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

Azurewraith

Explorer
From your earier post you stated 'There either 3rd or 4th level don't remember off head tempest cleric, wild sorcerer,champion fighter and a bard valor'

I'll work off 4th level.

Tempest cleric
Wild Sorcerer
Champion Fighter
Valor Bard

For 4 x 4th level PC's we get an xp budget of:

Easy: 500 - 999xp
Medium: 1000 -1499xp
Hard: 1500 - 1999xp
Deadly: 2000xp+

On the way through a forest the PCs notice a clearing and hear voices. Upon investigation they see 1 figure in black robes (a Cult fanatic, increase AC to 16 from scalemail under his robes) and 3 henchmen (1 hulking - strength of 16 - Bandit captain armed with a greatsword (+5, 2d6+3 damage, multiattack) supervising the digging, and and 2 Bandits doing the digging) digging up a grave; a strange glow comes from the grave. The PC's get there just as the team finish their grisly work. If the PC's defeat the passive perception scores of the NPC's they get surprise on round 1.

The cult fanatic uses spiritual weapon and then targets heavily armored foes with Hold Person, and the cowardly bandit captain uses this opportunity to strike if if he can do so (gaining an automatic critical hit on any held foes). The bandits target any obvious spellcasters. If the bandit captain dies, the bandits flee. If the cultist dies, the bandit captiain fights on unless his men are also dead, at which point he surrenders. All he knows is that he he was hired by the cultist to escort him to this gravesite and help him with the excavation to recover some kind of powerful magical item. He only met the chap a few days ago, and is spooked out by him.

In additon to the normal gear, the bandits have 2d6 gp and sp each, the captain has twice this much, and the cultist has 200 gp (payment for the mission for the bandits) two potions of healing, and a map showing both the location of the graves, and a manor marked on the map (that none of the PCs have ever heard of before even with succesful knowledge checks). The manor is marked as 'the Manor of the black knight'. It is 2 hours travel away, but easy to find.

If the PC's investigate the grave, they see a human skeleton, clad in the tattered remains of a gown of white samite. Its skeletal hands bear a ruby ring and clutch a glowing (weapon that the Champion fighter likes to use). The weapon is magical and deals an extra 1d6 lightning damage on a succesful hit (requires attunement).

If the PCs touch the weapon, they trigger an ancient curse, placed on the weapon by the murdered woman whose skeletal remains they now stand before. Suddenly a ghostly apparition appears hovering over the grave; of a spectral woman with raven black hair covering most of her face and clad in white samite; a firey ruby ring adorns her finger.

View attachment 72764

Before they can act she wails out:

'You have all broken the bonds and now will carry the curse. At midnight, seven hours hence you shall all be struck down. You must track down my killer, the black knight, and put his soul to eternal rest, If you do so, the curse shall be lifted and the [weapon] shall be rightfully yours'

Tell the PCs that they suddenly feel an odd cold feeling come over them, as if someone walked over their grave.. and they all have the strong sense of impending doom. Whover is holding the [weapon] gets a momentary vision of a grand manor house, and for the rest of the adventure will always know the location to it.

After saying this she fades away, with the words 'Seven hours...' echoing ominously through the forest.

More to come...
Guessing you missed my above post. But 4th lvl will work
 

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Guessing you missed my above post. But 4th lvl will work

I changed it for a third level party.

Continuing on:

The PCs now have 7 hours to head to the manor, slay the black knight and avoid the curse taking effect.

If for some reason they dont get the urgency of the predicament they are now in, feel free to use more 'visions' from the [weapon] to prompt them to head to the manor. Maybe the weapons holder gets a sudden vision of the moon being at its zenith at midnight and skeletal hands emerging from the ground and dragging them all screaming down into the earth.

Be creative. Try and scare the :):):):) out of them.

If they toss the [weapon] by placing it back in the grave and leave it there - perhaps in an effort to beat the curse - its up to you what happens. Either the curse still takes effect in 7 hours time, or take it as if they dont want to partake in the hook, and let them escape the curse.

If the party hasnt yet slain the black knight by the stroke of midnight (in seven hours) the lady in samite... comes for them at midnight, just as promised. Use the stats for a wraith, however she also has 1 legendary resistance, and a gaze attack (identical to a medusa). She is immune to her own gaze. If the PC's foolishly strike her with [the weapon] it deals no damage, and shatters. Increase her CR to 6 to reflect these changes. Take notice this is a very deadly fight.

