D&D 5E breaking the healing rules with goodberries

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
OR...ANY frickin' way in which you can put this without making an absolute statement.

Yep. In fact, the only objective "we can point to it in the rules" thing on this topic is that the DM should be an objective referee, not favoring PC death nor avoiding it. The only thing remotely close is in AD&D where it says that if the PCs die from their own poor decisions or bad rolls, too bad for them, but if they die from something completely out of their control and they didn't stand a chance through no fault of their own, then you can make a call.

But in general, saying that a DM's job is to avoid killing the party is objectively wrong from what we do see in the books, and at the very least is a subjective preference of the individual only. Speaking for myself, I would not want to play a game where the DM fudges rolls or changes things to where my PC has no real risk of death or disfigurement. Might as well just sit in a circle and share story time if that's the case.
 

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so while I wasn't going to talk to my normal group about this, one of the guys from our Saturday WoD game figured it out as well and was talking in front of my bard player... neither of them brought up the aura spell so I let that go. Now the bard player did say he wasn't going to do this cheese he did ask me about using it in a future game...

SO... now I ask those of you that have had players going into encounters at full hp. How do I adjust for it??


Also the WoD player that brought it up said a Druid/cleric is now better then an artificer because the artificer build of wizard you make potions but don't get the spell slot back....
 

Dausuul

Legend
Remember that Sage Advice goes by the rules as written. It is not saying how the rules should be, merely how they are.

I would house rule that the cleric's bonus applies once for the entire spell; you can spread it across all the berries or put it all in one berry, but you don't get to add it on a per-berry basis.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
so while I wasn't going to talk to my normal group about this, one of the guys from our Saturday WoD game figured it out as well and was talking in front of my bard player... neither of them brought up the aura spell so I let that go. Now the bard player did say he wasn't going to do this cheese he did ask me about using it in a future game...

SO... now I ask those of you that have had players going into encounters at full hp. How do I adjust for it??


Also the WoD player that brought it up said a Druid/cleric is now better then an artificer because the artificer build of wizard you make potions but don't get the spell slot back....

Either you let them have an easy ride of it or you use things like energy draining undead which lowers their maximum hit points so the healing is not as effective anyway. Apart from that you need to deal more damage to the PCs. Then again it might depend on how reclkless of careless the PCs are as well or how many other healers they have in the party. My current group has a Paladin, Rogue:thief with healer feat and the CLleric1/Druid 5 thing going on.

Cleric1/Lorebard 6 with goodberry and aura of vitality is also very good. THe Druid/Cleric gets more low level spells to blow on Goodberry though.
 

There is no soft-balling going on. Once again, already done status-quo DMing
No need to get defensive. Not status quo doesn't mean soft-balling. It can mean going full bore killer DM. Or, as I assume you're going for in your case, creating a challenging encounter for the party.

It does not work for my group. If I just toss out some guys I dreamed up without taking into account the party's capabilities, the party will wipe them out.
That doesn't necessarily follow. If you dream up Asmodeus and his arch-devils having a tea party in the dungeon, and your 1st level party blunders into them, I doubt it'll go that way. ;P I don't know why the status quo would include dukes of hell hanging out under a ruined guard tower in an out-of-the-way township, but if it did, oh well, don't go in that dungeon again until your new characters are much higher level.

The disconnect is happening because Hemlock has interpreted "challenging the party without killing them" as "not trying to kill them." This is not correct. The idea behind challenging a party without killing them has to do with encounter creation and has nothing to do with intent. The enemies are always trying to kill the PCs unless they have some alternative goal like imprisonment or slavery.
I don't think anyone was suggesting that the DMs intent in creating an encounter, whether tailored or status quo, changed the intent of the creatures making up that encounter. For one thing, they're imaginary: strictly speaking, they have no intent. For another, a tailored encounter meant to be a roll-over for the party could consist of outmatched, but overconfident, monsters none-the-less determined to kill the party. Conversely, I suppose, you could have a lethal encounter with a bumbling young StormGiant who 'doesn't no his own strength' ("whoops, sorry 'bout crushing your buddy, little guy..."). Intent of the monsters has nothing to do with it, just intent of the DM.

