D&D 5E D&D 5e Post-Mortem

Oofta

Legend
No. This is literally a documented thing. The CR system is mostly a suggestion and often barely more than an eyeballed approximation. It is bad and has been bad since 3e.

The CR system works quite well for me. I doubt that it's sheer luck, although I do have to adjust my xp budget based on the group. That's not a big surprise though, there are simply too many variables. But if I calculate a hard fight for the group? It's generally a hard fight.

That does not comport with how people have described it to me. I wouldn't know directly; my only experience is with the MM and everything from it has been incredibly boring to fight, whether because it is just a sack of HP or because it is stupidly, overwhelmingly OP and the only options are "die," "run away," or "run away but still die."

Some of the monsters are boring, sometimes DMs set up fights to be boring. I don't want every monster to have a hundred widgets and options.

Again, that has not been my experience, and the tools for developing new monsters yourself are even more disappointing (and usually just exacerbate the "CR is useless" problem).

Again, this is something that works well for me, although I have started using an alternate I found a while back on blog of holding. Your experience is far from universal. The DMG guidelines could be cleaned up, they aren't pointless.
 

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Retreater

Legend
So the question I have for the OP (and others who feel the same way) is: what's next.

I am backing the Weird Wizard Kickstarter which I think will scratch the same sort of itch as far as adventures go. I am curious about Daggerheart too. I'm currently running PF2, but that game is also heading in a direction that doesn't interest me. All things considered, what do you think you'll want to do next?
Next on the menu is Gamma World 7E (based on the 4E system). I have a full set of all Alpha Mutations and Omega Tech as well as all the supplements. There should be plenty of variety for a short palate cleanse game.
After that, the group is expressing interest in the Savage Worlds "Holler." Since we're in Kentucky, the setting is right in our backyard.
So it's a d20 game with a wildly different setting and then moving on to a different type of game altogether.

I'll try to get to some of the other questions later. Right now I am prepping for a Pathfinder 2e game after a doozy of a day at work.
 

Jaeger

That someone better
I don't think good enough is a bad thing

It's not.

I have no idea what you're saying unless it's "D&D is popular so therefore I can dismiss the opinion of everyone who actually likes the game as just being sheeple."

D&D is the most popular RPG because it was first, good enough, and has maintained its market leader position.

None of those are bad things.

If the game paradigm that D&D offers hits your sweet spot, there is nothing wrong with liking it.

I'm merely pointing out that for the vast majority of people that only play D&D, the idea that some other system might have something else to offer doesn't even occur to them if you were to ask them why they like D&D. Because D&D is good enough as-is for what they want to get out of playing RPG's.

People like us posting on forums are outliers.
 

Oofta

Legend
It's not.



D&D is the most popular RPG because it was first, good enough, and has maintained its market leader position.

None of those are bad things.

If the game paradigm that D&D offers hits your sweet spot, there is nothing wrong with liking it.

I'm merely pointing out that for the vast majority of people that only play D&D, the idea that some other system might have something else to offer doesn't even occur to them if you were to ask them why they like D&D. Because D&D is good enough as-is for what they want to get out of playing RPG's.

People like us posting on forums are outliers.

The issue I have is phrases like the one I bolded. There's a difference between not acknowledging other systems and "This works for me, it's popular so it's easy to find groups, I'm having fun playing the game" and "I'm just ignorant". Because the latter implies that if people only knew better they'd try out other systems.

Most people only spend a limited amount of time outside of game sessions thinking about games. Playing D&D is the most logical choice given a whole range of factors. I mean, I don't want to play a PbtA game, they just aren't for me. I don't want to feel constrained to a specific universe or overall story themes like a Star Wars game. A lot of games, like the golden age super heroes game who's name I can't remember that I tried at one time, just have a very narrow definition of who your PC can be. So I play D&D, it's well supported and finding others to game with is simple. I also think it's a decent system.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Next on the menu is Gamma World 7E (based on the 4E system). I have a full set of all Alpha Mutations and Omega Tech as well as all the supplements. There should be plenty of variety for a short palate cleanse game.
After that, the group is expressing interest in the Savage Worlds "Holler." Since we're in Kentucky, the setting is right in our backyard.
So it's a d20 game with a wildly different setting and then moving on to a different type of game altogether.

I'll try to get to some of the other questions later. Right now I am prepping for a Pathfinder 2e game after a doozy of a day at work.


Gamma World is fun! Played it back in the day, and have done few games with the new edition. Faithful and works well.
 

Jaeger

That someone better
the idea that some other system might have something else to offer doesn't even occur to them

The issue I have is phrases like the one I bolded. There's a difference between not acknowledging other systems and "This works for me, it's popular so it's easy to find groups, I'm having fun playing the game" and "I'm just ignorant". Because the latter implies that if people only knew better they'd try out other systems.

