D&D 5E Do you mind not experiencing traditional lower level challenges?

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Monsters don't need to be able to threaten your life to be a challenge. All they need to do is threaten your goals.

For example, 8 goblins who interrupt a chase through narrow passages to try to delay you may not be a lethal threat, but it can still be challenging to defeat them fast enough to not lose ground on your quarry. If those Goblins take the Dodge action and make smart use of full cover, killing them quickly might actually be difficult, even for a mid-level party.
That might work well in a game like fate where everything is getting hit because there's an "8 goblins harrying you" scene aspect, unless they are physically blocking you from progressing they aren't really doing anything mechanically to impede your goals with 7 hp & 15 ac... a party of 4 can probably kill them in 2-3 rounds while moving their full speed.

Lets be honest though & admit before anyone goes there.... the thread is talking about how old iconic monsters no longer fit the roles they once were able to fill. Making up some new/interesting swarm mechanics for a custom swarm monster doesn't change that.
 

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Quickleaf

Legend
That might work well in a game like fate where everything is getting hit because there's an "8 goblins harrying you" scene aspect, unless they are physically blocking you from progressing they aren't really doing anything mechanically to impede your goals with 7 hp & 15 ac... a party of 4 can probably kill them in 2-3 rounds while moving their full speed.

Lets be honest though & admit before anyone goes there.... the thread is talking about how old iconic monsters no longer fit the roles they once were able to fill. Making up some new/interesting swarm mechanics for a custom swarm monster doesn't change that.
My experience with goblins is that with Nimble Escape they're actually even better at fulfilling their original role of being devious and shifty ambushers than back in AD&D.

Speaking from experience in my last campaign, I used 11 goblins to surprise and harry a worn 10th-level party to great effect, to the point that rather than leave the mines (which they'd sought cover in) to face the goblins again, they chose to follow underground tunnels rife with ghoul tracks.
 


What about the party level element? I mean, sure, you can rebuild the monsters, but the higher the level you start play at, the more you have to do that, and the lower the level the less you have to do that. It seems like the best method of having those experiences in the first place is to spend more than a session at levels 1-2 where you can actually sort of have them with 5e monsters.

So do people not want to play those levels because they have no interest in those experiences, or do they start at higher level and then buff the monsters (even more than you might already find useful if you started at lower levels) in order to have those experiences anyway?

Sometimes reading some threads I feel like people look at PC level in isolation from the rest of the campaign, while in reality it drastically affects what sorts of adventures you can have. Everyone knows this when it comes to high levels, but in 5e every single one of the first few levels you gain effectively eliminates certain types of adventures or adversaries unless you're going to artificially enhance them. Enhanced versions, such as a greater werewolf are cool, but having one of those be your first werewolf experience means you don't get the experience of being scared of a standard werewolf at 1st level, and then becoming powerful enough to take out a pack of them without working up a sweat later on. If you don't meet your first ogre until you're level 3, you'll have to buff it up to CR 6 for it be something threatening.

It seems to me that having each of the first two levels only last a session, is a great way to make sure you can't effectively have basic D&D experiences with the game.
 

I agree. I've found all the encounter guidelines since 3E to be unsatisfying and easily manipulated.
And prior to 3E they got round that issue by not printing any.

The thing is, it simply isn't possible to write accurate "challenge levels" because there are too many variables: number of PCs, skill of PCs, party synergy, DM skill, if the DM role plays the enemies' actions or goes all out to "win", metagaming, character builds, rest status, how the party abilities interact with the monster abilities, terrain factors, luck...
 

ccs

41st lv DM
Sometimes reading some threads I feel like people look at PC level in isolation from the rest of the campaign, while in reality it drastically affects what sorts of adventures you can have.

If you mean that as the PCs gain lvs that more options open up, then sure, I agree with you.

Everyone knows this when it comes to high levels, but in 5e every single one of the first few levels you gain effectively eliminates certain types of adventures or adversaries unless you're going to artificially enhance them.

This has not been my experience.
Why don't you make me a list of what each lv eliminates? That way I can figure out where I've gone wrong.
Lv.2
Lv.3
Lv.4
Lv.5
etc.
 

S'mon

Legend
It seems to me that having each of the first two levels only last a session, is a great way to make sure you can't effectively have basic D&D experiences with the game.

Yeah. I think for future 5e campaigns I'll use a flat progression rate at all levels, either 2-3 sessions for regular fast 'adventure path' advancement, or 3-5 sessions for more traditional sandboxing type games.

I use a reduced XP system where it's 20 XP to level and a minor challenge gets 1 XP, that gives 2-3 sessions/level with an average award around 8 XP/session. If I went to average 5 XP/session that'd give a more traditional progression rate.
 


Hussar

Legend
See, again, it really depends on experience. A single werewolf was never scary. Even a first level AD&D party could kill it in a round or two. Torches did d4 or d6 damage as I recall. And, again, we're talking a critter with 20 HP.

I honestly believe there's a bit of nostalgia glasses going on here.
 

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