious" != "optimal," obviously.
Obviously. but, obviously, the 'obvious' considerations can can drive decisions that become habits. If a table's experiencing these kinds of things, then the extant ways to avoid them weren't obvious enough, I guess.

But the context I'm responding to is the charge that healing 6-8 points of damage is ineffective and won't stop your ally from going down anyway. The actions I'm suggesting are not ineffective in this manner.
Though they mostly still have the same action-economy cost or same or higher level slot cost, yes.

What's your point here, Tony? Are you saying that none of the examples I listed are clearly viable without spells or DM-may-I?
Most of them are spells, and nothing much beyond spells and attack rolls much works without the DM ruling it so. Some players can make the most of that and frequently use such things, others are reluctant to even try and would rather push the button of an attack action or on-label use of a spell. If the OP had the former sort of players, he probably wouldn't be seeing the issues he is, since he is seeing them, a mechanical tweak (just not the one he initially considered) is probably the better way to go - though, maybe he is up for re-training his players, IDK.

Are you saying you want to introduce new rules
Variations that'd help have already been tossed out in this and other threads, and the OP can pick-and-choose or come up with something, himself. My point was that if he does so to make the game deadlier or feel more risky or whatever, he's probably just going to deepen the 'problem,' since that only puts a higher premium on managing resources efficiently.

Under 5E rules, being moved by somebody else doesn't provoke an opportunity attack--it makes no sense, but then, 5E's rationale for opportunity attacks makes zero sense in the first place so what's one more nonsensical special case?
I didn't notice 5e having a different rationale for OAs from 2eC&T/3.x/4e... the rationale I'm familiar with - that any enemies in melee are trading blows the whole round (be it 1 min or 6 sec) through, so if you 'drop your guard' you run the risk of being hit - never seemed that nonsensical, to me.
 

I didn't notice 5e having a different rationale for OAs from 2eC&T/3.x/4e... the rationale I'm familiar with - that any enemies in melee are trading blows the whole round (be it 1 min or 6 sec) through, so if you 'drop your guard' you run the risk of being hit - never seemed that nonsensical, to me.

I don't vouch for C&T, 3.x, or 4E, but 2nd edition rules (non-C&T) fit pretty well with reality: you could withdraw at 1/3 speed at no penalty, or turn your back and flee at full speed, and the enemy is allowed a free attack (or multiple free attacks if it has multiple attacks normally). You had the choice between dropping your guard or not; keeping your guard up made you move slower but it was up to you. That's how real life works too.

In 5E, opportunity attacks are not triggered by dropping your guard--they're triggered by voluntary movement. If we assume that you're spending your action this turn on e.g. drinking a potion instead of Disengaging, the following are all (absurdly) true in 5E:

(1) If you take two steps backward (5') while drinking the potion, the enemy gets a free attack if he's wielding a longsword.

(2) If you take two steps backward (5') while drinking the potion, an enemy with a whip or halberd doesn't get a free attack even though it can attack you without penalty from 5' away--because you're not "about to leave [its] reach."

(3) If you take two steps backward (5') while drinking the potion, an enemy with a longsword in one hand and a whip in the other still doesn't get a free attack with the longsword because you're still not about to leave its reach. Holding a whip actually prevents it from exploiting the opportunity!

(4) If someone (ally or enemy) shoves you backward (5') while you're drinking the potion, no enemies get a free attack even if they are wielding longswords. Being shoved by an enemy actually leaves you more​ in control than walking on your own two feet.

Furthermore, in 5E, if you trip and fall on your face, there is no opportunity attack. If you're busy casting a spell instead of trading blows in melee, there is no opportunity attack. If someone knocks you out with a Sleep spell and you fall to the ground unconscious, there is no opportunity attack. If you are completely paralyzed, there is no opportunity attack!!! The only thing that creates an opportunity attack is when you are "about to leave an opponent's reach" (as long as you can see it, and it's spending its own Movement/action/reaction).

TL;DR In 5E, under reasonably plausible circumstances (opponents with nontrivial static modifiers to their damage and a good chance to hit you), walking around is actually more hazardous to your health than being paralyzed is! That is deeply messed up.
 