Your intent is clearly to challenge your players and thus run a game session that doesn't suck for everyone at the table. Perfectly reasonable.

Hemlock's intent is probably to create an imagined world that is typical of a certain fantasy sub-genre, and, while the genre might typically revolve around a hero(es) who improbably win through deadly danger after deadly danger, the party is just going to have to deal with survival in such a world with nothing but dice luck and 'player skill' to see them through - no artistic license from the author is going to help or hinder them.

You can each adapt 5e to those purposes. I suppose you might have a little more work to do in that regard than he.

I'm pretty sure you've been doing this long enough to have had similar experiences where you are designing an encounter. You think the encounter is damn cool. You think the party can handle it. Then you run the encounter, they end up getting pasted. Then you have this group of pissed off players that feel you screwed them, especially if you designed the encounter in such a fashion they had zero chance of winning. You didn't realize this would happen until you killed the party.
Happens all the time - more the less well-balanced the game, and less dependable it's encounter guidelines. Classic D&D, for instance, not well balanced at all, and no encounter guidelines to speak of. Kinda a long learning curve, but a lot of us stuck with it.

I don't get how Hemlock doesn't get what I'm talking about. To me this is easy to understand. If some of the more experienced DMs told me the same concept, I'd understand immediately what they were talking about. I wouldn't refer to it as soft-ballling or "trying to protect the party." I'd say, "Oh experienced DM. He has probably killed the party a ton and dealt with the unhappy after effects."
Soft-balling or over-killing or challenging - it's all the same in the eyes of an old-school DM. You're basing the encounter on the party. You may be justly proud of doing so /well/ - which has rarely been easy in a game like D&D - and thus consistently producing challenging encounters, but Hemlock may well be indifferent to that distinction.
 

Soft-balling or over-killing or challenging - it's all the same in the eyes of an old-school DM. You're basing the encounter on the party. You may be justly proud of doing so /well/ - which has rarely been easy in a game like D&D - and thus consistently producing challenging encounters, but Hemlock may well be indifferent to that distinction.

I just want to re-iterate here that it's okay for people to have different play preferences than me. If you like something I find boring, or if I like something you find boring, play whatever way you find enjoyable. Have fun!
 

Remember that Sage Advice goes by the rules as written. It is not saying how the rules should be, merely how they are.

Furthermore, Sage Advice is explicitly not the final word. The DM's adjudication is a final word.

SageAdviceCompendium said:
Dealing with those situations is where Sage Advice comes in. This column doesn’t replace a DM’s adjudication. Just as the rules do, the column is meant to give DMs, as well as players, tools for tuning the game according to their tastes. The column should also reveal some perspectives that help you see parts of the game in a new light and that aid you in fine-tuning your D&D experience.
 

Hussar

Legend
Celtavian said:
How would you counter the archers hammering with the bard using hypnotic pattern at a key time to counter the stone throwing hill giants once they set up with the flying paladin all working together? If you understood party synergies as you claim, then you would understand all of this being brought to bear at once. Not some piecemeal crap like you just tried to pull here.

Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showth...ng-rules-with-goodberries/page8#ixzz3jgOpic70

Of course, now your paladin is flying, not Hasted, so, that problem is solved. :D

On a side note, when I said the party wasn't ready for groups of Stone Giants they were 5th level. By 7th level they'll be ready for stone giants. They're probably ready right now. They recently killed two Hill Giants, 10 orogs, and four dire wolves taking only 20 hit points of damage amongst the group. They fought a hydra that did next to nothing to them even though I gave it 300 hit points. Far too easy to use fire to disrupt regeneration. They killed two treants with four animated trees with only a handful of spells wasted and very little damage taken.


Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showth...ng-rules-with-goodberries/page8#ixzz3jgPG1Dg7

Thing is, [MENTION=5834]Celtavian[/MENTION], you have to realise that when you are the only one complaining about a problem, the problem just might not be with the system. I certainly haven't seen widespread complaints about 5e being too easy. Maybe there are, but, I haven't seen them. I haven't seen numbers of players/DM's complaining about how Hoard of the Dragon Queen was a pushover or Princes of the Apocalypse was a breeze.

