D&D 5E Casters vs Martials: Part 2 - The Mundane Limit


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Martial exploits with an amount of narrative control are not magic. Its just another lie to stop martial characters from getting nice things.

The design parameters for these extraordinary martials keep getting narrower and narrower!

It hasn't been the norm for D&D but there is no reason martial abilities can't have more narrative flex in their in fiction representation. And in fact I would argue this is one of the key levers you could use to give non-mythic martials some cool abilities.

Spells often bypass the step by step action and just go to the effect. Martial abilities could do this as well with more abstraction / narrative control.

See my example a few pages ago on an "infiltration ability" that rivials dimension door (sort of).

Come and Get It could be better redone by making what happens in the fiction super flexible:

Bad Ass Move
You do a combination of goading, faking weakness, repositioning, grabing, pushing, pulling, climbing, jumping, and whatever other action hero moves are possible in this world.
Every enemy with a possible path in a 15 ft radius ends up next the maritial user and the user makes a melee attack against them. NO SAVE. A creature can use a Legendary Save to avoid this effect.

So in the instance of crossbow enemies on a 10ft ledge and sword people nearby, maybe its -- "You parkour up the wall dragging the 3 crossbowmen down by their ankles and attack them. While you are attacking the crossbowmen, the sword people charge in at you thinking they have an opening and you strike at them".

The key to this abiity is it breaks the standard action economy for the martial and goes straight to effect. You take this action and you no longer have to describe every 5 ft movement, climb check, grapple, whatever. It's a Bad Ass Move. It has a concrete effect. It gets you closer to spell like effects and can be explained entirely in the action hero vein. You can limit it to x times a day due to a combination of exhaustion, circumstances need to be right, heroic moxy, etc.
 

Bad Ass Move
You do a combination of goading, faking weakness, repositioning, grabing, pushing, pulling, climbing, jumping, and whatever other action hero moves are possible in this world.
Every enemy with a possible path in a 15 ft radius ends up next the maritial user and the user makes a melee attack against them. NO SAVE. A creature can use a Legendary Save to avoid this effect.

So in the instance of crossbow enemies on a 10ft ledge and sword people nearby, maybe its -- "You parkour up the wall dragging the 3 crossbowmen down by their ankles and attack them. While you are attacking the crossbowmen, the sword people charge in at you thinking they have an opening and you strike at them".

The key to this abiity is it breaks the standard action economy for the martial and goes straight to effect. You take this action and you no longer have to describe every 5 ft movement, climb check, grapple, whatever. It's a Bad Ass Move. It has a concrete effect. It gets you closer to spell like effects and can be explained entirely in the action hero vein. You can limit it to x times a day due to a combination of exhaustion, circumstances need to be right, heroic moxy, etc.
This would work so much better if D&D was not so tied to a grid.

If you were using zone based combat you could just say "You engage in melee every enemy within the same zone as you". (There is no push or pull or whatever. How it happens is totally abstracted, but as long as we have the grid there is that concrete element of pushing or pulling - which remains even though the grid should be regarded as an abstraction - it's too specific a thing for that to really work in practice.)
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You keep using this word instead of an actual argument.

I do not think you know what this word means.
You responded with a fiction you created(physical movement) and then argued against it. Classic Strawman. I did NOT just say that Strawman instead of an actual argument. I directly countered your argument by stating(an argument) that we are not talking about physical movement and are instead talking about mental control powers.

If you're going to respond to me that way, you should at least know what you're talking about.
 

This would work so much better if D&D was not so tied to a grid.

If you were using zone based combat you could just say "You engage in melee every enemy within the same zone as you".

I mean it is tied to the grid in one way-- it effects enemies within 15 ft. The enemies end up next you on the grid.

Yes it purposely decouples the grid like and step by step moves that happen to get the effect.

Spells essentially do this all the time. A dimension door spell does't make you make an Arcana check each round for every 30ft of movement. A spell that did something like this would just pull the targets and damage them, etc.

It allows that kind of narrative agency into martial space.

I think you could have normal move and attack that you can do every round if you want, and some kind of limited narrative abilites that allow you to break this.
 
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Vaalingrade

Legend
You responded with a fiction you created(physical movement) and then argued against it. Classic Strawman.
It was an example of ignoring the rules based on not liking the context. Not a strawman.
I did NOT just say that word instead of an argument.
Did that time. Did every time. That's how strawman is used on the internet. Accusing people of logical fallacies as an argument is not an argument. Attending the first week of Phil 101 is not intellect.
I directly countered your argument by stating that we are not talking about physical movement and are instead talking about mental control powers.
For example, simply saying this was moving the goalposts would not in itself be an argument.


