5E Do You Hint at Damage Resistance?

schnee

Villager
True.

On the other hand, a foe might not take much damage from a Fireball due to having a high Dex save bonus, or due to having Fire Resistance. Should the PCs necessarily know why the foe doesn't take much damage? Should player knowledge drill down to those mechanics level of details?
Well, with the Dex save bonus, it'll be bloody obvious because they dodged out of the way incredibly quickly.

With resistance, an experienced player will see the creature get engulfed in the flames and not look as damaged as it otherwise should.

You seem to be using your argument to say that the DM has no need to narrate what happens in a visceral, observable, and perceivable way. That's your prerogative, but from where I'm sitting, all I see is a DM that reduces the color and vibrancy of the world, and the thrill of a character figuring things out through hard-won experience, in a way that reduces their effectiveness.

Basically, if a being is resistant to fire, and you never give them a hint because *reasons*, the fights will go on longer than they should and they'll suffer more damage, burn more resources (pun intended), etc. and that IS a functional, negative, material penalty because of it.

No creature is resistant to everything. By withholding any hints or information you're hurting players that could switch tactics and win much more quickly.
 

Geeknamese

Explorer
QUOTE=KarinsDad;7183053]Just like the PCs (and players) should not know how many current or total hit points of damage a given monster has (with the possible exceptions of half damage as per the PHB, or nearly total damage), they also shouldn't know whether a monster has resistance or not (shy of a knowledge check).[/QUOTE]

Players at my table might start wondering without that information when 3 solid hits have not even bloodied a foe. Just as enjoyable, at least based on the amount of laughter at my table.
For someone wielding the snide comments and equipping the condescending tone, you really don't have your ish straight. If the expectation of your simulationist game is that your players shouldn't know the amount of hit points a given monster has, how or why, pray tell, would they suspect anything from 3 solid hits not bloodying a foe?

Do you normally custom tailor your encounters so that monsters are bloodied within 3 solid blows?

If you present them with a creature that doesn't have resistance but just has high hit points and can survive more than 3 solid hits, do they just randomly start changing tactics and damage types assuming resistance? Seems silly and sorta noobish for experienced veteran adventurers.

Does not seem fun at all. Telling immersive stories. Narrating awesome fights. Trying to over analyze the game or treat it like a simulation, man, that's just too much emphasis on the minutiae and loses sight of the bigger picture which is stories, awesomeness,m and fun.


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Mercule

Adventurer
Technically, this still exists in 5e - they just don't use the term "bloodied" in the PHB. It's in the "Describing the Effects of Damage" sidebar on page 197 of the PHB.
Interesting. Now, the question is: Did I read that and just decide to apply the term "bloodied" or did I actually ignore/forget it because I already knew what I was planning to do? (Or, did I just skim that section?)
 

dave2008

Adventurer
How does one dodge out of the way of a Fireball if one is in the dead center point of it?
We typically describe it as "turtling" - quickly covering up/shielding your easily burned bits.

Do all magical spells have little gaps in them for PCs to hide in?
Probably

That's a narrative attempt to explain why the mechanics work the way they do. Just as good of a narrative explanation would be willpower or favor of the gods or a variety of other things.
That is fine for some effects, but not as good for a DEX save of a fireball. Divine favor might work, but it gets old really quickly if that is your go to explanation. I don't think we should be constrained by the mechanics to tell our story, but when they are there, they sure can help to tell the story. With the fireball: You could say divine favor shields you partially from the blast, but since it is a DEX save, it seems to me the game is suggesting that something physically is happening. This gives the DM/the player the opportunity to describe the character as doing something to protect them selves. I generally find that players prefer their characters do something awesome than have them saved simply by luck/divine favor, etc.

This is a fine example of what I am attempting to point out here. PCs should not necessarily know about different game mechanics and narrative explanations should not necessarily inform players as to which game mechanic is responsible for a given result.
The highlighted bit seems to suggest you think that this is how the game is intended or "should" be played, and that it is wrong to play it differently. I think you would agree (based on your previous posts in this thread) that this is not the case. This is how you see the game, but it is perfectly fine to play it differently - correct?
 

CydKnight

Explorer
Yes I do. Like others I typically state something like your attack on the creature did not seem to have the effect you would expect.
 