And, to be frank, if your party is blowing through encounters like this, an no one else's is, then, perhaps, the issue isn't the system?
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Thing is, [MENTION=5834]Celtavian[/MENTION], you have to realise that when you are the only one complaining about a problem, the problem just might not be with the system. I certainly haven't seen widespread complaints about 5e being too easy. Maybe there are, but, I haven't seen them. I haven't seen numbers of players/DM's complaining about how Hoard of the Dragon Queen was a pushover or Princes of the Apocalypse was a breeze.

And, to be frank, if your party is blowing through encounters like this, an no one else's is, then, perhaps, the issue isn't the system?

Or perhaps there isn't a problem unless you don't like winning easily, which I don't.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
I would begin by correcting the core statement into a way that can be comprehended...Let me give this a try for you...I like helping.

"The goal of the DM is to challenge a party without killing them...to me." OR

"I think<or believe or feel or understand> the goal of the DM is to challenge the party without killing them..." OR

"I prefer to run my games where the DM challenges a party without killing them..."

OR...ANY frickin' way in which you can put this without making an absolute statement.

You have made repeated statements that you don't feel the DM should kill a party. This leads one to the conclusion (and is supported by some examples) you hold your monsters back and/or create your "challenges"/gage your encounters so as to be -for lack of a better word- "suitable" for the party they are facing...purposely making them beatable, purposely not killing them.

"Challenging the party without killing them" does not apply to the monsters in play, it applies to the encounter design process. Why is that not naturally understood by people that DM?

No, I have not made repeated statements about holding my monsters back. I do not hold my monsters back. I have not stated this at all. Go look again. I stated that during encounter design...which is prior to the start of play...I try to make sure I don't make the encounter in such a way that I kill the party. You have misinterpreted what was said. I did not say one time that I hold the monsters back. Not once. The entire discussion was based on encounter design, which occurs prior to play. I think most DMs that have done this for a long time understand that part of the game. I'm genuinely surprised that every DM doesn't understand this concept.

When actual play occurs, I am quite ruthless and cruel. I execute the enemy's strategy as I planned it without any mercy. That is why I do my best not to create encounters that destroy the party because once I start the encounter, it will be executed ruthlessly with the intent to kill. If you play in this fashion and you design an encounter that is too strong, you will kill the party, quite possibly kill them without them being able to fight back very well. Have you really never done this? Is the concept so foreign as a DM that I'm alone in playing this way?

Do you find it entertaining when a DM takes your character, destroys it without you having a decent fighting chance, and you've put months of work into leveling the character? Answer that question, you'll understand why I do what I do.
 
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Celtavian

Dragon Lord
That doesn't necessarily follow. If you dream up Asmodeus and his arch-devils having a tea party in the dungeon, and your 1st level party blunders into them, I doubt it'll go that way. ;P I don't know why the status quo would include dukes of hell hanging out under a ruined guard tower in an out-of-the-way township, but if it did, oh well, don't go in that dungeon again until your new characters are much higher level.

We're talking using appropriate encounter guidelines, right? Not extreme examples. As in I can't sit there and toss some monsters in without thinking about how my party works and expect them to be a challenging encounter if the encounter is level appropriate or even deadly. If I'm not taking into account how the party functions, then I can't expect a monster to challenge them given they will be using highly efficient, powerful group capabilities that far exceed what the monsters are capable of.

Your intent is clearly to challenge your players and thus run a game session that doesn't suck for everyone at the table. Perfectly reasonable.

Agreed.

Hemlock's intent is probably to create an imagined world that is typical of a certain fantasy sub-genre, and, while the genre might typically revolve around a hero(es) who improbably win through deadly danger after deadly danger, the party is just going to have to deal with survival in such a world with nothing but dice luck and 'player skill' to see them through - no artistic license from the author is going to help or hinder them.

