D&D 5E Finally switching my campaign from 4th to 5th Edition.


Setting a time limit up-front is one way to start an adventure, but by no means the only one, and one which I wouldn't want to repeat regularly.
Nothing wrong with this adventure start, except one thing:

That it substitutes for a rules-coded tool to enforce the encounter pacing expectations set forth by the rules.

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99% of those advocating the 6-8 guidelines fail to mention just how little mechanical support the game offers the DM to help her actually make this happen.

99% of those ignoring how problematic this guideline is in actual play gloss over how insultingly boring the resulting encounters become.

99% of those putting the blame on individual DMs fail to consider that it might be a systemic failure instead.

(More than one person can play this invent your own statistics game.)

If encounters are boring it isn't the system.

Tony Vargas

Because WotC no longer allows new subscribers to the Character Builder and Compendium, which excludes almost all of my players, and because those sites are becoming glitchier with each passing month, I have finally decided to throw in the towel and switch to 5th Edition.
Welcome aboard, though, really, that's not a very good reason. You shouldn't feel 'forced' into it.

So, I'm not sure if this has been pointed out yet, but the 4e tools are accessible again.

And despite it being hidden, it DOES seem that you can renew a subscription (though you cannot start a brand-new subscription if I'm not mistaken). You can click "manage subscription" on an order page, if you have any orders in your Order History. From that "manage subscription" link, there is a renewal option.
I'll have to try that. Where is this 'order page?'

The Character Builder is WAY more convenient than searching through all the books: plus my players do not have all the books. Likewise the Compendium for rules. This is why I avoided 5E since it has no convenient Builder. On the other hand, there are few books for 5E yet, so less wading. With the on-line tools almost defunct, I may as well just use the 5E books.
The 4E tools work for me since I am a subscriber (although I find the search function on the compendium extremely buggy), but my new players cannot make a new subscription.
One option is to use pre-gens for new players. Whether you're doing that with the 5e books or the 4e CB, it reduces confusion.

That said, I am looking for advice from other dungeon masters and thinkers who understand both 4E and 5E.

1. My first question: is the problem of the 3E quadratic wizard versus linear fighter back again?
Yes. But, not as bad nor as overtly. In older eds, all a casters spells got better as he leveled, and he got more of them - thus 'quadratic.' In 3.5, lower-level spells topped out in damage and saves vs spells got better with slot level, not caster level, so while the caster got more spells, there were limits to how much better the lower-level ones got at he leveled up and his top-level slots were most important. In 5e, spells scale mainly with slot level, but saves vs spells scale with character level (not even caster level), so top-level slots are, again, most important, but you're still getting more and more powerful spells as you level up. So the wizard may still be 'quadratic' (you've still got x-squared and xy in there), but they're not as dramatically so (a and b are lower values).

Do I have to prepare for spellcasters trying to break my encounters?
Not so much, no. There's not a lot of point to being 'prepared' in that sense - there are encounter guidelines but they're very much just guidelines. Your most powerful tools as a DM are rulings, not matching PCs powergamed-monster-for-powergamed-build nor wielding the ban-hammer.
If a player pulls something that turns out to be broken, you rule against it right then and move on. Later, you can let it work in a situation where it wouldn't be broken.

2. Second question, for other 4E players who have switched over: Which rôles do the new classes approximate? (I notice for example that the PHB ranger is not nearly the Striker of 4E, but perhaps no class is?)
They don't, really. Formal roles are gone.

Most classes can deliver a lot of DPR with the right choices, and several are arguably Strikers in the sense of being all but hardwired to do DPR and little else (Fighter, especially, but also Barbarian and Rogue). Rangers and Warlocks can do high DPR fairly straightforwardly as well. Neo-Vancian casters with the right spells on their lists are leaders (Cleric, Druid, Bard) or controllers (Cleric, Druid, Bard, Wizard), or even strikers ('blasters') based on what spells they prepped that day. Sorcerers and Warlocks are controllers or blasters depending on choices made at chargen/level-up rather than at long rests.

