D&D 5E D&D 5e Post-Mortem

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
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.
We have reports from actual consultants during the non-public playtest. A significant number of CRs are not actually following the rules (something you can find documentation of elsewhere; that part isn't hidden.) Instead, they were originally defined using the rules...and then private playtesting revealed that those CRs were inappropriate for their level, with no consistent pattern in any direction. The WotC people eyeballed it, guesstimating a more functionally-correct CR. The vast majority of CRs in 5e are no better than an educated guess. This is why most people say not to bother with them; they really are little better than guessing, so you may as well just do whatever you feel like doing and figure it out later.

The encounter-building rules are worse than CR, I certainly grant you that, because they necessarily start from flawed inputs. GIGO.

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.
It was certainly wrong about 4e. I have seen the analyses of 5e. This is not a handwavy hypothetical. It's literally looking at what the actual monsters in the MM are and do--often directly comparing them to alternatives (not precisely "equivalents") in 4e in the process. Further, we have things like Matt Colville explicitly talking about how you can make 5e combats better...by adapting monsters from 4e. These are public things, not something secret and hidden.

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.
I have no experience with PF2e, so I cannot comment on that. I can only comment on what I have seen of 5e combats. And first to last, they have been uniformly some of the most dull experiences I have ever had with combat in a TTRPG. With several different GMs. (Not that I really play 5e eagerly, mind; it's just the only game I've found anyone willing to run for the past, oh, 5+ years? And not one of those campaigns has given me a reason to change my mind.)

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!
Whereas I have found them to be absolute trash and indescribably inferior to the equivalents in 4e. To the extent that, if I did not know better, I would genuinely believe you were trolling me by saying this. I know you aren't. I am absolutely certain you are fully serious when you say this. I just have had such utterly terrible experiences with them, both in isolation and in practice, that I struggle to even conceive that someone could have such a good experience with them.

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.
I find designing powers a breeze, since the hard part is the hit and damage ranges, and felt that what was in the books was perfectly adequate for getting started on such things. Having some suggestions about ways conditions could interact with the other parts could be useful, I grant that, but in most cases the rules are so transparent it's pretty obvious whether something would be OP or not. 5e is exactly the opposite; the rules are so opaque I can never tell whether something is brokenly overpowered or completely useless without repeated testing.
 

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dave2008

Legend
We have reports from actual consultants during the non-public playtest. A significant number of CRs are not actually following the rules (something you can find documentation of elsewhere; that part isn't hidden.) Instead, they were originally defined using the rules...and then private playtesting revealed that those CRs were inappropriate for their level, with no consistent pattern in any direction. The WotC people eyeballed it, guesstimating a more functionally-correct CR. The vast majority of CRs in 5e are no better than an educated guess. This is why most people say not to bother with them; they really are little better than guessing, so you may as well just do whatever you feel like doing and figure it out later.

The encounter-building rules are worse than CR, I certainly grant you that, because they necessarily start from flawed inputs. GIGO.
You are exaggerating the "reports" that I remember at least. The story was they built the monsters, playtested them, and adjusted them as needed (at least that is how i remember it). That seems fine to me. Personally I find the published monsters follow the CR guidelines in the DMG pretty well (particularily since we now know the DMG guidelines are an imperfect recreation of their internal CR calculator) and CR works for me as well. As do the encounter guidelines when I used them.

