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

jgsugden

Legend
D&D is an RPG. A Role Playing Game. Characters play a role in a story. Generally speaking, the better the story, the better the game. I've told a lot of 'low level' stories... exploration, investigation, guarding. I find that if I try to come up with a good story and build the adventure around it, it works much better than just dropping monsters into a dungeon.

You can tell a compelling werewolf story using the core rules in 5E. For example, as a single session adveture for 3rd level PCs, the PCs are approached by a woodsman and his pet wolf at an inn along a trade route. He needs to hire some adventurers to rescue his son who was captured by gnolls (or so he claims). In truth, his wolf and he are werewolves. The plan to lure the PCs deep into the woods and into their trap filled lair. Along the way the wolf will nip as many PCs as possibe and the man will attempt to pilfer any holy symbols, focuses, etc... that allow spellcasting - as well as steal any magic weapons or silver weapons (making it seem like they were pilfered while they slept by some 3rd party robbers). To throw PCs off the scent of lycanthropy, he'll nick the 'wolf' with a silvered shiv he made out of melted coins to show it bleeding from a natural wound.

They'll aim to have the group enter their trap filled lair on the first night of the full moon and will try to set off the traps in a way that hurts the PCs, makes it look like the man has been killed, and isolates the PCs from each other. Then, when any potentially infected PCs should turn on the full moon, they'll launch a surprise attack and try to turn any remaining spellcasters into werewolves before killing any of the martial PCs that they believe will be unable to hurt them.

Unless your PCs are murder hobos or pick up on the werewolves intentions and decide not to go with him, that is a solid 4 hour adventure that can be filled with hooks (Are PCs infected at the end? What else is in the lair?) for more adventures.
 

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Retreater

Legend
The threats that we used to fear have been seriously mitigated In comparison to their previous editions: Lycanthropy, Mummy Rot, Level Drain, Rust Monsters, just to name a few. Monsters' immunity has been replaced in many cases with resistances, so it's just a matter of doing less HP damage, but it doesn't really have the same effect - it merely drags out an easy combat.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
What I do in my games is I use the ''npc'' monsters and add races or templates abilities to them. There's even a nice block on what to give PC or other creature who went lycantropes: take those and apply them to the CR 12 Warlord or the Veteran, the Berserker or whatever. Boom, you now have a Werewolf Packlord!

In the DMG, you have monster and npc features tables to tell you what to add should you want a troglodyte archmage or a kuo-toa death knight!

To replicate old-school magic resistance, just take the rakshasa partial spell immunity. If you want your golem to be immune to specific damage from lesser weapons, just say they do, and call them Improved Clay Golems or whatever.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
The threats that we used to fear have been seriously mitigated In comparison to their previous editions: Lycanthropy, Mummy Rot, Level Drain, Rust Monsters, just to name a few. Monsters' immunity has been replaced in many cases with resistances, so it's just a matter of doing less HP damage, but it doesn't really have the same effect - it merely drags out an easy combat.

Add cantrips to that. It used to be that dealing fire or acid damage took spell slots or things like torches as weapons... now in 5e it's almost the norm to have multiple pcs doing it every round. I've thrown out regenerating monsters that literally never regen even once before death in 5e
 
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Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Add cantrips to that. It used to be that dealing fire or acid damage took spell slots or things like torches as weapons... now in 5e it's almost the norm to have multiple pcs doing it every round. I've thrown out regenerating monsters that literally never raged even once before death in 5e

For your everyday trolls and such I dont really mind. If its a troll I want to hold a little longer for X reasons, I give the one of those trait (I do it in my mind, but you may want to write it down beforehand to avoid your players calling bull***t if they are that kind of players. I know I had some in other groups.)

Regeration: The troll regain X hp at the start of its turn. If the troll takes more than 12 fire or acid damage, the regeneraton doesnt work on that turn. (Blocking regen needs higher level cantrips or slot spells.)

Burning Fumes: If the troll is hit with fire or acid while it is below is maximum hp, the fumes emanating from its boiling blood requires each creatures within 10 ft of the troll to make a DC X Con save or be poisoned for 1 minutes. While poisoned in this way, creatures take 1d4 acid damage at the start of their turn and cant regain hp.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
For your everyday trolls and such I dont really mind. If its a troll I want to hold a little longer for X reasons, I give the one of those trait (I do it in my mind, but you may want to write it down beforehand to avoid your players calling bull***t if they are that kind of players. I know I had some in other groups.)

Regeration: The troll regain X hp at the start of its turn. If the troll takes more than 12 fire or acid damage, the regeneraton doesnt work on that turn. (Blocking regen needs higher level cantrips or slot spells.)

Burning Fumes: If the troll is hit with fire or acid while it is below is maximum hp, the fumes emanating from its boiling blood requires each creatures within 10 ft of the troll to make a DC X Con save or be poisoned for 1 minutes. While poisoned in this way, creatures take 1d4 acid damage at the start of their turn and cant regain hp.
Yea my next game will probably just declare that cantrips are not magical enough for resistance and regen. When everything bypasses them they don't matter
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Yea my next game will probably just declare that cantrips are not magical enough for resistance and regen. When everything bypasses them they don't matter
yup, that would work too :)

Maybe all cantrip but chill touch? I mean, blocking regen is more or less what it does. Or maybe the creature must be a CR lower than the caster's level for it to work.
 

I know there are people that like to start out at level 3, when people pick their subclasses.

For me, I don't think anything good comes from an advanced start. For a one-off, sure, but for long-term character development, you lose something by not having those formative experiences for your PC.

Plus, a lot of those early monsters are icons of D&D. The rattle of skeletons rising to defend their tomb, the trapped warrens of crafty kobolds, the brutality of an orc (maybe or maybe not guarding a pie).
 

The werewolf has never been a great threat to the PCs but are for the common folk in most settings. Tossing a werewolf at a party isn't a challenge as much as preventing the werewolf from wiping out a village and potentially spreading the curse.
Discovering who is the werewolf is the low level challenge more so than fighting it.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
AD&D worked because there wasn't really any encounter structure guide, so you could throw a very powerful solo monster against the party
I don't agree that there's no encounter structure guide in AD&D. All monsters, whether encountered in a dungeon or wilderness, have a "number appearing" entry. The more powerful monsters, such as dragons, are only found in the deeper dungeon levels or the less inhabited regions. Admittedly even the wilderness encounters in "inhabited and/or patrolled areas" are absolutely murderous - 30-300 orcs, 2-20 ogres - but that doesn't mean there's no encounter structure guide, just that your guide is off his face on pipeweed.

The idea I think, going by OD&D, is that more powerful encounters that 'broke the rules' of dungeon level, such as a dozen very old red dragons on level 1, were placed in fixed locations. They weren't random encounters, so the PCs could always avoid the encounter by avoiding the location. OD&D Book 3 The Underground & Wilderness Adventures:

The determination of just where monsters should be placed, and whether or not they will be guarding treasure, and how much of the latter if they are guarding something, can become burdensome when faced with several levels to do at one time. It is a good idea to thoughtfully place several of the most important treasures, with or without monstrous guardians, and then switch to a random determination for the balance of the level.​
 
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