Miladoon

Villager
I guess you could remove resistance and double hit points if you didn't care to translate to the narrative. You might have an objection from metagame. But we all know the guys in that department are crazy.B-)
 

KarinsDad

Villager
If the expectation of your simulationist game is that your players shouldn't know the amount of hit points a given monster has, how or why, pray tell, would they suspect anything from 3 solid hits not bloodying a foe?

Do you normally custom tailor your encounters so that monsters are bloodied within 3 solid blows?

If you present them with a creature that doesn't have resistance but just has high hit points and can survive more than 3 solid hits, do they just randomly start changing tactics and damage types assuming resistance? Seems silly and sorta noobish for experienced veteran adventurers.
My players do not necessarily think that. It was an example.

Experienced veteran adventurers, or experienced veteran players?

In our game on Saturday, the enemy leader was about 80 feet away from my PC (the closest) in a semi-dismal cavern. He cast a spell and got away. In our game, any distance over 30 feet requires a perception check to see if you can observe well enough any spell casting. If you do, you get an Arcana check to see if you know exactly what spell is cast. If you don't, you can often see that a foe is casting, but cannot make out the exact words/gestures. My PC missed the perception check by a lot, so the DM vaguely described the situation as the foe cast a spell and then walked into the wall.

Based on the spells that the foe had cast earlier, I as a player knew that the foe had cast a Meld Into Stone spell. But my PC did not know that. So on my turn, my PC rushed over there saying "He went through a secret door".


The point of the story is that players play based on the information that a DM gives them. If a DM just hands out 100% accurate resistance mechanics info every single time as opposed to possible having a knowledge check or a perception check, or possibly even a totally different set of information that leads players to a totally erroneous conclusion, then the players will play the game with the same accurate correct tactics as opposed to sometimes doing something else.

If you always know that the foe is resistant to normal weapons every single time that you first hit a foe with that feature, where is the mystery?

Does not seem fun at all. Telling immersive stories. Narrating awesome fights. Trying to over analyze the game or treat it like a simulation, man, that's just too much emphasis on the minutiae and loses sight of the bigger picture which is stories, awesomeness,m and fun.
You seem to be under the impression that it is one or the other.
 

KarinsDad

Villager
We typically describe it as "turtling" - quickly covering up/shielding your easily burned bits.
Wouldn't even fire resistant creatures turtle?

The highlighted bit seems to suggest you think that this is how the game is intended or "should" be played, and that it is wrong to play it differently. I think you would agree (based on your previous posts in this thread) that this is not the case. This is how you see the game, but it is perfectly fine to play it differently - correct?
Of course. There is no one way to enjoy the game. But, I do not think that PCs should know anything about the mechanics, just about cause and effect in the game world.

It just seems extremely repetitive to explain the fireball as "jumped out of the way" or "turtled successfully" every single time. It seems like there is no mystery in the game if the players always know that it is 100% obvious from the first hit that a foe is resistant to physical damage.

It's a fricking Giant Crab. How often has your PCs fought against a Giant Crab? Why does the Fighter running up and hitting once give the Fighter any more information than it has a hard exoskeleton? The Fighter shouldn't know the difference between a hard exoskeleton that mechanically gives a high AC and one that gives resistance. Maybe after 5 or so rounds of fighting it, a pattern emerges. But I am suggesting that just flat out autotelling the players (either narratively or directly) doesn't allow for mystery. It flat out tells the players what tactics do or do not work best.


Just because you have or have not played the game this same way for 30 years doesn't mean that their aren't new ways to play that might not be as explicitly obvious to the players as to what is going on.
 
I do describe results of attack, players learn the effects of the weapons/spells that they are familiar with and can compare the usual results for the dice roll that they see and given description. Sometimes they make mistakes in reading this, but ... why wouldn't the characters do that too?
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Wouldn't even fire resistant creatures turtle?
They could. I don't want to assume, so, what is your point? The question was how do you see a DEX save be applied to a creature in the center of a fireball. A creature's fire resistance doesn't change that to me. Ok, I lied, I assume you are asking: "if a fire resistant creatures protects itself from a fireball (saving throw) how would the characters know it was a fire resistant creature." Well:

1) A fire resistant creature might not turtle. Its over confidence, but still clearly taking damage could signal resistance
2) A fire resistant creature might be confident in its resistance and be less likely / quick to turtle (failed save), but still take less damage than expected, thus signalling its resistance
3) A fire resistant creature might turtle (successful save) and take all most no damage, hinting a resistance
4) A fire resistant creature might turtle and succeed or fail on the save and the damage provides no evidence to the PCs about its resistance.