But's that not what happens. Hemlock has not described multiple deaths. He's described encounters his party supposedly wins against impossible odds far above their level because he comes up with some artificial means by which the monsters fail to take advantage of their superior abilities like 24 beholders in a ship. As far as I'm concerned that's just a different type of tailored encounter.

This discussion is mostly foolishness as far as I'm concerned. I make my players feel like they are very much in a fantasy world. Tailored encounters has nothing to do with that. It has to do with challenging players that use powerful tactics as a group to win. Hemlock tosses out these ideas for how to beat an individual using tactics from specific monsters that doesn't apply to all monsters. Gee, thanks for the idea with stone giants. What about orcs? What about hill giants? What about ogres? What about creature number 80 without Athletics? Or dispels? And gee, I just figured out how ho the party would defeat the stone giants easily.

Why do people waste my time writing tactics for a single character when a group attacks as a party? Why do they give me advice unsolicited for how to deal with an individual character when I stated a different problem like the AC variation situation I was dealing with in encounter design?

You can each adapt 5e to those purposes. I suppose you might have a little more work to do in that regard than he.

Certainly I do. Anyone with a party of min-maxers has more work to do. When they are doing everything they can to limit the enemy from harming them, while doing maximum harm to the enemy as a group, you're going to have to work to hurt them and work to hurt them without killing them.

When you're a DM dealing with min-maxing, it goes both ways. You the DM are pushed into a situation where you need to be able to min-max an enemy to challenge them. You as a DM have unlimited ability to min-max. You're usually using enemies that are higher level or have access to abilities the players won't know about. So you have to make sure not to...hmm...I guess the term might be over min-max...to the point you waste them. That can be a fine line.

Happens all the time - more the less well-balanced the game, and less dependable it's encounter guidelines. Classic D&D, for instance, not well balanced at all, and no encounter guidelines to speak of. Kinda a long learning curve, but a lot of us stuck with it.

All the instant kill stuff didn't help in that edition. A single 1 and a character was done. Energy drain was harsh. Classic D&D was ruthless. It was fun at the time, especially if you did survive. It could be discouraging as well when you played up a character for months, then rolled a 1 against a banshee.

Soft-balling or over-killing or challenging - it's all the same in the eyes of an old-school DM. You're basing the encounter on the party. You may be justly proud of doing so /well/ - which has rarely been easy in a game like D&D - and thus consistently producing challenging encounters, but Hemlock may well be indifferent to that distinction.

It's not a matter of pride. My confusion stems from the idea that others don't seem to understand the situation I'm dealing with. I thought it was so common that the concept was easy to understand. The game has been out a long time. There must be other groups that have long time players that naturally min-max and naturally work together as a team that leads in general to the decimation of anything less than an encounter tailored to challenge them that includes countering the key strategies they use to gain an advantage over most enemies.

I also find it surprising that they think I tailor every encounter. It's one of those situations where you're discussing something that is unique to how I do things. I don't know. When I state I tailor encounters, I certainly don't mean I tailor everything. I don't waste my time tailoring every detail of every encounter. I mean I take the time to make key encounters challenging. Encounters I feel should be challenging. Who wants to fight the villain in an encounter and have him be a pushover? If I look at a monster I'm planning to use and can assess my party will crush him using their common tactics, why would a DM want to run that encounter or a player feel satisfied beating it? That's the part I don't understand.

It means either the DM in question doesn't care if the organized party crushes their encounter. Or the party going against their encounter isn't really organized and actually has trouble with the encounter. That's not the party I run. The guys I run are always looking for an edge whether they think it up themselves or find it on the boards. If I don't operate that way as a DM, the game won't even be worth playing because it will be far too easy. It seems that my particular experience either isn't common or the people playing this way don't post much. I think the only person that plays similarly to myself is Dave Dash that I've seen on this board. He seems to understand the chess game between the players and the DM that is constantly occurring.

It is pretty annoying having posters like Hemlock completely misinterpret my posts as "trying to protect my players" and the like when nothing of the kind was being said or implied. I think it is pretty clear that trying not to kill your players when employing min-max lethal encounter design is a whole lot different than "trying to protect players."
 