I'm not saying that they are ignorant.

I'm saying that they don't care. Not even a little bit.

It is what it is; Most people that play D&D are incurious about other games because they are getting what they want from D&D.

Even when they know about other games; they still don't want to try out other systems.

Because their needs are being met by D&D.

This is why it's pointless to lament about: "Why won't D&D players try other games!"...

Because they don't want to. They have D&D.
 

Are these 4e ones really so much better than the 5e ones? Of all of them I find the 5e inventor the most fun. I do miss those compact 4e statblocks though.
Honestly? Yes. First you're comparing eight years of 5e with launch 4e; every single one of the kobold variants you list comes from the 4e Monster Manual while you're using the MMotM versions of 5e.

Second, let's look at the base kobold.
1692309531752.png

The key problem with this guy is that it's not interactive. It has exactly the same melee and range to hit and damage expressions so there's no point trying to rush it down and get it in melee (or to kite it). It has 5hp meaning that it's got just enough that you need to track without it being useful to do so (unlike the 4e kobold minion). Pack tactics is evocative but not something you can really engage with, unlike the slippery nature. In short it's like the 4e minion but slightly worse in a whole lot of ways.

Then we're coming to your favourite, and my pet hate that frankly reads like a first draft.
1692309869398.png

How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways:
  • "The kobold can use each one no more than once per day" - That's eight separate things to track.
  • It's incomplete, referring very vaguely to multiple books books:
    • Swarm of Insects: MM p 338 (page number not listed and it's the beasts appendix)
    • Green Slime - listed as DMG Chapter 5 - DMG p105 and several pages in
    • Swarm of Rot Grubs (listed as being in Appendix A in Volo's (which is fortunately two sides) and, worse yet, "in this book" in MMotM - filed irritatingly under S for Swarm).
    • Skunk-in-a-cage. Actually doesn't refer to a different book.
  • It's unbalanced
    • A CR 1/4 monster shouldn't have a save-or-lose-actions effect (Skunk-in-a-cage)
    • A CR 1/4 monster shouldn't be summoning CR 1/2 monsters (centipede swarm, rot grub swarm, wasp swarm)
  • Scorpion on a stick. That's just an annoyingly slow method of doing about as much damage as the dagger
  • Alchemist's Fire takes until turn 3 before it is worse than the dagger.
  • This isn't a "Kobold inventor". At least five and arguably six of the eight options (depending how you count the green slime) are beast handling.
I'm not saying that the Kobold Inventor isn't cool and evocative (it absolutely is). I'm saying that in terms of practicality it's a disaster and needs a second pass. I am, however, saying that it has serious both playability and balance issues that didn't happen in 4e. If it were split into "Alchemy-supplied kobold" (a slinger with fire, acid, and a green slime that doesn't reference another book) and "Kobold beast-tweaker" and the beast tweaker was much better written it might reach 4e standards, but it isn't there.
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
The CR system works quite well for me. I doubt that it's sheer luck, although I do have to adjust my xp budget based on the group. That's not a big surprise though, there are simply too many variables. But if I calculate a hard fight for the group? It's generally a hard fight.



Some of the monsters are boring, sometimes DMs set up fights to be boring. I don't want every monster to have a hundred widgets and options.



Again, this is something that works well for me, although I have started using an alternate I found a while back on blog of holding. Your experience is far from universal. The DMG guidelines could be cleaned up, they aren't pointless.
Multiple monsters is often the way I go: mooks to soak attacks mean the big bad gets more play time.

I specifically DM 5e because it’s manageable. I can role play as well as do tactics.
 

dave2008

Legend
Honestly? Yes. First you're comparing eight years of 5e with launch 4e; every single one of the kobold variants you list comes from the 4e Monster Manual while you're using the MMotM versions of 5e.
Well it is hard to comparing it with anything else - Kobolds never appeared in another monster book in 4e (MM2 & MM3 don't have any). I forgot to check the essentials version, which did have the best solo monsters.

All the stat blocks were from Volo's except the sorcerer which I used the MotM version to highlight the new way of making spell casters. So the 2nd monster book in 5e, which despite the difference in time I think is equivalent to a MM3 or MM3 in 4e.

