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

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

I'm sure there's some of that. But I don't think there is enough of it to invalidate the observations.

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.

I'm not going to mention kobolds and skeletons and other things that were moderately scary in small numbers at first level but are only a challenge in the dozens fairly soon. I don't mind that part so much. I also didn't list a lot of beasts, like giant scorpion, or monsters that tend to work behind the scenes, like hags. I'll give some examples of monsters that seem like they should be scary as loners (maybe with a couple of weaker pets or so), as something you could run into and find a dangerous challenge. I also tried to stick to more classic examples rather than putting in everything that might fit the bill mechanically.

By level 2, these critters aren't scary:
-Giant Spider
-Ogre
-Wererat
-Werewolf
Level 3:
-Carrion Crawler
-Gelatinous Cube
-Displacer Beast
-Manticore
-Minotaur
-Owlbear
-Phase Spider
-Wight
Level 4:
-Banshee
-Ettin
-Ghost
-Helmed Horror
-Succubus/Incubus
Level 5: At this point pretty much anything less than CR 8 or higher can be destroyed by a party.

Again, those are few of the loner encounter examples that stand out the most. If you add in something like, "a dozen kobolds/goblins", or "a few bugbears" you can fill in more classic threats that go away.
 

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Oofta

Legend
There is, but I’m afraid you are the one with the spectacles on, my friend. 😀

An AD&D Werewolf had 4HD +3 Hit points, and you needed a silver or +1 weapon to hit it

Neither of which, one typically had at first level.

In AD&D the Werewolf wins.

If your DM was a generous, horn of plenty sort of referee, than a Werewolf may have been low level fodder, but for those with parsimonious DMs, the bay of a Werewolf,
( and no or only one silver dagger in the whole party), meant you have to get creative, or run.
Lycanthropes are still immune to non-magical weapons that are not silvered in 5E.

If you really want to challenge the players, just throw gargoyles, the weapons have to be magical.

It is a little different now with casters having cantrips but not much.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Nobody needs to fight the giant rats in the tavern cellar

But early levels are best run as Scooby mysteries than fights - the werewolf isnt going to be a hard challenge to fight but perhaps the challenge is going into the village and trying to identfy just who the werewolf is. Then theres the issue of who is protecting the werewolf
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I'm going from memory here but I seem to remember in 3.5: magic, silver, adamantine, cold iron, holy(?). Ideally in both edged and bludgeoning variations.

I found it annoying and I had a house rule that said that a +2 weapon covered pretty much everything in my home campaign. But it was annoying to have to have multiple weapons for the monster of the week in LG.





I can see needing a special weapon or tactic every once in a blue moon to make a specific legendary monster special. But when it's every fourth monster I found it annoying. As far as "forcing players" to do anything ... well that's just not my style.

But that's just my opinion. It didn't add anything to the game for me, it was just extra paperwork.
The important ones were BPS & silver.

adamantine was pretty much stone/iron golem & similar, it meant that you needed to hit it like a truck (ie crit fishers, certain rogues who could backstab constructs, power attack, & things like the stuff described in this thread that melee types optimized for)*. If you didn't have the ability to hit like a truck or bypass dr then you were doing nothing & to be honest that was a big part of the threat behind those creatures rather than just having over nine thousand hp.

With that said though... this is the important reason adamantine weapons were desired
1583436829432.png


Cold iron was for fey but they were not the normal sort of thing you need to fight & you've probably done something wrong if you pissed off the few & mostly low CR fey in the MM or cared about the DR they had. It meant they could mostly ignore you & be whimsy at low levels. If your campaign was big on killing fey then you probably should find a cold iron weapon.. if it's not you probably don't need one.


Holy was more than you make it out to be
1583437109858.png

good aligned weapons were mainly needed for powerful fiends & similar. Holy was the +2d6 version of this
or using one of these
1583437941739.png

1583437803399.png


Of course powerful demons also had similar hit like a truck & see what I said about doing so+linked above in adamantine if you don't have something to bypass dr, which is what made them hard rather than just a four zillion hp slog without tools to nerf them & bypass their dr because rather than just throwing you for a loop you were fighting them very often.
That was the reason eberron introduced

1583437214087.png

and
1583437289706.png

daelkyr are basically a vaguely defined & inclusive catchall for aberrations which made sense given that ECS was published after he various monster manuals.
*5e still has feats for things like that like power attack & charger, just some of them (ie charger) are pretty useless because they conflict with the action economy & the situations they used to be made for no longer exist hitting anything for half of x+stat for 3 attacks in a row over is less than hitting it for half of 3x+stat in one attack & the big hit has worse odds to boot.
 