The more traditional/de-facto roles could be said to be:

Tank (DPR and high durability): Fighter, Barbarian, Paladin, and, oddly, 'Moon' Druid.
Heal-bot: Cleric, Paladin, Druid, Bard, even Ranger, a little.
Mage (solves any problem with limited-resource spells): Wizard (in spades), Cleric, Druid, Bard, or, less so, Sorcerer, Warlock, Paladin, Ranger, AT, EK, and even, much less so, Monk, 'Totem' Barbarian, Magic Initiate and/or Ritual Caster feats.
Thief (scouts, opens locks, gets killed by traps, is generally expendable): Rogue, to a lesser extent Monk or, in the woods, Ranger

I guess we could add slightly less-traditional:
Blaster (range and/or area DPR): Warlock, Sorcerer, Wizard, Cleric, 'Land' Druid, Fighter or Ranger archery style w/Sharp-shooter feat.
Opportunist (situational DPR, good skills): Rogue, Monk.
5th-Wheel (doesn't do any one traditional role all that well): Monk, Ranger.

We could come up with others. Ultimately each class is not designed to make a general range of contributions to the party as part of a team, but to evoke the feel of that class in the classic game (or 3.5, in the case of the Sorcerer & Warlock).

Rather than expecting the players to come up with a balanced party, you just need to adapt challenges to the party - or they have to adapt their strategies to the resources they have, which could include declining certain challenges....

By the way, our sessions do not typically involve dungeons with room after room of traps and monsters. The party has yet to strike off into an entirely hostile region with no places to recover. I think the suggestion of a night for a short rest and a week for a long rest sound appropriate. Or some equivalent of milestones as in 4E.
If you have any sort of consistent pacing to your campaign, you can just simply adjust the definition of long and short rest to suit. Even if you don't, you could come up with something more arbitrary, like 13A's 'full heal up' and 'campaign loss' concepts (see 13th Age).
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An issue I have with using the 8 hour short rests, week long long rests solution as a way to balance encounter pacing is that it is too extreme of a game change to solve one little problem. It makes a major change to the lore. We're used to spellcasters getting their spells refreshed every morning. If they are only getting them once per week, that isn't the same D&D at all. It changes the whole world, not just how well dungeons challenge your players.

Now for some people that may be fine--it may be a world-change they like. But for others, suggesting "simply" adopting that rule from the DMG is like suggesting removing the cleric class because someone is trying to find a way to reduce the effectiveness of Turn Undead.


I don't have the published adventures, but I understand that they do follow the adventuring day guidelines fairly well in parts, so at least they give us some examples.

Take a look at the starter adventure Lost Mines of Phandelver. Without giving spoilers, the first episode and the Castle episode both follow the guidelines in the DMG pretty well. Both of these areas have potential consequences for parties that retreat and return (even for an hour), even if these consequences are not spelled out in the scenario, the DM should be able to figure them out.

Other areas are less so. Thundertree, for example, might have no consequences at all for taking a long rest after each encounter.

I don't see a problem with the rest issue. It has been present in literally every version of D&D, including 4th edition (expend dailies, retreat and rest) and is up to the DM to ameliorate. In fact, it is pretty much an issue in almost every FRP I have played in (e.g. Runequest).

As a DM, I basically let it slide and let the players pace the adventure until I see it being abused, in which case I then take steps such as wandering encounters and/or time-sensitive missions. I also usually, in dungeons that are organized, have a section on what happens if the PCs attack, retreat, and return.

In 3e enemy spellcasters usually had spell load outs that were not optimized for combat, but were appropriate for day-to-day activities and included non-combat spells. However, if the PCs retreat, then the enemy spellcasters get to rest and prepare new spells, usually not only more combat oriented, but also tailored to whatever abilities or spells the PCs demonstrated in the initial assault. This alone has caused my players to think very carefully about retreating mid-assault.

Additionally, in 3e the ability to layer buff upon buff means that mid to high level combats in 3e are very swingy depending upon who gets surprise and who does or does not have time to buff up. Usually, when PCs assault a bad guy lair, the PCs have all pre-buffed and the bad guys are the ones pressed for time to do so. In other words, the enemy is often reactive to the PCs. Once the PCs retreat, however, that equation changes.