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TL;DR In 5E, under reasonably plausible circumstances, walking around is actually more hazardous to your health than being paralyzed is! That is deeply messed up.
OK, so it's not the rationale, it's the implementation. I agree, for instance, that it's bizarre that casting or using a bow in melee doesn't provoke.

2nd edition rules (non-C&T) fit pretty well with reality: you could withdraw at 1/3 speed at no penalty, or turn your back and flee at full speed, and the enemy is allowed a free attack keeping your guard up made you move slower but it was up to you. That's how real life works too.
That's prettymuch the Dash-or-Withdraw choice 5e presents you with. It's just there's a lot of other things besides Dashing you could do with your action, and thus cause your Move that round to provoke...

There's no 5' step, or 'shifting,' though, so no 'fighting retreat,' which is obviously unrealistic (not that realism is a very valid bar for a game as far from reality as D&D, even before you take the magic & dragons into account).
 
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OK, so it's not the rationale, it's the implementation. I agree, for instance, that it's bizarre that casting or using a bow in melee doesn't provoke.

Maybe I should have written "rationalization" instead of "rationale." Regardless, the rules don't fit the fictional narrative.

I have at times contemplated house rules such as "anyone may make an opportunity attack at any time, at the cost of provoking opportunity attacks in response from anyone with a weapon in hand." (This would neatly allow you to opportunity-attack paralyzed (N)PCs at no risk as long as they're alone, since they can't make opportunity attacks. It would also allow you to punish wizards with spell focuses out instead of weapons, etc.) It never quite gelled though.
 

Valetudo

Explorer
I have been thinking up a wound system for 5e, if a player gets dropped, they get either head, body, arms, or legs wounded. Which ever body part is wounded gives a penalty of some sort. Head=disatvange on attack rolls and perception, body=one level of exaustion, arms=Half damage for physical attacks or concentration checks(DC15) for spellcasting, and legs=half movement. Now this is just theorycraft right now and I havent decide how recovering from wounds should work yet(maybe restoration spells).
 


Valetudo

Explorer
I also find the ease of using range weapons and spells with little consequence a poor design chouce that once again makes dex the uber stat.
 

If Withdraw was a form of movement instead of an action, it would be.
Dash is an action and a form of movement, you want to move full speed, you Dash. So, Move-Dash vs Withdraw-Move is the same as retreat at half speed vs run away at full speed.
It's just there's a lot more to it, as well, since there are many more actions possible...

(This would neatly allow you to opportunity-attack paralyzed (N)PCs at no risk as long as they're alone, since they can't make opportunity attacks. It would also allow you to punish wizards with spell focuses out instead of weapons, etc.) It never quite gelled though.
In at least one of the eds you skipped, there was a Coup de Grace action that let you finish a helpless foe - but it provoked.
 

mflayermonk

First Post
On the other hand, I could just assume their tactics as they are, and throw in encounters accordingly. I am not sure how to achieve that, though. I mean, what exactly should I adjust in the encounters to take into account that the party in general refuses to back down to defend or heal, even though they have invested classes, levels, spell selection, etc., to have all the resources for that?

Monsters with aura damage, such as the fire elemental.
You could also customize monsters to add aura damage of various types. Quick way to do this is to remove one of the attacks from a multiattack, cut the damage to 25%-50% of normal (salt to taste here) and then make that damage auto aura based damage.

Certain monsters such as the Giant Spider and Giant Wasp will force a downed PC to make a Con save or be out of the combat for 1 minute. No death, but still incentives having a PC not go down.
 

First you wrote:

That's prettymuch the Dash-or-Withdraw choice 5e presents you with.

Then me:

If Withdraw was a form of movement instead of an action, it would be.

Then you wrote:

Dash is an action and a form of movement, you want to move full speed, you Dash. So, Move-Dash vs Withdraw-Move is the same as retreat at half speed vs run away at full speed.

This doesn't establish the equivalence you claimed. Under AD&D rules, you can take a step backward while drinking a potion, or after making an attack, or almost anything else except casting a spell; you suffer no free attacks while doing so, because withdrawing is a form of movement, not an action: it is orthogonal to most actions.