I think #4 is a viable option, but I wouldn't limit myself to just that explanation. The are lot of possibilities that the PCs could see in game that would clue them in.


Of course. There is no one way to enjoy the game. But, I do not think that PCs should know anything about the mechanics, just about cause and effect in the game world.
I agree, but the game mechanics provided a suggestion about how to express cause and effect in the game world.

It just seems extremely repetitive to explain the fireball as "jumped out of the way" or "turtled successfully" every single time. It seems like there is no mystery in the game if the players always know that it is 100% obvious from the first hit that a foe is resistant to physical damage.
Agreed, I personally am not advocating doing anything the same way every time.


It's a fricking Giant Crab. How often has your PCs fought against a Giant Crab? Why does the Fighter running up and hitting once give the Fighter any more information than it has a hard exoskeleton? The Fighter shouldn't know the difference between a hard exoskeleton that mechanically gives a high AC and one that gives resistance. Maybe after 5 or so rounds of fighting it, a pattern emerges. But I am suggesting that just flat out autotelling the players (either narratively or directly) doesn't allow for mystery. It flat out tells the players what tactics do or do not work best.
Personally I think this is a bad example. To me, if a monster has DR than it is the mechanics suggesting to the DM that it should appear differently. Otherwise, just give it a higher AC. These shouldn't look the same or be described the same IMO. They can be, but then, to me, you are ignoring the suggestion of the mechanics. Ignoring an opportunity to tell something different. You can describe a difference between a higher AC and DR, and that can be interesting. You can also ignore the difference, but I don't see how that is more interesting.


Just because you have or have not played the game this same way for 30 years doesn't mean that their aren't new ways to play that might not be as explicitly obvious to the players as to what is going on.
Most people have advocated providing hints. A hint is not supposed to be explicitly obvious. There are, of course, degrees of clarity when it comes to hints.
 
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Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Hit points are an abstraction. Or, at least that is what many people here on the forums have been saying for over a decade. Some have called it luck, skill, grit, willpower, actual wounds, a bit of all of these.

But when damage resistance comes into play, every narrative example talks solely about wounds. Nobody talks about how lucky the animated statue was to only be chipped by the sword.

I wonder why that is. :lol:
I've never met a DM who in-game describes the results of wounds to foes that way.

If you tell me that the player roles a hit and the DM describes it as "the dragon dodges out of the way of your arrows but is breathing heavier, seems a bit winded" or other luck/fatigue/wit damage description, then I can see how you could give less information to the characters about what they are perceiving.

I know if I said that to my players they would take it as the dragon having some sort of limited-use dodge ability (much like the Shield spell but with a different special effect).

As a side note, that's a rather dramatic shift from what you were writing about in the post I responded to.
 

Satyrn

Villager
Most people have advocated providing hints. A hint is not supposed to be explicitly obvious. There are, of course, degrees of clarity when it comes to hints.
Meanwhile, on the completely opposite end of this spectrum from [MENTION=2011]KarinsDad[/MENTION], I would rather make the game mechanics in play completely obvious.

I've grown tired of regularly reinventing narrative descriptions for commonly-used mechanics like Resistance , and so I've "downloaded" the work to the players by telling them "This monster's resistant to that attack" and leaving them to imagine the narrative details as they wish.

I do that as a DM because as a player I've grown to prefer just being told the mechanics, too. I like playing this game as a game. And we're not all great communicators. I don't know about the rest of y'all, but it's a common experience at my table that, after the DM has described a room (or contraption, or NPC) half of us are left scratching our heads in confusion while another player understood most of it, except for this other bit that the other player grokked - and still there's that list bit of info we all just forget immediately.

I find that stripping the mundane things down into game terms improves the narrative and description of things that aren't readily expressed that way.

On my battlemats, when I draw them out 4e style, I like to label slopes and walls with the base climbing DC. My players can decide just as well as me what their characters see when they look at a DC 5 slope compared to a DC 10 slope.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
If that's the case, I'd say it's the DM's job to give the players a way to tell the difference. Even it it's only saying "that didn't seem do as much damage as it should have". The players know how much damage they rolled for their attack, after all.
No, it's not necessarily the DM's job to do that. That's a play style assumption on your part.
Again, 5e PHB, page 4. Whole section on the DM describes the results of the adventurers' actions.

