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D&D 5E Definitions, please! What are Bounded Accuracy and RAW?

dave2008

Legend
Warforged Fighter 1, Artificer 1 has an AC of 24 base at 2nd level. Shield comes online at 4th level to get it to 29. Probably has a access to a buff spell like shield of faith for AC 31 by 4th level as well.

It's an outlier but it doesnt require any sort of mega stats to perform.
First I said no magic buffs - so Shield doesn't count. Also, we don't have a warforged or artificer.

More importantly, I was talking specifically about my game, I even said "my players." My point was, it is only easy (to get sky high AC) if you allow it to be easy. Heck your talking about books that came out 5-6 yrs after the PHB. My group is still playing in the game we started when 5e came out!
 

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First I said no magic buffs - so Shield doesn't count. Also, we don't have a warforged or artificer.
In your games maybe.

OK then - Fighter 1/ War wizard 2. AC 21, with an at will AC of 23 with a reaction. Also has access to shield and so forth, and when concentrating on a spell from 10th level adds an extra +2.
More importantly, I was talking specifically about my game, I even said "my players." My point was, it is only easy if you allow to be easy. Heck your taking from books that came out 5-6 yrs after the PHB. My group is still playing in the game we started when 5e came out!
Good for you.

I was showing how it easy it was to buff AC generally. I have no idea what rules your game uses.
 

Mannahnin

Adventurer
TBF, you showed a couple of specific narrow cases that allow for an exceptional AC. They're "easy" in that if the given class, race, and equipment are made available by the DM they require no other special hurdles to acquire, but they're not "common" in that you have to pick some pretty narrow options and prioritize those numbers over other character choices (like playing a different class or race).

That being said, anything over 20 tends to be pretty darn high for monsters of the first two tiers, anyway.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I am thankful for this thread because I didn't know what "bounded accuracy" meant either (though I had a sense of what it might mean) and finally discovered what RAI means! (I knew RAW already).

I also find the armor class discussion interesting both for the outlier case of getting a very high AC (only a worry if you have an entire party of warforged fighter/artificers I guess) and for the opinions on AC bonuses for magical items (something I have been actually thinking about putting out there for some PCs to find b/c they get hit and at least two of them seem to go down almost every battle). In my other group, the 3rd level characters have found Mariner's Scale Mail +2 (though it is the only magical items so far beside some crossbow bolts +1 and healing potions).

Edit to add: In the game I ran on Saturday, the PCs were sweating trying to hit some dudes with 17 and 19 ACs respectively.
 

Horwath

Hero
I am also thinking of additional bounding of accuracy to replace +X on weapons and armor with:
Weapons +1d6/+2d6/+3d6 damage and for armors +1/+2/+3 HP per your level to your HPs
No +X shields.
Only Ring and Cloak of protection for +AC
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
I am also thinking of additional bounding of accuracy to replace +X on weapons and armor with:
Weapons +1d6/+2d6/+3d6 damage and for armors +1/+2/+3 HP per your level to your HPs
No +X shields.
Only Ring and Cloak of protection for +AC
Interesting... D&D is so varied!

In my games, we actually boosted AC and decreased HP, yet your ideas would do (more or less) the opposite.

Huh... :unsure:
 

auburn2

Adventurer
What in the name of Fizban's hairy buttocks is bounded accuracy??? I keep seeing the term, but have no idea what it means. A search turned up about 1000 more mentions of it than I cared to wade through, and that's ALL they were: mentions.

Likewise the heck is RAW?


Thanks in advance to all who respond with help!
Bounded accuracy means thing like armor class, difficulty checks for skills and such does not increase with levels and things like attack rolls and saving throws increase little .... i.e. they are bounded. This means classes get better at things they are specailized in but they don't get godlike and the other classes can still do those things.

This is in contrast to 3.5E where attack rolls for martial characters and saving throws went up every singe level. After relatively few levels a character who was not investing heavily in a skill could no longer do that skill effectively at all in game. Similarly someone like a wizard had virtually no chance of hitting enemy with an attack after a few levels. This railroaded characters and the choices they made at early levels forced a certain play style for the entire game. Characters had to keep investing points in the areas they wanted to be good at or fall behind.

In 5E on the other hand, characters can still be good at things at higher levels. A wizard with a high dexterity may have a +3 to stealth at first level and is pretty good at sneaking, at 16th that +3 is still pretty good. He is not as good as the guy who has proficiency in stealth, who now has +8 but is still good.
 

Horwath

Hero
Interesting... D&D is so varied!

In my games, we actually boosted AC and decreased HP, yet your ideas would do (more or less) the opposite.

Huh... :unsure:
yeah, HPs are very high in 5E. Might be good if every attack does half damage and magic armor give damage reduction instead of extra HPs/Higher AC

Maybe 6E will be half damage on every attack miss and some abilities to deny "miss damage"
 

dave2008

Legend
In your games maybe.

