Brand new DM to 5E and many concerns...

  • Thread starter WhosDaDungeonMaster
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WhosDaDungeonMaster

Guest
I added some significant house rules before playing 5e. (It was some changes to spell casting, not weapon combat.) Even though they did not cause the game to crash and burn, they were definitely a mistake - they were quite unnecessary and resulted in some minor but still annoying problems.

I am glad you brought this up. I was talking to one of my players yesterday about rules and such, and tossing around different ideas. It got me thinking: I wonder how many people use or have used house rules, what are theirs, and how did they turn out. I might start a new thread about it.
 

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eamon

Explorer
A major part of the issue for me is that I'm playing a high magic campaign but even with houserules to avoid item stacking and similar bonuses on monsters+NPC it's clear that even a very few +1s can significantly impact bounded accuracy. But even using DMG tables +1/+2 shields aren't unheard of, and that makes a *huge* difference to likely already high-AC character.
Why play a high magic campaign if you don't want the effects of high magic?

Magic items in 5e are designed to actually be special. They make things easier by design.

This campaign appreciates the flavor of the high-magic, but not necessarily the balance.

Also, note that the magic items in the DMG are at least sort of balanced if you hand them out with the frequency they're in the DMG - you're simply very, very unlikely to be able to stack multiple AC bonuses because you won't find that many. So it doesn't matter that there aren't any stacking rules - they wouldn't have an impact anyhow!

But if you have a many more items, then it's quite easy to collect multiple items to pimp that AC: a +1 armor here, a +2 shield here, a cloak of protection; perhaps even a ring of protection too - and all those items aren't super legendary or anything, but taken together they're +5 to AC - and you haven't even maxed your attunement slots yet! That means you can easily get an AC of 24-25 in light or heavy armor, and at that point hits are so rare that anything that can occasionally boost your AC (availability of shield, that feat that lets you raise your AC vs. one attack, etc.), not to mention longer-term effects like shield of faith, and fighting style protection can mean that a PC is not going to be hit, *ever* except for crits.

I just don't think magic items were balanced for ample supply. They work fine as written - i.e. allocated at random or by DM fiat, and with few available. If you go beyond that, you may run into issues.

And that experience lead me to my original point: that bounded accuracy is just *barely* bounded in 5e, and that if you wiggle a little here and there and aren't careful, you can easily make things very unbalanced.
 

JiffyPopTart

Bree-Yark
Oh, I am sure this is why I feel so wrong with a lot of the stuff I am reading!

What can I say, it bothers me that a Fighter with Dex 16 has the same chance of hitting as a Wizard with Dex 16 if they both use Finesse weapons. So, my Fighter, who has spent years training in weapons and armor and everything related to combat, is basically just as likely to hit as your Wizard who has spent most of his years studying spells and reading, etc. How does that make ANY sense???

What your character "spent years studying" is determined by your background choice, not your class. If you want a wizard who can use some weapons your you could pick Soldier as your background and have a wizard who also trained how to use a spear or whatever. A first level character hasn't "spent years training" at anything related to their class unless you decide that is how it works for your campaign.

DS
 

happyhermit

Adventurer
I am glad you brought this up. I was talking to one of my players yesterday about rules and such, and tossing around different ideas. It got me thinking: I wonder how many people use or have used house rules, what are theirs, and how did they turn out. I might start a new thread about it.

When this has come up in the past there seemed to be a lot of people house-ruling to one degree or another, in fact my impression was that the 5e community is about as accepting of houserules as any edition overall. I think I have seen more pushback to your proposed rules in this thread and another than I have noticed elsewhere in months combined, and I felt it myself. It probably has to do with the way it was presented mostly, but perhaps there are more people than I thought who are going away from houseruling, dunno.

I play some games pretty much by the book and it works just fine, but I do find myself using 5e for a variety of stuff and sometimes houserule along with using optional rules provided, to achieve some particular things. There are a few things I often do, like not have advantage/disadvantage always cancel each other out, and there are a lot of optional things I make frequent use of like alternative rest lengths, but not all that many formal rule changes at all (a LOT less than previous editions).
 

There are a few things I often do, like not have advantage/disadvantage always cancel each other out, (a LOT less than previous editions).