Of course, having the enemies track down the resting PCs and assault them while they are recuperating is also fun.

This is less usuable in 5e where most enemies have a set list of spells and few of them seem to be non-combat spells, and buffing time is limited due to the concentration mechanic. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of ways the bad guys can prepare for a renewed PC assault.

Tony Vargas

An issue I have with using the 8 hour short rests, week long long rests solution as a way to balance encounter pacing is that it is too extreme of a game change to solve one little problem.
It's a very minor rule change, though it doesn't really 'solve' the underlying problem, just works around it if your campaign happens to very consistently have much slower pacing than is assumed by 5e.

It changes the whole world, not just how well dungeons challenge your players.
It's only a change to the world if 8-hr long rests and 1-hr 'short' rests have been hard-coded into the world's lore.

Prior to 5e, short rests were ~5 min (in 3.5, even draining 50 chgs from you WoCLW only took 5 min) or going all the way back to 1e the balance of the 10-minute turn not spent fighting (yeah, that's an obscure one). So in the continuity of ongoing campaign settings, the 1-hr short rest is already a 'major change.'

8-hr rests, OTOH have been relatively consistent the last 3 eds, but, again, if we go back to 1e, the amount of rest you needed to re-memorize spells varied depending upon the levels of the spell in question, and could be as little as 4hrs, IIRC. And, it's not like long rests perfectly mapped to the old school 'per day' limitations (the most familiar form), to begin with.

Heck, 8-hr short rests and 1-week long rests might even vaguely suggest the pacing of some 1e campaigns. The former evoking times/day limitations, the latter recalling the week needed to recover from being dropped below 0 hps. ;)

Take a look at the starter adventure Lost Mines of Phandelver. Without giving spoilers, the first episode and the Castle episode both follow the guidelines in the DMG pretty well. Both of these areas have potential consequences for parties that retreat and return (even for an hour), even if these consequences are not spelled out in the scenario, the DM should be able to figure them out.

Ah, good point! I've run the whole adventure, but I wasn't ever really thinking about encounter pacing, because I didn't have to.


IME 5e casters & non-casters are well balanced, even with far fewer than 6-8 battles per day. It's very well balanced compared to 3e/PF, while at the same time classes feel more distinct than in 4e.


Follower of the Way
I'll have to try that. Where is this 'order page?'

Providing this info for you, and anyone else interested.

Start here. https://store.digitalriver.com/store/dndi/DisplayHelpPage

Click any of the links that regard your account (e.g. "My Order History" or "My Payment Information"). You'll be directed to a login page, if you aren't already logged into your account. (I've merged my account with a Wizards account, so I can log into either place--it's slightly more convenient to log into the Wizards account and then click the DDI page link, but I've just provided that to you anyway.)

Once you're logged in, click "My Order History." This should now bring up a list of your previous orders. Click on any of the links which describe a completed purchase (none of the others will work for this). If you have a preference about what kind of purchase you'd like to make, select an order with the appropriate price tag (if there's one available). I, for example, have both the three-month $23.85 type and the one-month $9.95 type, so I can renew either of those types of subscription. If you only have one kind of subscription listed, I'm afraid that'll be the only thing you can renew (using this method).

From that individual order page, click the "Manage Subscription" link on the right-hand side. This will take you to your account subscription page. There should be a link on the left-hand side (again in a grey box) which says "Renew Now." Click it, and you'll be taken to a shopping cart with a new order for the kind of subscription you had purchased with the old order you looked at earlier, because you're renewing that specific order. You can then click "Check Out."

I have not tested it beyond this point, as I am not currently interested in renewing my subscription--I do not know 100% for sure it will work, but I do not see any reason why it wouldn't. Digital River still exists as a payment processor, the site is still up and running, new order IDs are still being handed out for pending shopping carts (see below), and the DDI tools still know whether or not your account has a subscription. That would seem to be all the necessary parts in place. Let me know if it actually lets you place the order. Somewhat to my surprise, the two times I tested this, I did create new "orders" in my order history--they're just listed as "unsubmitted" because I cancelled them instead of proceeding to checkout. (It's now three times, because I did it again to make sure I was accurately indicating the steps you'd need to take.)

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