D&D 5E Common mistakes I keep making


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jgsugden

Legend
Which spells require sight, and which do not. I started to make a list to track it as it came up a lot in recent campaigns.

PCs that have advantage on saving throws when they do not know there is something going on, such as when they're being scryed upon. There was a gnome that got robbed of his advantage far too many times because it did not occur to me for many sessions that he had advantage.
 


After DMing 1E through 5E I honestly forget which edition we're playing sometimes. The game unintentionally becomes a mix of every edition to one extent or another. Some of this is because of our tendency to give the rules a quick read through and then jump in and start playing so I'll confuse terminology or just flat out remember a different rule. Spells and conditions and feats are the things I have the hardest time remembering. I often don't remember how much some have changed in 5E or which ones have been removed or are new. I always tell myself Im going to re-read the the core books but I never get too far.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
For the record, I really hate that particular zombie trait in 5E. I get what they were going for, but... if you're going to put zombies in a combat, you're usually going to put in a whole lot of zombies. They should be designed for the absolute minimum of bookkeeping and cognitive overhead. A saving throw with variable DC, possibly multiple times, is way too much mental effort to expend on the fate of a single zombie.
Absolutely. It should be something basic like a coin flip...11+/d20 and they survive. Or any dice you have. Evens, odds. High, low. Whatever. Don’t even need hit points. 4E minions with one hit kills. If you think you have too many zombies, double ’em. Then double ’em again.
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Which spells require sight, and which do not. I started to make a list to track it as it came up a lot in recent campaigns.
Unless a spell specifically says it doesn’t require line of sight then it does. It’s detailed in the magic chapter. A Clear Path to the Target, PHB p204.
 

South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
For the record, I really hate that particular zombie trait in 5E. I get what they were going for, but... if you're going to put zombies in a combat, you're usually going to put in a whole lot of zombies. They should be designed for the absolute minimum of bookkeeping and cognitive overhead. A saving throw with variable DC, possibly multiple times, is way too much mental effort to expend on the fate of a single zombie.
Professor Dungeon Master has a really nice video on just this sort of concern. He speaks about players' to hit and saving throw rolls, but I see no reason why this couldn't be used for monsters just as well:


I can testify to this: life gets a whole lot easier in combat when you only have to remember the three numbers, 5, 10, and 15. A lot easier.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Professor Dungeon Master has a really nice video on just this sort of concern. He speaks about players' to hit and saving throw rolls, but I see no reason why this couldn't be used for monsters just as well:


I can testify to this: life gets a whole lot easier in combat when you only have to remember the three numbers, 5, 10, and 15. A lot easier.
Shh. Don’t reveal the secrets.

And definitely don’t mention this video…where PDM reveals where he got that idea.

 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
Area of effect spells don't necessarily though right?
They do. You still have to put it somewhere, right? Aim it. The point of origin. Wherever you aim it, wherever the point of origin is, that's the target. The target doesn't have to be a person. The target can be a point in space. But you still have to have line of sight on your target.

"A CLEAR PATH TO THE TARGET
To target something, you must have a clear path to it, so it can't be behind total cover.

If you place an area of effect at a point that you can't see and an obstruction, such as a wall, is between you and that point, the point of origin comes into being on the near side of that obstruction." PHB, p204.
 


Mort

Legend
Supporter
Professor Dungeon Master has a really nice video on just this sort of concern. He speaks about players' to hit and saving throw rolls, but I see no reason why this couldn't be used for monsters just as well:


I can testify to this: life gets a whole lot easier in combat when you only have to remember the three numbers, 5, 10, and 15. A lot easier.

Interesting video.

For me, it's a bit too extreme:

1. He REALLY plays up the "mother may I" aspect of D&D. Of course it's there, but with this technique your fully pushing it into the players faces because you are usually deciding "on the spot" what target you want the player to hit. He even suggests letting the player make their case for lowering the DC - how that's supposed to speed up play (I play with lawyers for crying out loud!) is beyond me.

2. I dislike that he advocates making the DC near completely PC dependent. Rogues get easier DCs for things that are "roguish" wizards get easier DCs for things that are "arcane" etc. I get the theory and the intent - but it's just too fluid and illusory.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
One thing I forget oh, 50% of the time, is concentration checks. I don't know what it is about this mechanism, and I know I'm not the only one.

I find putting something on the mini, or if you're not using minis giving the player a token to be CLEARLY displayed - helps a lot.
 

They do. You still have to put it somewhere, right? Aim it. The point of origin. Wherever you aim it, wherever the point of origin is, that's the target. The target doesn't have to be a person. The target can be a point in space. But you still have to have line of sight on your target.

"A CLEAR PATH TO THE TARGET
To target something, you must have a clear path to it, so it can't be behind total cover.

