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D&D 5E FeeFiFoFum *splat* goes the giants

Lyxen

Great Old One
start here and enter here are not really different, so no I wont be going back to look for maps that are labled or not.

And you will find neither on most maps for D&D. Since you have such a large experience, you should be able to remember some ?

and forget "my experience' "your experience" do you REALLY believe that if you asked right now in a 4e thread that 1/2 the people who like 4e would say that is there experience? how about 1/3? 10% maybe? less then 5%? and no I am not asking you to do it... I am asking what you believe (Purely your thoughts). or, do you think that the 4e fan base would be no more or less likely to have this experience then any other edition? The important part here can be tricky because I said people who like (aka fans) because an argument can be made that people that had your experience did not like the game and people who had mine did.

I have no idea and I absolutely don't care. Once more, I have seen it enough times - Including a full campaign that I played levels 1 to 20 - to know that was a thing for some people.

However before declaiming it a "Combat Game" think about it this way... every edition (at least since 1993 when I started playing) has had more rules for combat then any other part of the game.

Oh, yes, that (in)famous fallacy. Has it occured to you that first, it's not true because some editions had actually lists of spells, both for combat and out of combat, take more space than combat rules (whereas, I agree, in 4e there are no spells (in the usual sense), only powers and these are all combat oriented).

And yes, combat is complex and requires more space to describe. However, I'm sure that you also will find lots of people explaining to you that combat is infrequent in their games, and that they have many evenings of play without one combat, which you can do with most editions but is harder with 4e because powers are only for combat both in their description and their availability / application.

On the other hand, 4e is the only edition in which I remember publications dedicated only to combat with nothing else in there, e.g. Dungeon Delve. Not a hint of roleplay or story here, just descend into the dungeon and hack some monsters. Even the very first adventures published in Basic and AD&D had more roleplaying than this. And I'm not speaking about a style of play, I'm speaking about a published hardcover book.

Again, it's fine playing that way, what is less fine is denying the reality of the design and the play that resulted. Never before or after have I seen sessions dedicated to simply fighting, tactically, on a grid.
 

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HammerMan

Explorer
In a sense, it's already there, possibly not with the level of detail or the specific orientation that you want, but remember that for me, more is not necessarily better. It's really hard to touch on so many concepts without making the whole book hard to read for newbies, whereas experienced gamers can certainly find a lot of information in their memories or how to integrate knowledge from outside sources like the web...
while i think we found one thing to agree on... writing up both an informative and helpful set of tools is hard. Especially when you need to write for me who has been playing since 93, the guy who back in college was photo copieing booklits in 74, the girl that started in 2004, and all the people that it will be the first book for, and it needs to help all of them. Again, no one is paying ME (and my guess is you) to write these books. it is also why so many people don't do 3rd party books... not that the 3rd parties are bad (I personally love some) but because you never know what you will get.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
my suggestion is a ground up redesign of what book is what... take epic stuff out for later (like they would ever balance that at start) take 3/4 the magic items out (they are optional anyway) replace that with advice (or a guide) on how to DM.

I just disagree. There's plenty of advice and blogs out there that cover this sort of thing. For some people a blog is the best venue, for others video, for others actual play example. Best to leave this stuff on the web IMHO.
 

HammerMan

Explorer
Oh, yes, that (in)famous fallacy. Has it occured to you that first, it's not true because some editions had actually lists of spells, both for combat and out of combat, take more space than combat rules (whereas, I agree, in 4e there are no spells (in the usual sense), only powers and these are all combat oriented).

And yes, combat is complex and requires more space to describe. However, I'm sure that you also will find lots of people explaining to you that combat is infrequent in their games, and that they have many evenings of play without one combat, which you can do with most editions but is harder with 4e because powers are only for combat both in their description and their availability / application.

On the other hand, 4e is the only edition in which I remember publications dedicated only to combat with nothing else in there, e.g. Dungeon Delve. Not a hint of roleplay or story here, just descend into the dungeon and hack some monsters. Even the very first adventures published in Basic and AD&D had more roleplaying than this. And I'm not speaking about a style of play, I'm speaking about a published hardcover book.

Again, it's fine playing that way, what is less fine is denying the reality of the design and the play that resulted. Never before or after have I seen sessions dedicated to simply fighting, tactically, on a grid.
it is no harder to run 4e without combat then it is 3e, 2e, or 5e (or WOD, or GURPS, or almost any system...I say almost because RIFTs exists). You are letting "I don't like it" shade your ability to be inclusive.


the first time I say tactically fighting on a grid take over was a store game I couldn't stand back in the late 90s. and they called it 3e but it was just a bunch of optional rules from Combat and Tactics, Spells and Powers, and a third book I can't remember right now. 2 players 1 DM and 6 character (aka each playing 3 characters) going through what I would call a board game.

