D&D General DM Says No Powergaming?


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
That's answering a pretty different question than the one asked though. If the GM's "job" is to ''balance for a more powerful party" with no say on how powerful is too powerful there must be tools built into 5ethat enable that gm to finesse monsters encounters & even individual PC strengths to the needs of their group. Past editions had various tools for that & I even named a few. You seem to be answering a very different & unasked question.

If you need to point at YouTube reddit & these forums as examples of tools 5e provides the gm you've listed three tools that are explicitly not things that [k]5e provides°. To go on and even suggest specific monsters for a group of a specific level very much calls into question if 5e actually provides[j] any tools for the gm to finesse encounters & even specific PCs as older editions once did. Our of the three tools you listed that are not provided by 5e reddit was created in 2004, YouTube 2005, & it looks like these forums seem to go back to 99 putting them squarely in the time frame of multiple past editions predating 5e. If there are "plenty" provided by 5e itself, why can they not be named
Yeah, it would be nice to have a chapter in the DMG dedicated to helping prep high-level play. I would expect that many of the tips would also help with adjusting encounters for optimized characters at lower levels.

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That's part of the problem. It's a class linked to a single random elemental up to The Arch Fey or The Arch Fiend & so on but trying to be all things to all of them & only ever doing their fluff linked mechanics in the PC's favor.
That’s not a problem. Most classes in D&D are extremely broad, and the fewer players play the narrow ones because they are so niche (hello, Monk!).

In a game where the niches include:
  • studiously masters magic that can do everything except healing or resurrection;
  • fighting without magic;
  • being good at skills;
  • can use music, oratory, dance or even words of encouragement to do magic.

“Got their powers from an external source” isn’t a particularly broad niche.


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Theres a pretty big difference with patrons though. A wizard's spellbook can't be used to pull rank over NPCs & monsters nor can it be called up to actively involve itself in worldly affairs.
I'll admit that I basically skimmed most of the warlock-patron posts in this thread, but is "pulling rank" a huge issue? Isn't this mostly handled by the DM's world building?

Who, exactly, can the warlock pull rank on? If their patron is an Archfey, it isn't the only Archfey. And when your patron is of the more capricious variety--which many/most warlock patrons seem to be (archfey, demons, far realm...), their can certainly be factions among the patronized.

This is where the renown rules in the DMG can come in handy. I find the DMG rules to be a bit too basic and use a combination or Reputation rules from an ENworld article and rules from Strongholds and Followers (by MCCM), as well as downtime activities and complications from Xanathar's Guide. So, sure, there are times where a warlock can pull rank, and that's a feature not a bug. But ALL PCs have the opportunity to pull rank and call in favors. Whether it is related to having a supernatural patron, being part of an organization, or just being a highly respected member of a community is flavoring.


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
There are no rules for what happens to warlock breaking their pact because every pact is different. Some pacts might include the patron withdrawing the warlocks powers after a breach of contract. Others might have given all the potential power already for a deed done in the past. And yet another patron might not be able to take the given power away but can stop giving new powers, forcing the character to multiclass from then on. Some patrons might not even be aware of their warlocks.

I had a Genie warlock who got her powers as a wish after freeing an efreeti from a lamp. There were no further obligations. The deal was already done, the patron wasn't involved in the story anymore.
I've always ran it that the powers were a gift. They can't just be taken back. But you want get new powers. If you level up and have broken your pact, you either have to have switched patrons or multiclass into another class. The ramifications of pact breaking are handled mostly by reputation rules in my game, which you can run with the rules for "renown" plus some reflavoring of downtime rules and complications from Xanathar's Guide.

I see it a more of an issue with clerics and paladins. Even if you multiclass, your divine powers are directly given to you by your faith. If you break your faith you lose those powers. But that's easily handled by changing your faith to another god that will be okay with your new goals and practices. So, again, the ramifications come down to your reputation and the complications that arise therefrom.


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I had a super snarky response all queued up, but others have covered that. Thanks, folks.

"Powergaming" is bologna. Pure and simple. If A DM isn't up to handling feats, or flight, or gasp multi-classing because they are still learning the system or how to run a game, fine. I hate it, but I can deal with that. Ateast i don't have to DM again this session. If it's because they can't figure out how to challenge reasonably optimized builds then I'd rather not be at the table anyway.

The simple truth, is that nothing is as OP as a 5e wizard except another 5e wizard. You can rant all day about Twilight Clerics, or Hexblade dips, but neither comes close to a Divination Wizard. Sharpshooter or the Lucky feats do nothing but bring martials a littlecloser to parity. Banning flying races only to see arcane casters take to the air at level 5 is even more ridiculous, yet how often is Wizard a banned class? Where is the gosh darn consistency?
100% this. D&D at higher levels is a high-magic gonzo game that puts most anime to shame.



I let the players come up with the tenets of their own oath (with some DM input). As a consequence, I have never had a paladin fail to live ip to their Oath.
Same thing should be done for a warlock's pact. Let the player come up with the terms their character agreed to. Of course a DM should still be able to veto that a given patron will never offer certain pact conditions should it not fit the DMs world. Like if devils only accept souls as payment.

Also some patrons might not even be powerful enough to revoke their gifts. A unicorn (CR 6) is mentioned as an example for a celestial warlock patron. At a certain point the warlock will be more powerful than their patron. The character cannot be channeling the unicorns power, much less only a part of it if they have more power.
It might even be that a patron gets part of the power their warlocks grow for them. Making warlocks investments for magical power. The patron gives their warlocks a starting gift and receives magical dividends when their agents grow in power. Even an evil patron might not ask anything of their good aligned warlock because they still get stronger the stronger their warlock becomes.