If you place an area of effect at a point that you can't see and an obstruction, such as a wall, is between you and that point, the point of origin comes into being on the near side of that obstruction." PHB, p204.
This is one of those RAW I disagree with, (if Im reading this correctly) which I may not be. Let's say you see someone run behind a wall, you lob a fireball at the wall approximately where you think the target is. Of course Id give them advantage on a save, but that fireball would blow up that wall like the Kool-Aid Man and if the target failed their save then theyd take damage from the fireball and the exploding wall. I understand the rule is written as it is to be concise and avoid arguments, but some spells should be a case by case basis, or in this example even a targeted ranged attack.
 

Voadam

Legend
They do. You still have to put it somewhere, right? Aim it. The point of origin. Wherever you aim it, wherever the point of origin is, that's the target. The target doesn't have to be a person. The target can be a point in space. But you still have to have line of sight on your target.

"A CLEAR PATH TO THE TARGET
To target something, you must have a clear path to it, so it can't be behind total cover.

If you place an area of effect at a point that you can't see and an obstruction, such as a wall, is between you and that point, the point of origin comes into being on the near side of that obstruction." PHB, p204.
If you can't see (no line of sight) but there is no obstruction like a wall (such as past the limit of your light source, or into fog or something) this cited rule RAW does not seem to require line of sight to the target.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
This is one of those RAW I disagree with, (if Im reading this correctly) which I may not be. Let's say you see someone run behind a wall, you lob a fireball at the wall approximately where you think the target is. Of course Id give them advantage on a save, but that fireball would blow up that wall like the Kool-Aid Man and if the target failed their save then theyd take damage from the fireball and the exploding wall. I understand the rule is written as it is to be concise and avoid arguments, but some spells should be a case by case basis, or in this example even a targeted ranged attack.
Sure. You do you. I disagree with a lot of RAW. But that's what it says.

Something to think about. Is what the rule says and what you'd want it to do really any different? Sounds like a descriptive difference more than a mechanical one. RAW says the fireball would ignite at the point in the wall nearest to you along the line from you to your target. It would explode there. You want the fireball to hit the wall at the same point and explode. Sounds the same to me. You just want the person you're aiming at to take damage despite being on the far side of the wall. According to RAW, you'd need to do enough damage, exceed the damage threshold (or whatever it's called), and have enough left over to damage the person. Or you could just say that the wall means the person auto succeeds on their DEX save and only takes half.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
If you can't see (no line of sight) but there is no obstruction like a wall (such as past the limit of your light source, or into fog or something) this cited rule RAW does not seem to require line of sight to the target.
Sure. Then it's a question of accurately placing the AoE so as to not accidentally hit an obstruction. Remembering the caster can't actually see the destination. Randomly firing into the darkness. Dealing with some version of the Blind and/or Invisible conditions to suss out how to handle it would be one way to go. It comes down to the referee making a call. Make a check with disadvantage sounds about right. Can't be an ability check as you'd auto-fail from being effectively blind. So an attack? Sure. Works for me.
 

Sure. You do you. I disagree with a lot of RAW. But that's what it says.

Something to think about. Is what the rule says and what you'd want it to do really any different? Sounds like a descriptive difference more than a mechanical one. RAW says the fireball would ignite at the point in the wall nearest to you along the line from you to your target. It would explode there. You want the fireball to hit the wall at the same point and explode. Sounds the same to me. You just want the person you're aiming at to take damage despite being on the far side of the wall. According to RAW, you'd need to do enough damage, exceed the damage threshold (or whatever it's called), and have enough left over to damage the person. Or you could just say that the wall means the person auto succeeds on their DEX save and only takes half.
That sounds about right. I usually either forget or ignore inanimate object damage thresholds unless the encounter is rather significant. Regardless I like to see the spellcasting system totally dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up but I'm sure that's not going to happen nor is this the place to discuss that.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
That sounds about right. I usually either forget or ignore inanimate object damage thresholds unless the encounter is rather significant. Regardless I like to see the spellcasting system totally dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up but I'm sure that's not going to happen nor is this the place to discuss that.
I hear you. For me, I feel like I'm wasting my time and brain power if I'm using anything more complicated than opposed 2d6 rolls and freestyling the rest.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
This is one of those RAW I disagree with, (if Im reading this correctly) which I may not be. Let's say you see someone run behind a wall, you lob a fireball at the wall approximately where you think the target is. Of course Id give them advantage on a save, but that fireball would blow up that wall like the Kool-Aid Man and if the target failed their save then theyd take damage from the fireball and the exploding wall. I understand the rule is written as it is to be concise and avoid arguments, but some spells should be a case by case basis, or in this example even a targeted ranged attack.
You can imagine it however you like, naturally, but a fireball spell isn't an explosion. It wouldn't do anything to a wall (other than set it on fire). It has no force. It's just a spontaneously generating burst of flame, not a compressed explosion.
 

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