However When I complained one of my friends reminded me in my first game I ran since no one "wanted to be the cleric" we had the guy playing the fighter/thief roll up a cleric as a secondary character... who never spoke, didn't do much other then turn undead and cast spells (mostly healing) so it wasn't really worse.

The worst time I saw it was 3.5 around the time I was looking for a new game (maybe 2ish years before 4e was announced) when I saw multi groups between cons stores, and even a home game I walked away from turn into what I then called 'space counters'

The least war gamey game I have ever played/run in was useing the 4e system to play a Harry Dresden style game in a modern world refluffing things. We advanced from level 7-13 without a single fight that PC were part of.

The worst 4e game I played in was using dungeon delve though... but it wasn't bad because of a lack of RP (I never remember 4e ever lacking for RP) but because the DM was a trash person and drove off one of the players because they didn't think "That type of person" should be in the hobby... and that story is 100% game/system agnostic.... although it is funny he WAS useing dungeon delve and Book of VIle Darkness as his main books.

I would play any edition OTHER then 3e/3.5/PF right now...even though I did play those for years, they are my least favorite. I never say "that edition is only X" or even "That edition is what is wrong" or "That edition is the worst" me not likeing something doesn't make me have to think nothing good came from it...

try to look back and name 3 good things that came form 4e, if you can't maybe you need to admit you are letting your personal prefrence color too much.
 

HammerMan

Explorer
I just disagree. There's plenty of advice and blogs out there that cover this sort of thing. For some people a blog is the best venue, for others video, for others actual play example. Best to leave this stuff on the web IMHO.
I disagree no paper and pencile game should be sold with "Go watch this youtube video" as instructions... the books need to stand alone
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I disagree no paper and pencile game should be sold with "Go watch this youtube video" as instructions... the books need to stand alone
There are plenty of instructions. There could always be more, but the areas that people complain about incessantly (like this topic) are the ones where there is no clear one true way. Sometimes there are simply too many variables and you just have to figure it out.

There is no formula that could work for every table, every scenario every time.
 

Mort

Legend
There are plenty of instructions. There could always be more, but the areas that people complain about incessantly (like this topic) are the ones where there is no clear one true way. Sometimes there are simply too many variables and you just have to figure it out.

There is no formula that could work for every table, every scenario every time.

While that's true, one problem with the 5e books (Certainly the DMG) is the poor indexing and organization. There's a ton of valuable/relevant information in the DMG that doesn't get used/gets used incorrectly because it's not well presented. that COULD use a redesign or at least a repackaging. I think it's relevant here, though may be better as it's own topic.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Right, so some people liked it and some didn't. That's what he said above.

Nothing wrong with Combat as Sport (or Combat as Performance), and it still allows for just as much creative play. It's just a different set of constraints to be creative within.
Oh for sure - I vastly prefer combat as war, but it's not for everyone. But I hadn't realized that 4e forced you to pick one and not the other...
 

Oh for sure - I vastly prefer combat as war, but it's not for everyone. But I hadn't realized that 4e forced you to pick one and not the other...
Yeah, 4e is really built for CaS, to the detriment of other options. It's part of the reason it did poorly overall, or at least poorly compared to expectations. A good chunk of the dnd playerbase discovered it didn't work for their playstyle.

It is really good at CaS play, however, for those that like it.
 

HammerMan

Explorer
Yeah, 4e is really built for CaS, to the detriment of other options. It's part of the reason it did poorly overall, or at least poorly compared to expectations. A good chunk of the dnd playerbase discovered it didn't work for their playstyle.

It is really good at CaS play, however, for those that like it.
how does the false narrative keep going?
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
it is no harder to run 4e without combat then it is 3e, 2e, or 5e (or WOD, or GURPS, or almost any system...

Yes, it is, I've tried. The fact is that 4e powers are all combat orientated, there is nothing in the classes for exploration or social apart from skills. Rituals take too long and too many resources. So yes, it is harder, it was definitely harder for our style of play.

I would play any edition OTHER then 3e/3.5/PF right now...even though I did play those for years, they are my least favorite. I never say "that edition is only X" or even "That edition is what is wrong" or "That edition is the worst" me not likeing something doesn't make me have to think nothing good came from it...

Don't take me wrong, I started loving 3e/PF but now I can't even play the latest PF computer game, full of silly subclasses and modifier that don't mean anything. But I would not play 4e again, I really hate grids and the boardgame aspect, and the restriction to combat powers

try to look back and name 3 good things that came form 4e, if you can't maybe you need to admit you are letting your personal prefrence color too much.

