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