I know people have a trouble them - I don't. No amount of your complaints will overrule my own use and experience with them. That is just they way it is. They can both be true: they can work for me and not others.
It was certainly wrong about 4e. I have seen the analyses of 5e. This is not a handwavy hypothetical. It's literally looking at what the actual monsters in the MM are and do--often directly comparing them to alternatives (not precisely "equivalents") in 4e in the process. Further, we have things like Matt Colville explicitly talking about how you can make 5e combats better...by adapting monsters from 4e. These are public things, not something secret and hidden.
Those are not fact, but opinions. I have my own and it is as valid as any one else. Heck I posted a comparison of kobolds a little bit ago and they are surprising similar between 4e and 5e (here is the link to the post in this thread: kobolds). I have compared 5e monsters to 4e and PF2. I have done the work, you seem to just rely on others. I have played all three systems: 4+ years of 4e and 8+ years of 5e and a few trials of PF2. I know how they worked in play at the table, not just comparing them on paper. IME, 4e and 5e monsters are very similar. I think 4e monsters are generally better (except I think 5e legendarys are better than 4e solos), I just don't think it is by a lot. Is this that really an opinion to get so worked up over?
I have no experience with PF2e, so I cannot comment on that.
Then why did you comment on it? I was comparing PF2 to 5e?
I can only comment on what I have seen of 5e combats.
And first to last, they have been uniformly some of the most dull experiences I have ever had with combat in a TTRPG. With several different GMs. (Not that I really play 5e eagerly, mind; it's just the only game I've found anyone willing to run for the past, oh, 5+ years? And not one of those campaigns has given me a reason to change my mind.)
I don't watch other people play, so I have no idea what you witnessed. I can only say that my group has had more fun playing 5e than we did 1e or 4e. Our games are not dull, I can't speak for others.
Whereas I have found them to be absolute trash and indescribably inferior to the equivalents in 4e. To the extent that, if I did not know better, I would genuinely believe you were trolling me by saying this. I know you aren't. I am absolutely certain you are fully serious when you say this. I just have had such utterly terrible experiences with them, both in isolation and in practice, that I struggle to even conceive that someone could have such a good experience with them.
You can just look at my many monster thread on these forums to attest that I am not trolling. I've made hundreds of 5e monsters. These are my biggest ones, but I have others:
5e Updates: Monstrous Compendium
5e EPIC MONSTER UPDATES
I find designing powers a breeze, since the hard part is the hit and damage ranges, and felt that what was in the books was perfectly adequate for getting started on such things. Having some suggestions about ways conditions could interact with the other parts could be useful, I grant that, but in most cases the rules are so transparent it's pretty obvious whether something would be OP or not. 5e is exactly the opposite; the rules are so opaque I can never tell whether something is brokenly overpowered or completely useless without repeated testing.
I found it to be just the opposite really. I find the 5e rules, though convoluted at times, to be transparent and parts of the 4e rules (I am talking about monster building here) to be opaque. Now that didn't stop me from making lots of 4e monsters, but I did stress about how to handle conditions and similar effects. There is just no guidance that remember in 4e. I don't, generally, have that worry in 5e - it is in the book.

I will say that, like with 4e, I am starting to get a bit burned out on making 5e monsters. That happened after 4 years into 4e and about 8 years with 5e. However, making 4e monsters made me a better 5e monster designer for sure.

Also, you may be interested to know that my "5e" Immortals rules I am working on will use a powers structure reminiscent of 4e.

Finally, we can continue this conversation if you want. However, your experience is never going to change my mind about what I have experienced. I played, designed for, and enjoyed 4e. I play, design for, and enjoy 5e. I don't see why that is a problem.
 
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dave2008

Legend
Whereas I have found them to be absolute trash and indescribably inferior to the equivalents in 4e. To the extent that, if I did not know better, I would genuinely believe you were trolling me by saying this. I know you aren't. I am absolutely certain you are fully serious when you say this. I just have had such utterly terrible experiences with them, both in isolation and in practice, that I struggle to even conceive that someone could have such a good experience with them.
I just wanted to go back to this point because I think it gets to the heart of the issue. Everyone is different and that is OK. A personal example: a lot of people struggle with may and in particular calculus. When I took calculus in highschool it was the first time math really made sense to me. It just really clicked, I loved it. Our minds don't all work the same and that is not only great, but wonderful!

I love your passion for 4e. I do hope you can respect my passion for 4e and 5e. My ideal game would be a mix of the two.
 