Contrary to what you think, I always say that there were really good things about 4e, and that for a specific type of play (CaS) it is nearly perfect, it's complete, tight, with no loopholes, extremely well done. The idea to get everything balanced and controlled was an interesting one. And the rituals were really a good idea. And some of the classes (Warlord, Swordmage) were extremely well done and very original, I really regret the lack of equivalency in 5e. Apart from this, the setting of the Points of Light was brilliant for starting new campaigns. And, last but not least, the Feywild and the Shadowfell were brilliant ideas.

I do not hate the edition, and I do not even dislike it, it's just that it's probably the one which we found to be the less suited to the type of game that our tables have loved for the last 35 years, mostly narrative and always epic, that's all. And this is why I would not play it again. At my venerable age, I want to play what I like, I don't have time to experiment and try to see if I was wrong with what proved to be not really suitable to our tastes.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
while i think we found one thing to agree on... writing up both an informative and helpful set of tools is hard. Especially when you need to write for me who has been playing since 93, the guy who back in college was photo copieing booklits in 74, the girl that started in 2004, and all the people that it will be the first book for, and it needs to help all of them.

Exactly. And it's for me even harder when you try to make it short enough and interesting enough that it does not discourage players new to the hobby. 5e is not perfect, but the fact that they had such a success with that approach is worthy of respect.
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Some of you may be amused to learn of the next big fight this group encountered... 3 young ramoraz and a big one (both with 2 more AC than baseline).

We did have extra help (a player who was absent last time returned) but... oof :D
 

Mort

Legend
Some of you may be amused to learn of the next big fight this group encountered... 3 young ramoraz and a big one (both with 2 more AC than baseline).

We did have extra help (a player who was absent last time returned) but... oof :D

I'm curious to know the specifics of that fight?

That should have been an extraordinarily difficult encounter for the group. (far harder than 3 hill giants - the immunities alone can be a challenge).
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I'm curious to know the specifics of that fight?

That should have been an extraordinarily difficult encounter for the group. (far harder than 3 hill giants - the immunities alone can be a challenge).
We got to pre-buff a bit. Our sorcerer has an item which allowed him to bless the entire party, and the paladin cast aid, and my fighter (who has chef) gave out a few measly temp hp. The sorcerer won initiative, fireball, hit all of them... does nothing.

The 3 young remoraz has AC 16, the big one AC 18 (not 19, sorry about that). The big one also attacked twice a round. The 3 young one rushed forward due to high initiative, while the big one was last.

The returning player (also level 7) is a Paladin of Glory with a giant slayer 2nd handed sword - you'll note that's not super helpful vs remoraz. He also has a wand with ice powers, and he wasted some time learning it does nothing vs remoraz. He rushed forward to distract the big one and keep it busy.

Particularly painful was when he took a huge hit to protect his horse, and then "cleverly" used the ice wand to create a sleet storm to cover his retreat and slow the remoraz down... but it has tremor sense, so the GM ruled it didn't have disadvantage on the AoO, hit the paladin again, brought him to zero and swallowed him.

We had 2 allies - two awakened trees - but they did not act for 2 rounds, as we learned that they apparently don't help you unless specifically told. They then delayed the big Remoraz for 2 rounds which was clutch, but also very importantly the GM ruled that they punched the big remoraz in the stomach hard enough to make it throw up, thus expulsing the paladin from its stomach. This was the GM going easy on us, because this situation was going to be a guaranteed PC kill otherwise (stomach acid damage = auto failed death saves...). The sorcerer was able weave through the commotion and heal the paladin, which then used lay on hand to get back to near full.

Our monk almost got killed and he resorted to hit and run tactics. Using a +1 whip, con 12... it was rough. I think he managed to land 2 stunning strikes the entire battle.

My fighter was ... fairly effective. Not a ton of damage, but lots of defensive use of his psi power to shield the others and the luck feat to keep himself alive. I know some of you want to know what items he has and the ones that mattered in this fight was +1 studded leather armor and a sun blade - yes, it's a good weapon, but in this situation, it's a + 2 sword.

We managed to kill the 3 small ones, but the big one was still kicking and a lot of our resources were depleted - the paladin was back down to 15 hp. But then more allies showed up and we won the fight. But yes, it was brutal. Without the bless OR the trees we would probably have lost people. In fact, you could say we did because the GM essentially gave the paladin a get out of jail card, because there was no way we could have rescued him.
 


ad_hoc

(he/they)
We got to pre-buff a bit. Our sorcerer has an item which allowed him to bless the entire party, and the paladin cast aid, and my fighter (who has chef) gave out a few measly temp hp. The sorcerer won initiative, fireball, hit all of them... does nothing.