Thing is, @Celtavian, you have to realise that when you are the only one complaining about a problem, the problem just might not be with the system. I certainly haven't seen widespread complaints about 5e being too easy. Maybe there are, but, I haven't seen them. I haven't seen numbers of players/DM's complaining about how Hoard of the Dragon Queen was a pushover or Princes of the Apocalypse was a breeze.

And, to be frank, if your party is blowing through encounters like this, an no one else's is, then, perhaps, the issue isn't the system?

Not "no one's." The encounters Celtavian described there (2 hill giants, a bunch of orogs and dire wolves at 5th level) look pretty standard for my table. Celtavian and I obviously have our differences of opinion, but our experience is congruent on one point: 5E PCs can handle an awful lot of monsters without dying. Even if the players aren't min-maxers.

(They can also die quite easily to a small number of monsters if the DM wants to be a jerk about things. Which I don't. Usually.)
 

No, I have not made repeated statements about holding my monsters back. I do not hold my monsters back. I have not stated this at all. Go look again. I stated that during encounter design...which is prior to the start of play...I try to make sure I don't make the encounter in such a way that I kill the party. You have misinterpreted what was said. I did not say one time that I hold the monsters back. Not once. The entire discussion was based on encounter design, which occurs prior to play. I think most DMs that have done this for a long time understand that part of the game. I'm genuinely surprised that every DM doesn't understand this concept.

SteelDragons was talking about encounter design, too. Most of the things you like to harp on me for happen during encounter design, too. E.g. the beholder ship: I decided on the beholder's motivations and internal structure (fractious, no hive mother) during the encounter design process, because I wanted a graduated difficulty where the players can opt in to fighting an ever-increasing number of beholders over the course of several encounters.

The difference is that if the players do opt to fight them, I am perfectly willing to kill the PCs (killed two PCs with the beholders), and you are not. That's okay, it doesn't make you a wimp, but it is a difference between our playstyles, as Tony says.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Or perhaps there isn't a problem unless you don't like winning easily, which I don't.

The problem here is the vastly excluded middle. If your players are "winning easily" but other people's aren't, again, the issue might not be them. It might very well be, but, I'm suggesting keeping an open mind.

Not "no one's." The encounters Celtavian described there (2 hill giants, a bunch of orogs and dire wolves at 5th level) look pretty standard for my table. Celtavian and I obviously have our differences of opinion, but our experience is congruent on one point: 5E PCs can handle an awful lot of monsters without dying. Even if the players aren't min-maxers.

(They can also die quite easily to a small number of monsters if the DM wants to be a jerk about things. Which I don't. Usually.)

Whereas, me, if I ran that encounter, and didn't flatten the party, I'd really wonder what was going on. Because I know, regardless of the party I run for, that using that encounter, unless I give the players some serious tactical advantages at the outset, I'm going to kill at least one PC with that encounter. Like you beholder encounter, where the scenario is designed such that the party won't be overwhelmed, if I actually threw that many beholders at the party, regardless of level, and they not only survived, but, suffered no PC deaths, I'd seriously question what I did wrong.

Sure, if you let the party have a nice sniping position, choke points and surprise, they'll punch way above their weight class. Great. But, if standard encounters - ones where basically you "open the door and roll for initiative" where I have that kind of advantage with the baddies in terms of numbers, damage output and various synergies (Dire Wolves pretty much all attacking with advantage, baddies spending an action to break Hypnotic spray (sure it buys the PC's a single round, but, big deal, I've got lots of baddies, half of which should save), Orog speed to close with any concentrating caster to pound it into paste. Good grief, a 5th level party should be running from this encounter. If your players are burning through this encounter with minimal resources spent, that's on the DM, not the system. That encounter should put at least one PC and probably more than one, in the ground.

I really have to question your tactical abilities here. I'm sorry, but, Occam's Razor applies here. The simplest solution isn't that after two years of play testing, everyone else got the math wrong and you got it right. The simplest solution is that you aren't using the monsters to their full extent.
 