If you're going to respond to me that way, you should at least know what you're talking about.
Oh, I get it! You're providing an example of being intentionally inflammatory and confidently incorrect to provoke a negative response like how CAGI should work! Excellent job!
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It was an example of ignoring the rules based on not liking the context. Not a strawman.
It was an example that had absolutely nothing to do with what I was talking about. So at best it was a distraction argument.
Did that time. Did every time. That's how strawman is used on the internet. Accusing people of logical fallacies as an argument is not an argument. Attending the first week of Phil 101 is not intellect.
Um. As long as I ALSO present a counter argument, I'm not doing what you have now twice falsely accused me of.
For example, simply saying this was moving the goalposts would not in itself be an argument.
Yep. Good thing I didn't say "Strawman" and leave it at that.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Now the GM can overrule that power in this instance as not really being plausible, but that still creates a bit of an issue, because you wouldn't necessarily expect the GM to do that if the power was explicitly magical.
And see, this is the exact problem. This right here. This is the true, fundamental flaw that will never be overcome unless and until some group changes their opinions.

Because what you've just said is: "Martial powers should, always, be subject to more limitations than magical ones, under all circumstances." In other words, martial powers are simply, on the whole, less useful and less powerful than magical ones. Period. As long as that statement is held true, it is impossible to find balance between the two. The assumptions produce a contradiction, because it is not possible to balance "thing that must be subject to extra limitations" with "thing that cannot be subject to any limitations," and never will be.

Goading attack in 5e has some of the same issues, but one, it's less impactful and the game as whole encourages more situational overrulling. It's a bit more open to the GM overruling it if they feel a creature with no mind couldn't actually be goaded. Also if you can't used one technique, you can still use all your superiority dice on something else, you're down an option, not an encounter power.
I reject the notion that 4e was any different on the "open to GM overruling" front. Yes, the game is more transparent, so it's more obvious when it happens. But the books make it quite clear that you should do things because they make sense, not merely because you're following an algorithm. That's a common aspersion cast on 4e (that it replaced the GM's role, making them a mere rule-conformity checker rather than an active and driving force), but it just falls on its face when you look at any of the advice given in any of the DM-facing books and materials.

As for the other: 4e has things like immunity to fear or fire or whatever. It's perfectly easy to have creatures that simply can't be hit by a power (e.g. I believe swarms cannot be pulled, pushed, or slid by melee or ranged attacks) or who can no-sale someone's signature move. Being out an encounter power because it doesn't make sense in context is perfectly valid in 4e.

The point is that there are no non-magical words that can force saves like that in a bunch of different creatures. What triggers one or two won't trigger the rest. And some can't be triggered by words(no need to make any save).
Why doesn't "you missed these 2" (or whatever) signify exactly that? You missed their Will defense (equivalently, they passed their Wisdom save)--whatever it was you did, it didn't work on them. That's the whole point of failing to pull off the maneuver.

They should be supernatural effects. And as for goading attack, is the target forced to attack the fighter? No. So it's not mind control. The target is free to leave the battle, attack the fighter or attack a rock.
...CaGI doesn't force the enemy to attack either! The only thing it does is movement (and letting the Fighter make an attack.)

Because mind control is taking over the target and forcing an action. Menacing Attack causes fear, but does not force specific actions. Goading Attack allows the target to do whatever the heck it wants still. The 4e power allows no such choices.
Actually, it DOES force actions, or at least a lack of them. Frightened creatures cannot (willingly) move closer to the source of their fear. By making the target frightened, you literally make them incapable of performing certain actions, no matter how much they might want to, e.g. they can't go past you to get to a target they'd rather hit because that involves approaching you.

My MM doesn't show adult black dragons as immune to being frightened.
My apologies. I appear to have conflated it the adult amethyst dragon. I swear I checked it twice to be sure, but that evidently didn't work!

Words, gestures, it really doesn't matter. Pick any form of communication and the same problem is present.
I guess I just don't see how. If you miss (4e)/they pass their save (5e), whatever you attempted didn't work. That's literally the in-the-rules representation of "this creature wasn't affected by whatever you attempted."

Why? There should be a reason or they wouldn't attack. DMs who have everything attack even when it doesn't make sense bug the heck out of me.
I mean, it can annoy you all day, it's still a thing that happens all the time at real tables. That it bugs you is not a reason for why we should presume that creatures always behave as creatures on Earth do. Isn't that an implication of old-school-style random monster tables? That you'll just be attacked, even if there's no real reason?
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
It was an example that had absolutely nothing to do with what I was talking about. So at best it was a distraction argument.
Okay. You're in a combat with Sir Dast Ardley, a crooked but talented knight wielding a halberd, and his buddy Eve Ull the Pyromancer. She's winding up for a big fireball (because of course she is, she's a pyromancer), and he's standing between you and her; she's just within range if you make a straight line toward her, passing Sir Ardley. You approach to try to deal with her, but he readied his action to attack you if you approached. He hits you, and decides to spend a die on Menacing Attack. You fail your saving throw, which means you cannot advance toward Eve (because doing so would cause you to get closer to Sir Ardley.)

You say, "No, I wouldn't be afraid of him, the fact that I know I have to stop Eve's spell would be more than sufficient to overcome any fear of his halberd."

What's the DM supposed to do with that? You're basically asking them to completely neuter a standard BM maneuver because you declare it wouldn't frighten your character.
 


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