Just curious how that would work if advantage/disadvantage not cancelling each other out? Roll 3d20 and take the middle roll?
Or is it more a situation where you would rule that the disadvantage for example is a minor thing (under given circumstances) that doesn't stop someone having advantage?
 

happyhermit

Adventurer
Just curious how that would work if advantage/disadvantage not cancelling each other out? Roll 3d20 and take the middle roll?
Or is it more a situation where you would rule that the disadvantage for example is a minor thing (under given circumstances) that doesn't stop someone having advantage?

Yeah, it's pretty minor, but sometimes rather than the RAW; 1 source of advantage cancels out multiple sources of disadvantage (or vice versa) we play where it doesn't. It could slow play down with certain players and doesn't come up too much but there are occasions it "makes more sense". Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages :blush:
 


Uchawi

First Post
I am not going to get into the debate on whether the system suits you, or your groups style of play, but when learning any new system I can offer a couple tidbits.

1. Start of with simple and necessarily weak encounters and build up. That is really the only way you are going to gauge encounter difficulty
2. Advance the characters slowly, so you understand the strength and weaknesses of each class or build
3. Mix up combat with non-combat to determine how skills/spells/martial interact
4. Enjoy the game, because mechanics will never replace an interesting story
 

When it comes to the oddity of fighters and wizards having the same class based attack bonus to proficient weapons...

It's one of those things that initially sounds weird and undesirable, but eventually you forget all about that because of how well it works in practice.

A similar mechanical change was when 3e came out with its simplified cyclical initiative. Despite the decrease in workload it provided, it seemed unrealistic and wrong. But then after actually running it the gains just more than made up for the losses, and going back to 20th century style initiative where you have a declaration phase and then a resolution phase, with all the problems that causes, just seems completely undesirable. (Most other games that had a declaration phase followed D&D in dropping it afterwards, because the benefits were clear.)

One thing that helps conceptually is to remember that the 5e rules specify that your ability scores represent not only raw capability, but training in using things relevant to it. So when your fighter is (presumably) increasing his Strength score, he's actually training to be more accurate with his weapons, while the wizard isn't.

Along with that, one can make a paradigm adjustment that training isn't primarily about making an attack more accurate. Most of the time when someone tries to hit someone they don't whiff and get nothing but air. Or if they do, training doesn't make as big of a deal to it as natural agility does. (See previous paragraph for the minor benefit from focused training.) Rather, training helps you do things like attack faster (fighter's unmatched Extra Attacks) or more effectively (more damage from things like Fighting Styles and Improved Critical), or pull off other neat tricks (Battle Master maneuvers). It's as good of a fantasy way of looking at it as saying that training primarily increases accuracy.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Fighters definitely don't suck in 5e. I've run and played several fighters and haven't found them to be weak. One of the key things to remember about 5e fighters is that they are a short rest based class. So if a DM isn't letting the party take short rests they'll lag behind, but a well rested fighter can bring a lot of pain. And the problem with bounded accuracy effects all classes, not just fighters and fighter's have the easiest path to a high AC. It also applies to enemies, so a high level fighter is going to hit often and hard, so while you may be taking damage, the enemies will be as well.

I also haven't found burning hands to be to overpowered. First, it requires the caster to be fairly close to the enemies and second, Dex is one of the more common saves in the game, so full damage is not a guarantee. Usually, a cantrip like Firebolt is the more cost effective and reliable option.

As for enemies, I just adjust on the fly if they're carving through PC's to fast or lasting to long. CR is a tricky business at the best of times. But, the bring up my earlier point, bounded accuracy makes hitting a lot easier. So that ogre might have 59 hp but it only has an AC of 11. A level 3 fighter with decent stats (we'll say strength of 16) has a +5 to hit and will hit more then half the time.

This. As someone who finds fighters to be thematically and conceptually a completely boring and replaceable class that could entirely exist in other classes to the benefit of the game, the 5e fighter is really good.

Feats are genuinely interesting in 5e, and the fighter has 3 ASI/Feat options by level 8. They also have Second WInd and Action Surge, which are great, and a Fighting Style at level 1. And every single one of their Subclasses is both mechanicaly and thematically good. (champions are boring and slightly underpowered, but you won't notice the power issue in most normal games, and some people like to spice their fighter at the table, as it were)
 

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