In 5E rules, withdrawal is an action, and is not compatible with drinking a potion, or making an attack, or pretty much anything else, unless you are a Rogue or Goblin and can therefore Withdraw with your bonus action.

Not equivalent at all.

It's just there's a lot more to it, as well, since there are many more actions possible...

It's not the number N of other actions that makes it complicated--it's the fact that withdrawal doesn't belong in the action economy at all, and only is equivalent to an action in the special case of Dashing. If Dashing and Disengaging were the only types of actions 5E allowed, then the 5E choice would look superficially similar to the AD&D choice, not because they are actually similar but because you're examining a pathological case.

It's cleaner to just eliminate Disengage from the game, and say that opportunity attacks don't happen if you're moving at half speed or below. Incidentally this also removes the "newbie trap" wherein the new player says, "Okay, I don't want to fight, I'll go over here and talk to the chained captive" and a poor DM says, "Aha! the drow hits you for 7 points of damage, because you didn't say 'I disengage'". (True story.) A good DM would say, "I assume you want to Disengage, right?" but without Disengage you wouldn't even need to ask that question, you'd just measure the distance.
 
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withdrawal ... is equivalent to an action in the special case of Dashing. If Dashing and Disengaging were the only types of actions 5E allowed, then the 5E choice would look superficially similar to the AD&D choice, not because they are actually similar but because you're examining a pathological case.
Examining D&D, so yeah. ;P Seriously, though, that was the point. In AD&D, you could do a 'fighting retreat' or could run and grant a parting shot. 2e, you could, apparently, take a reduced move or a full move & grant the parting shot. C&T, IIRC, formalized that into AOs, that 3e elaborated on and 4e de-elaborated a bit, 5e quite a bit more.

It's been a long, strange, circumambulation, but the upshot is, then, you could run away as fast as you could and suffer the parting shot then, and, now, you can Dash away as fast as you could and suffer the parting shot. And, yeah, that's pretty similar, as far as it goes, especially considering how very different the initiative and action rules are.

It's cleaner to just eliminate Disengage from the game, and say that opportunity attacks don't happen if you're moving at half speed or below.
Like 5' step in 3e or shifting in 4e, sure. It'd be workable. It'd mean probably adding other things that provoke besides movement, like casting in melee, and it'd open up different issues than disengage does (if you're more than twice as fast as a melee mook you could casually hit him and saunter away ever round, for instance).

Incidentally this also removes the "newbie trap" wherein the new player says, "Okay, I don't want to fight, I'll go over here and talk to the chained captive" and a poor DM says, "Aha! the drow hits you for 7 points of damage, because you didn't say 'I disengage'". (True story.) A good DM would say, "I assume you want to Disengage, right?" but without Disengage you wouldn't even need to ask that question, you'd just measure the distance.
Meh, a 5e player is supposed to state actions, ruling he Disengaged is just part of the 5e DM's job. ;P
 

Examining D&D, so yeah. ;P Seriously, though, that was the point. In AD&D, you could do a 'fighting retreat' or could run and grant a parting shot. 2e, you could, apparently, take a reduced move or a full move & grant the parting shot. C&T, IIRC, formalized that into AOs, that 3e elaborated on and 4e de-elaborated a bit, 5e quite a bit more.

It's been a long, strange, circumambulation, but the upshot is, then, you could run away as fast as you could and suffer the parting shot then, and, now, you can Dash away as fast as you could and suffer the parting shot. And, yeah, that's pretty similar, as far as it goes, especially considering how very different the initiative and action rules are.

It isn't very similar though. In AD&D, you can withdraw and attack somebody else. In real life, you can do the same. In 5E, you can't.

Like 5' step in 3e or shifting in 4e, sure. It'd be workable. It'd mean probably adding other things that provoke besides movement, like casting in melee, and it'd open up different issues than disengage does (if you're more than twice as fast as a melee mook you could casually hit him and saunter away ever round, for instance).

That's not a new issue. You can already do this in 5E--you just have to use reach weapons or ranged weapons.
 

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