The 3 young remoraz has AC 16, the big one AC 18 (not 19, sorry about that). The big one also attacked twice a round. The 3 young one rushed forward due to high initiative, while the big one was last.

The returning player (also level 7) is a Paladin of Glory with a giant slayer 2nd handed sword - you'll note that's not super helpful vs remoraz. He also has a wand with ice powers, and he wasted some time learning it does nothing vs remoraz. He rushed forward to distract the big one and keep it busy.

Particularly painful was when he took a huge hit to protect his horse, and then "cleverly" used the ice wand to create a sleet storm to cover his retreat and slow the remoraz down... but it has tremor sense, so the GM ruled it didn't have disadvantage on the AoO, hit the paladin again, brought him to zero and swallowed him.

We had 2 allies - two awakened trees - but they did not act for 2 rounds, as we learned that they apparently don't help you unless specifically told. They then delayed the big Remoraz for 2 rounds which was clutch, but also very importantly the GM ruled that they punched the big remoraz in the stomach hard enough to make it throw up, thus expulsing the paladin from its stomach. This was the GM going easy on us, because this situation was going to be a guaranteed PC kill otherwise (stomach acid damage = auto failed death saves...). The sorcerer was able weave through the commotion and heal the paladin, which then used lay on hand to get back to near full.

Our monk almost got killed and he resorted to hit and run tactics. Using a +1 whip, con 12... it was rough. I think he managed to land 2 stunning strikes the entire battle.

My fighter was ... fairly effective. Not a ton of damage, but lots of defensive use of his psi power to shield the others and the luck feat to keep himself alive. I know some of you want to know what items he has and the ones that mattered in this fight was +1 studded leather armor and a sun blade - yes, it's a good weapon, but in this situation, it's a + 2 sword.

We managed to kill the 3 small ones, but the big one was still kicking and a lot of our resources were depleted - the paladin was back down to 15 hp. But then more allies showed up and we won the fight. But yes, it was brutal. Without the bless OR the trees we would probably have lost people. In fact, you could say we did because the GM essentially gave the paladin a get out of jail card, because there was no way we could have rescued him.

This is why specifics and details are important, thanks for providing them this time. A party of 4 or 5 level 7 characters defeated X creatures is far different than what all of this was.

A key thing hidden in here is that the DM was working to make sure the PCs won. If something was going to go badly for the PCs the DM steered clear of it. The stomach punch ruling was an obvious one but they were also probably taking actions that weren't great or coordinated too. Esp. at crucial times. This one complete with allies showing up to ensure the PCs win.

In this way when deadly fights go badly for the PCs the DM has them squeak on by. And when the fight goes the PCs way and they crush people complain the game is too easy. If the DM let the TPKs happen people would say the DM was being bad, not that the deadly fights were actually deadly as intended.
 

Stalker0

Legend
In this way when deadly fights go badly for the PCs the DM has them squeak on by. And when the fight goes the PCs way and they crush people complain the game is too easy. If the DM let the TPKs happen people would say the DM was being bad, not that the deadly fights were actually deadly as intended.
Well for context, as a baseline this fight was 4.2x deadly compared to the hill giants 2.1x. Literally twice the deadliness of the last encounter. Even in my game where my players knock down regular deadlies like nothing would I consider a 4.2x deadly a "real good chance of death" type of fight.

Obviously its clear this party would have suffered deaths or a TPK if not for DM intervention. But what started this thread in the first place wasn't the notion that PCs are invincible, yes it is always possible to kill PCS. The concern was the "degree" of difficulty a group of players seems to be able to face.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Alright, I finally did it, I gave in to the peer pressure.

So here it is, I tried to build a better mousetrap. A more robust encounter system with only a slight increase in complexity: D&D 5E - Encounter Building - Building a Better Model

I await my firing squad ;)

From what I've seen, it's a really good try. Way too complex for me and what I expect of it in 5e, and with the major difficulty that it still relies on fuzzy assessment of elements like the tactical value of characters or their level of optimisation, when, in the end, elements that are not necessarily controllable like preparation, surprise and initiative are not taken into account (despite being probably more critical than many other factors). I would add to this the level of synergy between characters, with adversaries and of these two with the environment, which would make the calculator even more complex.

But at least it tries to take into account the most important factors that are rarely explained about what the characters are really worth in a fight, I would be interested to see how it models reality, but I confess that I probably won't make the time for it.

That being said, something that has emerged in that thread is that, in OP's fight, they had the help of 2 CR 2 awakened trees. Even if these did apparently not help much, that is still 2 x 59 hps of damage soaking and keeping the hill giants at bay while being fireballed, so really a fundamental help in combat, all things considered...
 

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