OK then - Fighter 1/ War wizard 2. AC 21, with an at will AC of 23 with a reaction. Also has access to shield and so forth, and when concentrating on a spell from 10th level adds an extra +2.

Good for you.

I was showing how it easy it was to buff AC generally. I have no idea what rules your game uses.
We use the RAW AC rules. I don't typical give magical armor (at least not with AC bonuses) and we don't multiclass (5e default). Our group (lvl 15) is 2 fighters, a thief, a ranger (scout), and a wizard. No one typically has an AC above 20 (plate + shield).

I'm sure it is easy to allow high AC if you want, but it is trivially easy to keep it limited by RAW.
 

dave2008

Legend
I am also thinking of additional bounding of accuracy to replace +X on weapons and armor with:
Weapons +1d6/+2d6/+3d6 damage and for armors +1/+2/+3 HP per your level to your HPs
No +X shields.
Only Ring and Cloak of protection for +AC
I give magic items that increase damage without giving bonus to hit and it works well. I personally see no need to increase player HP with armor. If I want magic armor I just give it some other magic trait.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I am also thinking of additional bounding of accuracy to replace +X on weapons and armor with:
Weapons +1d6/+2d6/+3d6 damage and for armors +1/+2/+3 HP per your level to your HPs
No +X shields.
Only Ring and Cloak of protection for +AC
I like that. Making weapons +dX damage also has the nice side effect of depowering GWM and SS.
 


For the OP, high AC characters, be they super high outliers or the result of spell buffs won’t break anything and won’t invalidate bounded accuracy as a general concept. Throw some spellcasting monsters/NPCs into your combat challenges that cast save-based spells and perhaps include Heat Metal in there at some point.

EDIT: also, what @Stormonu just said :)
 

fearsomepirate

Adventurer
Straight Fighters and Paladins with AC 21 by 5th level aren't that uncommon. No need to get fancy about it. The thing is, getting much above that requires spells and magic items. Since in 5e, magic items are rare and discretionary, there's no reason at all to think a 17th-level Fighter will have 28 AC from his +3 Shield, +3 Plate, and +1 Ring of Protection. He might very well have found little more than the ring and a +1 shield, or maybe even nothing at all. By contrast, the expected AC for a 17th-level fighter in 3rd edition appears to be around 31.
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
It doesn't require mega stats, but it completely uses up a class feature (the Infusions). And where's a 3rd level character getting the money for plate armor?
She strips everything of value from everything she kills. Not just armor and weapons. Barrels of provisions that are just clutter? They've got value too. I'm sure that the apothecary can find a use for various bits of goblins, owlbears, and the like.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
She strips everything of value from everything she kills. Not just armor and weapons. Barrels of provisions that are just clutter? They've got value too. I'm sure that the apothecary can find a use for various bits of goblins, owlbears, and the like.
I think that earning 1500 gp (the price of plate mail) is almost certainly DM and campaign specific. I've played in games where I've had that much at level 2, and others where I never scraped together than much by level 8.

Breastplate, half plate, and plate mail are almost like magic items because you can't afford them with your starting funds, and you're dependent on the DM's distribution of treasure to see if you can get them.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
It took my Fighter until 3rd or 4th Level to save up enough coin to buy his suit of full plate armor. (What? Healing potions are expensive at lower levels.) Which was right around the time that our druid gained access to the barkskin spell. Probably not a coincidence, that.
 

fearsomepirate

Adventurer
They also wanted some way to make high-level monsters feel epic other than giving them enormous bonuses. Sure, if your party is going to go literally kill Erythnul, they should be 20th level, have some divine blessings, and some epic magic loot.

In 3rd edition, Erythnul has 73 AC. His attack bonuses are +81/+76/+71/+66. He has +64 to Hide and +37 to Disable Device. A stat block like this doesn't feel "epic." It feels silly. You're rolling a d20 and adding 81 to it.
 

jgsugden

Legend
RAW - Rules as Written (putting the letter of the law above the intent)
RAI - Rules as Intended (putting what was intended over what was technically written)
RAF - Rules as Fun (forget what they wrote, forget what they intended, focus on what makes the game better)

Bounded accuracy is a game design approach in which the range of "accuracy" on die rolls when there is advancement in power is restricted so that the weakest tier of creatures retains relevance at higher levels. In a d20 system, it pushes us towards fewer situations in which success is either impossible or requires a 20 (or 1 on a save).

In older editions, a fighter would get a +1 (or more) to hit for every level gained. A high level fighter may attack at +30 to hit. This meant that a low level monster with a +3 or +5 to hit was incapable of doing anything meaningful against a baddie that was suitable for the high level fighter to face.

In 5E with bounded accuracy, a 17th level fighter may be +5 (strength) / +6 (proficiency) / +2 (magic weapon) for +13 to attack. A first level fighter may be +5 to attack. That is a much narrower band. Thus, the low level attacked retains more relevance for a longer period.
 


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