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Doug McCrae

Legend
I liked the older method because it forced the party to rethink strategies, utilize weapons that might be normally less favorable ("oh, I need to use this silver dagger instead of my +3 flaming greataxe"), etc. It added mystery and a level of uniqueness that is often missing from creatures these days.
It should be noted that lack of mystery has been a perennial problem in D&D since the early days.

OD&D Supplement III, Eldritch Wizardry (1976):

As originally conceived, D & D was limited in scope only by the imagination and devotion of Dungeon Masters everywhere. The supplements have fulfilled the need for fresh ideas and additional stimulation. But somewhere along the line, D & D lost some of its flavor, and began to become predictable. This came about as a result of the proliferation of rule sets; while this was great for us as a company, it was tough on the DM. When all the players had all of the rules in front of them, it became next to impossible to beguile them into danger or mischief.​

Dragon #10, "Random Monsters" (1977):

One of the problems with D&D is that the players always know too much. This is news?
"You obtain surprise over three Clickclicks."
"Clickclicks? Oh, yeah, they’re in Supplement Three. Hand it to me. And where’s Greyhawk? It had a note about them." A pause. "We shout out 'November'."
"That’s right, the Clickclicks fall over dead."
Sound familiar?​

Dragon #52, "The best DMs will look further than the book" (1981):

When the DMG came out, all the DMs I know were overjoyed! (I bought one of the first copies available in Colorado Springs.) The final answer to most of our problems had arrived! Imagine my complete happiness to find, not only those answers, but also new magical items — even a couple of monsters that my group was not familiar with! Unfortunately, some of the players also bought the DMG, reviving the same problem I had before. Something had to be done! It had gotten to the point where, no matter what they encountered, they had all the answers. All the magical items were totally familiar to them — even though I had never included some of them in my treasures.​
 

Lycanthropes are still immune to non-magical weapons that are not silvered in 5E.

It is a little different now with casters having cantrips but not much.

Does this mean we are in agreement that no 1st level party will kill one in AD&D nor 5e?

Having cantrips means spells like Magic Weapon are more likely to be prepared.

CR 3 for a Werewolf feels right to me, one Werewolf is scary for ill equipped groups and parties 3rd level and under, scary in numbers past that.
 

Hussar

Legend
There is, but I’m afraid you are the one with the spectacles on, my friend. 😀

An AD&D Werewolf had 4HD +3 Hit points, and you needed a silver or +1 weapon to hit it

Neither of which, one typically had at first level.

In AD&D the Werewolf wins.

If your DM was a generous, horn of plenty sort of referee, than a Werewolf may have been low level fodder, but for those with parsimonious DMs, the bay of a Werewolf,
( and no or only one silver dagger in the whole party), meant you have to get creative, or run.

True, but, even a 1st level party had torches. And fire still kills werewolves. Burning oil was a bonus too. Combine that with a group size of about 6-8 characters typically, and a lone werewolf was not much of a challenge.
 

Oofta

Legend
Does this mean we are in agreement that no 1st level party will kill one in AD&D nor 5e?

Having cantrips means spells like Magic Weapon are more likely to be prepared.

CR 3 for a Werewolf feels right to me, one Werewolf is scary for ill equipped groups and parties 3rd level and under, scary in numbers past that.

It's difficult for a 1st level party to kill a lycanthrope (or gargoyle or a few other monsters). Not impossible, but not certainly not recommended!
 

Agreed that Burning Oil was the 1e panacea, if not needing torches was viable.

My DM got so sick of PC groups with just Infravision constantly burning things to death, that he would make really critical things only discernable in color or normal light.

If the True Exit out of the Dungeon of Death is marked by a red door, and your Infravision party used all the oil...damn that sucks 😁
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
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.

I'm not talking about making up new mechanics. In my example, the purpose of specifying "narrow passages" was so the Goblins could physically block the PCs. But there are plenty of other possible examples. In a town, for example those 8 Goblins might fan out with lit torches to ignite the thatched roofs of the nearby buildings. Sure, killing them all might only take 2-3 rounds, but it forces the PCs to choose between stopping and taking that time (plus any time necessary for firefighting) or letting the town burn.

In any case, the individual examples aren't terribly important. My point is that monsters can threaten the PCs' goals long after they stop being a lethal threat in combat. Many of the roles for monsters in previous editions didn't depend on being a lethal threat to the PCs, so those roles are still possible even with a reduced threat level.
 

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