But's that not what happens. Hemlock has not described multiple deaths. He's described encounters his party supposedly wins against impossible odds far above their level because he comes up with some artificial means by which the monsters fail to take advantage of their superior abilities like 24 beholders in a ship. As far as I'm concerned that's just a different type of tailored encounter.

You are mistaken, sir. The players fought a grand total of three beholders (one and then two at once), losing two PCs in the process (= 1 karma point), and then cut their losses and retreated. The individual beholders were played intelligently, except for the random eye rays (because I interpret random eye rays as internal schizophrenia), and because the beholders had seen the giff "army" approaching from several miles away, the beholders were prepped and waiting with readied actions ("Zap anyone who comes through that door"), Hidden, and using active perception to sniff out PCs.

They earned 15,000 gold (500 gold per beholder eyestalk as bounty) and IIRC about 20,000 XP in the process (XP shared with the giff and NPCs even though the PCs were on point, taking the bulk of the risk--the giff were waiting outside the ship to shoot any beholders the PCs managed to drag outside). They might have gone for more but the cleric's player didn't show next session and they weren't in the mood to risk further adventures without access to Bless and Revivify (not that Revivify would necessarily help).

That's essentially the same as an Asmodeus tea party: a huge threat that will probably kill you if you engage, and the PCs can choose to engage or not. Relatively huge rewards if you choose to engage and prevail.
 

Whereas, me, if I ran that encounter, and didn't flatten the party, I'd really wonder what was going on. Because I know, regardless of the party I run for, that using that encounter, unless I give the players some serious tactical advantages at the outset, I'm going to kill at least one PC with that encounter. Like you beholder encounter, where the scenario is designed such that the party won't be overwhelmed, if I actually threw that many beholders at the party, regardless of level, and they not only survived, but, suffered no PC deaths, I'd seriously question what I did wrong.

Sure, if you let the party have a nice sniping position, choke points and surprise, they'll punch way above their weight class. Great. But, if standard encounters - ones where basically you "open the door and roll for initiative" where I have that kind of advantage with the baddies in terms of numbers, damage output and various synergies (Dire Wolves pretty much all attacking with advantage, baddies spending an action to break Hypnotic spray (sure it buys the PC's a single round, but, big deal, I've got lots of baddies, half of which should save), Orog speed to close with any concentrating caster to pound it into paste. Good grief, a 5th level party should be running from this encounter. If your players are burning through this encounter with minimal resources spent, that's on the DM, not the system. That encounter should put at least one PC and probably more than one, in the ground.

I really have to question your tactical abilities here. I'm sorry, but, Occam's Razor applies here. The simplest solution isn't that after two years of play testing, everyone else got the math wrong and you got it right. The simplest solution is that you aren't using the monsters to their full extent.

I don't mind talking about the difference.

One big difference is that I don't do "standard encounters" where you "open the door and roll for initiative." Because of gaming philosophy is sandbox-oriented, I'm very willing to allow PCs to do things like scout ahead using Pass Without Trace, so the PCs don't have to be surprised at close range by a facefull of orogs. Also, I don't use battlegrids, so there's no psychological pressure keeping the PCs in a certain range of the enemy, so mobile tactics are more feasible. I don't ban feats like Sharpshooter, so the baseline damage output on PCs at my table may be higher than at your table. And I'm perfectly fine with allowing partial and total cover, so PCs can take feats like Sharpshooter and Warcaster to win archery duels. And I have a necromancer PC at my table--he hasn't been onscreen for a while, but his skeleton archers have probably colored my memories of the kinds of fights 5E PCs can brute-force their way through.

I think the point #1 (that I allow and encourage scouting) is probably the key difference. There are ways you could set up the encounter so that a bunch of orogs and a couple of hill giants would cream the PCs; but most of them require the PCs to be tactically surprised (not necessarily "surprised" in the D&D sense) and surrounded. And that can't feasibly happen if you've got a Shadow Monk scouting ahead for you.