It's not play style, it's it literally a cornerstone of RPGs that the DM/GM/storyteller/whatever describes the results of what happens. Leaving out to the players details the characters should observe is just as much a no-no as a player failing to record damage the DM gives out.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I will imply it, but in such a way that it could either be a creature with resistance or a creature with a lot more HP than the damage represented. One trick I sometimes use is how the creature reacts to the attack, with them not attempting to avoid resistance damage as much (since it hurts less). Once a fire sorcerer hit a resistance creature, but was able to ignore the resistance. The creature acted surprised, since it usually didn't worry about it, and this confused the players until they figured it out (when another player dealt fire damage).
Question: Say a creature has resistance to piercing weapons. A group of adventurers who have been fighting together for a while attack a group of creatures. The barbarian hit with one with her axe twice and kills it. The warlock hits one with his eldritch blast and does what they expect, dropping to to less than half. The ranger shoots another with an arrow and does half damage because of the resistance. At that point the group has seen how hard it is it damage and kill these, would you describe that they felt their arrows weren't have a large effect?
 

jasper

Rotten DM
As a DM, do you hint that an attack doesn't do full damage against a creature with damage resistance?

I have been, but they discussed it on the Cannon Fodder podcast (Glass Cannon podcast after show), and now I'm second guessing.
No no no no no
I flat out say damage resistance to x damage after that goes on the monster.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
My players might know what resistance is but the characters don't understand the combat mechanical term and usage. It becomes as abstract as hit points.

Most of my encounters have DMG crafted monstrosities. They all have resistance. B-)
I completely agree that the characters do not understand the mechanics. But they should be able to observe the effects. If an axe blow wounds, a equally powerful cold blast really hurts it (vulnerability), and a powerful blast of acid barely hurts it (resistance), wouldn't the characters see the results of that, especially in comparison to the other attacks?
 

Coroc

Explorer
I try to describe it with narrative, and no it is not unfair, since I also know the HP and resistances of my players. And yes, there is a difference between HP and resistances:

Your sword does not penetrate the mobs hide as well as you would expect, although your mage comrade with his magic missile makes it scream in pain every time he hits,

is different than

You both dish out a lot but gigantus colossus seems barely scratched.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
How does one dodge out of the way of a Fireball if one is in the dead center point of it?
Dodged, or blocked with a shield, or curled into a ball to hide vulnerable areas, or whatever. Regardless, it involves movement that mitigates the damage dealt. The same with a rogue using Uncanny Dodge, or similar things.

That's a narrative attempt to explain why the mechanics work the way they do. Just as good of a narrative explanation would be willpower or favor of the gods or a variety of other things. This is a fine example of what I am attempting to point out here. PCs should not necessarily know about different game mechanics and narrative explanations should not necessarily inform players as to which game mechanic is responsible for a given result.
Dexterity saves, in particular, should always involve movement of some sort. That's why they're Dex-based, and that's why you automatically fail them when stunned, paralyzed, or unconscious.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
True.

On the other hand, a foe might not take much damage from a Fireball due to having a high Dex save bonus, or due to having Fire Resistance. Should the PCs necessarily know why the foe doesn't take much damage? Should player knowledge drill down to those mechanics level of details?
Did the character see it dodge out of the way of the worst of the fire (high Dex save) or did it see it take it on the chin and emerge basically unscathed (fire resistance). Please stop trying to apply hit points (which don't exist in the narrative) as a justification to not describe what the characters observe.

Does the NPC have a huge knowledge in Arcana, or does the NPC have a high Int? Does the DM give a hint after a few sentence conversation, or after multiple interactions with the NPC?
Never had a technical discussion with an expert in a field, have you? They know specific names for things, can bring up formulas, talk from experience doing things. Someone who is smart may see connections, show a better intuitive understanding, recognize a pattern that the trained but average intelligence person didn't, but that doesn't mean that they'll use the word pharmacokinetic when describing poison symptoms but would notice other clues to figure out they ingested a poison.

In the end both of them have the same chance to succeed - same modifier, but different ways to get there.

So thank you for the great example I could use to show how the same numbers, just like the same percentage of damage done, are described differently to the characters. You really brought home my point.
 

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