So I think it is relevant comparison.
Second, let's look at the base kobold.
View attachment 292779
The key problem with this guy is that it's not interactive. It has exactly the same melee and range to hit and damage expressions so there's no point trying to rush it down and get it in melee (or to kite it). It has 5hp meaning that it's got just enough that you need to track without it being useful to do so (unlike the 4e kobold minion). Pack tactics is evocative but not something you can really engage with, unlike the slippery nature. In short it's like the 4e minion but slightly worse in a whole lot of ways.
It is very much like the 4e minion, that's my point.
Then we're coming to your favourite, and my pet hate that frankly reads like a first draft.
View attachment 292780
How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways:
  • "The kobold can use each one no more than once per day" - That's eight separate things to track.
  • It's incomplete, referring very vaguely to multiple books books:
    • Swarm of Insects: MM p 338 (page number not listed and it's the beasts appendix)
    • Green Slime - listed as DMG Chapter 5 - DMG p105 and several pages in
    • Swarm of Rot Grubs (listed as being in Appendix A in Volo's (which is fortunately two sides) and, worse yet, "in this book" in MMotM - filed irritatingly under S for Swarm).
    • Skunk-in-a-cage. Actually doesn't refer to a different book.
  • It's unbalanced
    • A CR 1/4 monster shouldn't have a save-or-lose-actions effect (Skunk-in-a-cage)
    • A CR 1/4 monster shouldn't be summoning CR 1/2 monsters (centipede swarm, rot grub swarm, wasp swarm)
  • Scorpion on a stick. That's just an annoyingly slow method of doing about as much damage as the dagger
  • Alchemist's Fire takes until turn 3 before it is worse than the dagger.
  • This isn't a "Kobold inventor". At least five and arguably six of the eight options (depending how you count the green slime) are beast handling.
I'm not saying that the Kobold Inventor isn't cool and evocative (it absolutely is). I'm saying that in terms of practicality it's a disaster and needs a second pass. I am, however, saying that it has serious both playability and balance issues that didn't happen in 4e. If it were split into "Alchemy-supplied kobold" (a slinger with fire, acid, and a green slime that doesn't reference another book) and "Kobold beast-tweaker" and the beast tweaker was much better written it might reach 4e standards, but it isn't there.
I value your opinion; however, it is just your opinion. Have you used one of these in an a game? I have, and they are lot of fun. It works for me.

Listen, I like 4e monsters. I have my issues with them and made a lot of custom 4e monsters in my day. I can even agree that 4e monsters are probably, overall, the high water mark for D&D monster mechanics. However, I just don't think the difference is a large as people make it out to be, that is my point. I will also say that I think, in general, the 5e legendary monsters are better and more interesting in actually play than 4e solos. To me that is important - I like solo monsters and 5e versions are just better IMO. At the very least they play better at our table.
 
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dave2008

Legend
No. This is literally a documented thing. The CR system is mostly a suggestion and often barely more than an eyeballed approximation. It is bad and has been bad since 3e.
I not sure what you are claiming is documented. Can you clarify? Are you talking about CR or encounter building? They are not the same thing (though we often use them interchangeably). I'm not even sure what I said, but I was talking about encounter building. The guidelines work for me, when I was interested in using them. I quickly discovered I didn't have to use them so I stopped about a year or so into 5e.
That does not comport with how people have described it to me. I wouldn't know directly; my only experience is with the MM and everything from it has been incredibly boring to fight, whether because it is just a sack of HP or because it is stupidly, overwhelmingly OP and the only options are "die," "run away," or "run away but still die."
I hear this a lot, just like heard the same complaint (bags of hit points) with 4e monsters (particularly solos) on the old WotC 4e boards. Not sure you were a part of those boards during the 4e days or not, but I lot of the complaints were very similar: too many hit points, no threat, lack of interesting things (spells). It is eerily familiar. I didn't agree with that assessment in 4e and I don't agree with it in 5e.
Again, that has not been my experience,...
What has not been your experience. That PF2 monsters are better are not as interesting as 5e legendary monsters (in general). I guess I believe you, I can just tell you that was my experience. Though I haven't messed around with PF2 in a long time, my group didn't like it.
and the tools for developing new monsters yourself are even more disappointing (and usually just exacerbate the "CR is useless" problem).
I like the 5e tools and find them easy to use. I feel like the take a little more work than 4e, but they can produce more interesting results IMO. That is one of the things that I am concerned about in the 2024 DMG. I like the monster building rules and worry they are going to mess it up!

Now 4e had some easy to use tables, but the 4e DMG gave no guidance on how to make powers (IIRC), just gave you the to hit and damage ranges. It also didn't give you guidance on how conditions and forced movement should affect that damage. It also didn't give you a monster's DPR, just and attack's damage. I found both of these very frustrating. Making powers for 4e monsters started to wear me down at the end of its run. Not to mention the damage tables were awful and I had to come up with my own (they are even available for download here on EnWolrd).

I want to point out, again, I am a fan of 4e. I think it is the best designed version of D&D. It is the game the brought me and my group back to playing. That doesn't mean I can't see its cracks.
 

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