Notice that most of the tactics you named (Dire Wolves in melee, Orogs closing to melee, etc.) first require closing to melee range, which means you have to get through 600' of ranged attacks from the PCs first. Dire Wolves move 50' per round, and all of the PCs in my test party (the synthetic party I use to balance encounters, instead of my actual players' PCs) have movement speeds of at least 40' due to Longstrider, so at very best the Dire Wolves will take a full minute to close distance even if the PCs aren't on horses or using Expeditious Retreat, so they'll eat 10 rounds of attacks before the Dire Wolves even get one attack... it's Pickett's Charge all over again, man. By the time all the Dire Wolves are dead, the Orogs are about ready to break and run. (I do roleplay enemy morale.) There's really nothing the Dire Wolves and Orogs can do to change this calculus during daytime hours[1]--which is why I find Orogs boring compared to hobgoblins, who totally do have options here thanks to longbows.

So you see, it's not really about a difference in our tactical abilities as DMs. It has more to do with our respective agendas as DMs before the monsters are ever encountered, and the way we visualize monster ecologies. I don't do "open the door and roll initiative," nor do I have any interest in running or playing a game which does. This results in a different kind of game than yours. YMMV.


[1] "Wait until dark" is a valid option, and if the PCs can't force the orogs to engage before then, the tables will be turned and it's probably 50/50 TPK will occur.

P.S. The above is all conjecture. There may be other factors I haven't identified, such as my desire to roleplay monsters during combat instead of wargaming them. Maybe if you talked about how you would play things out with the orogs and dire wolves, that might be helpful.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Hemlock said:
Notice that most of the tactics you named (Dire Wolves in melee, Orogs closing to melee, etc.) first require closing to melee range, which means you have to get through 600' of ranged attacks from the PCs first.

Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showth...g-rules-with-goodberries/page10#ixzz3jhTJxg7j

There's probably the biggest difference. In 30+ years of gaming, I've never seen an encounter start at 600 feet away. Even outdoor encounters have things like trees, weather, hills and even long grass that mean that, unless flight is involved and the party is absolutely sure they want to engage, we'd never have an encounter like this.

Actually, that's not entirely true. In 3e when I ran naval campaigns, we had encounters at this range. :D But on land? Yeah, never.
 

There's probably the biggest difference. In 30+ years of gaming, I've never seen an encounter start at 600 feet away. Even outdoor encounters have things like trees, weather, hills and even long grass that mean that, unless flight is involved and the party is absolutely sure they want to engage, we'd never have an encounter like this.

Hills will generally cut visibility to 1/4 mile or less, so 1320' feet. Conditions have to be pretty extreme (blizzards) before visibility goes lower than 500' during daylight hours. Not that you couldn't hide an ambush predator or two underground (bulettes, ankhegs) or a few dire wolves in the grass--but you couldn't hide a dozen orogs and dire wolves without at least one of them getting spotted. (I require stealth rolls for every member of a large party.)

But yeah, that's the single biggest difference between our tables. And it is, incidentally, also the single biggest difference IMO between AD&D and 5E. 5E is D&D: Mobility Edition. Which is why it's so interesting that almost all the spells only work at 150' or less--ranged combat is primarily the province of fighters, not wizards.

P.S. I'm surprised that your naval encounters were so close. I'd expect naval encounters to generally occur at a range of a dozen miles or more initially, then the final stages (shooting and boarding) should probably happen at distances of under half a mile. Even if your technology is at the galley stage, you should at least be able to spot the enemy at a distance of a dozen miles or so. See http://www.pbs.org/odyssey/interactive/crow.html for example--and that's horizon distance. A ship's sails will be visible at greater distances because they are taller than the horizon. See also http://www.pajack.com/stories/pitts/viewdistance.html.
 
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Celtavian

Dragon Lord
You are mistaken, sir. The players fought a grand total of three beholders (one and then two at once), losing two PCs in the process (= 1 karma point), and then cut their losses and retreated. The individual beholders were played intelligently, except for the random eye rays (because I interpret random eye rays as internal schizophrenia), and because the beholders had seen the giff "army" approaching from several miles away, the beholders were prepped and waiting with readied actions ("Zap anyone who comes through that door"), Hidden, and using active perception to sniff out PCs.