Retreater

Legend
I'm not bashing anyone's enjoyment of 5e. I know I'm in the minority for not liking it. I can only say what doesn't work for me.
All of these points are IMO....
1) Poorly designed adventures
2) Weak campaign settings
And it's difficult to build my own of either because of...
3) Badly implemented CR system
4) Inconsistent monster design rules
5) Lack of guidance in how to reward characters (nothing to spend gold on, no magic item economy, etc)
And things get stale when...
6) There are clearly better weapons, ability scores, and ancestry options - and new options are stagnant
7) Every party feels about the same
8) Tactics don't really matter when the rules don't reward smart play ... and it's not really required anyway
Because the monsters...
9) Don't have enough actions to threaten a party
10) Don't have high enough damage potential to threaten (low damage, low attack bonus, easy accessibility of PC healing)
11) Conversely have too many HP to die quickly, and not enough to require the party to work together (mostly because there's little threat - see Point 10)
12) Or have breath weapons that can TPK a party ("Rocks fall, everyone dies")
And the characters are limited by...
13) The game ending at 10th level (because there's no guidance on what to do or published content)
14) They can already stomp high level baddies at mid tier
15) There's no point to adventure because there are no rewards (see Point 5)
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I just wanted to go back to this point because I think it gets to the heart of the issue. Everyone is different and that is OK. A personal example: a lot of people struggle with may and in particular calculus. When I took calculus in highschool it was the first time math really made sense to me. It just really clicked, I loved it. Our minds don't all work the same and that is not only great, but wonderful!

I love your passion for 4e. I do hope you can respect my passion for 4e and 5e. My ideal game would be a mix of the two.
I mean, in fairness, my ideal game would also be a mix of the two. Just...mostly 4e. (Not for nothing, I love 13A which is a mix of 3e-but-not-broken and 4e...and 5e is quite clearly a direct descendant of 3e with a few tweaks and flourishes.)
 

dave2008

Legend
I mean, in fairness, my ideal game would also be a mix of the two. Just...mostly 4e. (Not for nothing, I love 13A which is a mix of 3e-but-not-broken and 4e...and 5e is quite clearly a direct descendant of 3e with a few tweaks and flourishes.)
I didn't play 3e so I see a lot of 4e in 5e too. I go back and forth between my ideal mix, but ultimately we are having to much fun with our version of 5e to put in the effort to try and make me "ideal" D&D. The designer in me thinks about it every so often though.

However, I have come to realize what I would design as my "ideal" version probably would not be as fun to play for me and my group. It would appeal to the designer in me, and maybe other players, but not how my group plays. Strange that my design goals and play goals don't match!
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I mean, in fairness, my ideal game would also be a mix of the two. Just...mostly 4e. (Not for nothing, I love 13A which is a mix of 3e-but-not-broken and 4e...and 5e is quite clearly a direct descendant of 3e with a few tweaks and flourishes.)
I'd love to hear your thoughts on PF2 if you ever try it.
 


payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I'm not bashing anyone's enjoyment of 5e. I know I'm in the minority for not liking it. I can only say what doesn't work for me.
All of these points are IMO....
1) Poorly designed adventures
2) Weak campaign settings
And it's difficult to build my own of either because of...
3) Badly implemented CR system
4) Inconsistent monster design rules
5) Lack of guidance in how to reward characters (nothing to spend gold on, no magic item economy, etc)
And things get stale when...
6) There are clearly better weapons, ability scores, and ancestry options - and new options are stagnant
7) Every party feels about the same
8) Tactics don't really matter when the rules don't reward smart play ... and it's not really required anyway
Because the monsters...
9) Don't have enough actions to threaten a party
10) Don't have high enough damage potential to threaten (low damage, low attack bonus, easy accessibility of PC healing)
11) Conversely have too many HP to die quickly, and not enough to require the party to work together (mostly because there's little threat - see Point 10)
12) Or have breath weapons that can TPK a party ("Rocks fall, everyone dies")
And the characters are limited by...
13) The game ending at 10th level (because there's no guidance on what to do or published content)
14) They can already stomp high level baddies at mid tier
15) There's no point to adventure because there are no rewards (see Point 5)
A lot of these depend on presentation and playstyle. I've always felt engaging the game is its own reward. If a GM's set up, hooks, plot, conflicts, etc.. are compelling, I don't need much else to get me to enjoy the game. I've actually come to dislike being showered in gold and playing for power up rewards. I'd rather move the story forward, explore new places, and engage in a variety of interesting encounters. However, yes as you point out the tools for those encounters are going to be the heart of the game. If that part isn't working for you, it all comes falling down.
 


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