Pacts don't and shouldn't all work the same way. How boring would that be? Let people be creative.


Magic Wordsmith
Maybe I’ve just never played with power gamers, but for me I just try to encourage roleplaying and building interesting characters with interesting stories. If they happen to be mechanically powerful too I’m cool with that.

As for Warlock patron pacts, etc… again, I try to encourage the player by offering boons for doing what the patron asks, rather than punishing them for not doing things they might not be interested in.
Right. If it's a concern for some reason, work with the player to have the warlock's Bond be something specific they must do for the Patron. Then give Inspiration when they do it. The incentive is already there in the game to be used.


Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
It’s long so read or skip. Fair warning.

I am no fan of free passes per se but let’s think about this logically.

Some patrons don’t even know they are being tapped—-according to text about the Great Old Ones and and the Fathomless.

Some pacts are accidental—I.e. Archfey.

Warlock spells and invocations are not always attached to a patron. See the Eldritch adept and magic initiate feats.

There is no mention of powers being revoked. There are several mentions of “learning” and growing in power. Likewise there is a lot said about a patron being like a mentor. If you learn how to be a silver smith but piss off your mentor, you don’t suddenly forget how to smith. He might stop showing you new skills I presume.

The idea that you are “gifted” power with an agreement is supported too. You entreat your patron at times. Some DO strike bargains. Some are masters of contracts from the 9 hells!

As a result, you can justify a number of approaches: if you are the DM, your decision is the law in your world. However, it’s a choice to take a hard stand and is NOT hardcoded in the rules.

This is a discussion to have with the player—-how you will run it and your expectations. Maybe it’s a negotiation. But it’s not a hard rule of the game—at all.

What about from a practical standpoint? Does power revocation or denial help balance of the game? Nope. Warlocks don’t outdo other classes. I love them but they are not out of hand.

I usually play warlocks. But if I were to DM them, I would just want to know how the power started and what would be fun to play. Who is the patron? Are you wanting to support or berry them? Or are you wanting to get along and keep advancing?

5e has a number of features/bugs which are mostly intentional. The vague nature of pacts and patrons allows for a bigger narrative space. I love it.

Players and DMs just have to be on the same page. There is no true answer here. This is about what your campaign and players want and need.

I am playing a fiend patron blade boon dwarf. He was a freedom fighter and hates slavery. A demon saw someone with potential and a bad temper. The character does not know the voices from his weapon that push him to kill the evil tyrant sorts is actually way into chaos. In fact, if it can make him savage enough in pursuit of good/freedom, it might just get his soul sent to the abyss but not until it leads him to chaos and evil.

He usually tries to be good but the day may come where he gets tricked and slips up big time…

Have fun with your group and just have a shared fictional base. You can’t lose.

But if you give them something in addition to Stunning Strike, which you just said is really good, then you just end up with something too good.

However, if you replace Stunning Strike, you just make them worse, because this new ability would, presumably, work primarily, if not exclusively on spellcasters.

Spellcasters are plenty dangerous, but A: They aren't going to be in every adventuring day, let alone every encounter, and B: That sort of thing wouldn't fit with the fiction of the base Monk. Monks are about being the class that sees a Dragon and says "Catch these hands.", not stopping spellcasters. That and having a base class whose primary identity is basically being a satellite, as in, orbiting around something else and pretty much doing only that, is dumb.
It's a given that Stunning Strike needs to go.

I don't think there's much chance of it surviving into 1D&D in its current form. Because it works on absolutely everyone and stops absolutely everything

So I'm looking at what I'd consider the only realistic option. Replacing Stunning Strike. Also I'd say ranged units in general should be given issues by a Monk, ideally.

As for Monks telling a dragon to "catch these hands", well we could redesign Monks to be that class, and that would also work, but right now they're Mr Chain Stun and nothing else, and because that's powerful in certain situations, they can't become anything else. I was under the impression you wanted to keep the skirmisher design, though. I guess not?
Really? I didn't know a skirmisher was something that was primarily supposed to deal with spellcasters. I thought it was something that ran up to the main force, pestering and weakening them, so that their main force could come in and have a much easier time of doing things.
I guess that's one meaning of skirmisher, the sort of "screening force" but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense in this context. A monk who "runs up to the main force" of enemies is like to immediately get downed. Their AC isn't that good and they don't have that many HP. Patient Defense only helps so much! You can't certainly can't screen like the cavalry or javelin skirmishers you're seeming describing.

A more conventional approach to a skirmisher in this sense would be meaning a unit which AVOIDS the main force of enemies, and attacks where they're weak, particularly attacking units not really capable of defending themselves, like archers/slingers, artillery, and so on. That's where very high mobility is extremely handy even where the unit isn't hugely damaging.

The problem Monks have is they don't do enough damage to like single-handedly wipe out a bunch of these guys, and that Stunning Strike is actually better applied locking down some big melee-hitter than on this backline guys. So what's even the point of their mobility? You seem to be suggesting basically they can run in and kill steal help the other PCs by abandoning whatever they were doing in favour of applying their DPR to a low-health target, but buddy, that's a job that ANY RANGED CHARACTER can do better in 5E. Sheesh, a STR Fighter with some javelins likely does that as well. There's no need for personal mobility to do that when ranged works as well as it does in 5E.

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