They earned 15,000 gold (500 gold per beholder eyestalk as bounty) and IIRC about 20,000 XP in the process (XP shared with the giff and NPCs even though the PCs were on point, taking the bulk of the risk--the giff were waiting outside the ship to shoot any beholders the PCs managed to drag outside). They might have gone for more but the cleric's player didn't show next session and they weren't in the mood to risk further adventures without access to Bless and Revivify (not that Revivify would necessarily help).

That's essentially the same as an Asmodeus tea party: a huge threat that will probably kill you if you engage, and the PCs can choose to engage or not. Relatively huge rewards if you choose to engage and prevail.

Did I misinterpret what happens at your table? It happens. Stop making assumptions about me coddling players or the like and I'll stop making assumptions about your game. My players use ranged firepower and scouting. All the nifty stuff you can use in 5E. The party punches well above their weight. When I say I tailor encounters, we're talking what I consider specific key villain encounters I want to be challenging. Not every single encounter in the adventure or game. Some fights as a DM I want to feel like they fought someone that made them bring their A game to use a sports analogy. Though I'm trying to kill them, I don't want to do it during the encounter design process. If they happen to die to an enemy that was a hard fight, so be it. They die. If I make a mistake and create an encounter that for some reason far exceeds their ability to handle, that is not cool of me to do as a DM. That doesn't mean I'm protecting them or coddling them. It just means I went overboard min-maxing the enemy. Gave him too many key capabilities that countered their strategies or too much damage output. I try not to kill them before the actual fight occurs. The worst thing a DM can do is make an encounter their players can't handle against an enemy that will kill them as in providing them with zero chance of victory in a battle to the death. That is what I'm trying to avoid because I've done it more than a few times. It is zero fun for the DM or players when the party is killed and they feel like they had no chance in the fight.

Even with the beholder encounter you ran, you gave them a choice to run. I'm not talking about encounters of that kind. I've had plenty of encounters where the best choice was to retreat or not engage. I'm talking about when the fight can't be avoided because they must engage to achieve their goal or the enemy is coming after them setting them up for an ambush. You want it to be a memorable fight. You want the enemies to match the PCs in nearly every way so it isn't a cakewalk either way. I would think you would understand this concept of encounter design and that you can do it in a narrative or a sandbox. The goal is making a fight memorably tough. I don't see why a DM putting effort into doing seems odd to you.

Suffice it to say this conversation has gone on far too long. It should have been easy to understand topic that had nothing to do with "invincible paladins" or "protecting players."
 

Hussar

Legend
Hills will generally cut visibility to 1/4 mile or less, so 1320' feet. Conditions have to be pretty extreme (blizzards) before visibility goes lower than 500' during daylight hours. Not that you couldn't hide an ambush predator or two underground (bulettes, ankhegs) or a few dire wolves in the grass--but you couldn't hide a dozen orogs and dire wolves without at least one of them getting spotted. (I require stealth rolls for every member of a large party.)

But yeah, that's the single biggest difference between our tables. And it is, incidentally, also the single biggest difference IMO between AD&D and 5E. 5E is D&D: Mobility Edition. Which is why it's so interesting that almost all the spells only work at 150' or less--ranged combat is primarily the province of fighters, not wizards.

P.S. I'm surprised that your naval encounters were so close. I'd expect naval encounters to generally occur at a range of a dozen miles or more initially, then the final stages (shooting and boarding) should probably happen at distances of under half a mile. Even if your technology is at the galley stage, you should at least be able to spot the enemy at a distance of a dozen miles or so. See http://www.pbs.org/odyssey/interactive/crow.html for example--and that's horizon distance. A ship's sails will be visible at greater distances because they are taller than the horizon. See also http://www.pajack.com/stories/pitts/viewdistance.html.

Oh sure. Initially spotting. But actual combat? Much closer.

And unless you're fighting on salt flats you'd be surprised how much cover there is out there. Again, using the terrain matters.
 

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