If they go along with the quest, its a 2 hour trip to the manor.

Along the way they notice animals avoid them (its a side effect of the curse). Their horses (if any) panic and refuse to let them ride unless the PC in question can pass a DC 12 animal handling test to calm the animal down.

If any of the PCs bothers to check a mirror, they also notice that their reflections cast a deathly pall of themselves; they look like corpses. As the time gets closer to midnight, this effect gets worse (near midnight, they have withered away to skeletons in any reflections).

Again; play this kind of stuff up and try and spook the crap out of them.

More to come...
 

While wild animals avoid them, the curse makes them attractive to undead creatures. Along the way to the manor, the party is attacked by 3 ghouls.

Once at the manor, they find that it is long ruined. Come up with a map and let them poke around. The only thing not totally in ruins is the manors well.

[The Black knight was a local minor noble from long ago, who fell into the worship of dark gods. He foully murdered bis own brother - the lady in samites husband - and usurped his position and title, and stole [the weapon] claiming it for himself. He attempted to seduce the lady in samite and force her to marry him, but she refused... so he murdered her as well. With her dying breath she cursed him and [the weapon]. In a rare act of decency and out of his perverted sense of love for her, he buried her - along with the weapon - at the place where the PCs found her in the last chapter. During his time alive, he hid his practice of foul black magic in a secret laboratory that he concealed down the well. He was discovered and killed, his manor demolished and his name expunged from all records. His laboratory however, remained undiscovered...]

Let the PCs expore the well. If they miss it, let the [weapon] give a clue via a vision. Looking down the well they see iron rungs built in spaced at 1' intervals, and its an easy climb down (no check required). The rungs lead 30' to a grate that blocks off the well. A passage leads off into the darkness. Feel free to create a map of the lab in your own time.

The 13th rung is trapped. Anyone actively examining the rungs on the way down gets a DC 15 perception check to notice this rung has less wear on it than the others. Placing more than 20lbs weight on it triggers a trap releasing a thrusting blade from a cunningly concealed slot covered with fake mortar. (Information revealed by a DC 15 investigation check). Its easily avoided if spotted. If the trap is triggered it releases the blade between the 9th and 10th rung - about 3 feet above the trapped rung - (+8 to hit, dealing 3d10 piercing damage on a hit). A creature dropped to zero HP by this attack falls to the grille below and automatically fails its first death save.

More to follow...
 
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Uchawi

First Post
I think this needs some more context, since we don't know exactly what background of playstyle or experience the OP is coming from.

The only way casters are unbalanced compared to non-casters is if we are talking about serious power-gaming optimization, or intentional use of rules exploits. And, as you said, even in that situation it isn't as abusable as 3e was.

For some groups the level of power-gaming required to throw off balance is apparently normal (fine if that's their preferred D&D style), so the fact that its easier to "break" than 4e might stand out. In practice, this doesn't happen for most groups. For instance, 5e fighters were consistently rated as the "best" or most powerful class in WotC polls involving over 100,000 players of all editions and levels of gaming experience.

While the very fact that classes are built differently means you can't have a 4e level of balance, I think 5e did a pretty good job of making sure (almost) nobody is going to be overshadowed during normal play assumptions, and I really don't think it requires any particular DM skills to make that true. Now, sure, if you want to attempt to approach 4e levels of balance the DM is going to have to be careful about encounter pacing and such.

Bottom line is that the game is fairly well balanced out of the box, and casters and caddies only happens if you have skilled power-gamers who intentionally make it happen.
Sure. Any statements always benefit from context. I do not think everything is balanced even if you avoid "optimization" but then we will get into arguments on balance. So ultimately it boils down to what you want in a game and regardless of the statements others make the OP will have to play the game to find out if it works.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I think this needs some more context, since we don't know exactly what background of playstyle or experience the OP is coming from.

The only way casters are unbalanced compared to non-casters is if we are talking about serious power-gaming optimization, or intentional use of rules exploits. And, as you said, even in that situation it isn't as abusable as 3e was.

For some groups the level of power-gaming required to throw off balance is apparently normal (fine if that's their preferred D&D style), so the fact that its easier to "break" than 4e might stand out. In practice, this doesn't happen for most groups. For instance, 5e fighters were consistently rated as the "best" or most powerful class in WotC polls involving over 100,000 players of all editions and levels of gaming experience.

While the very fact that classes are built differently means you can't have a 4e level of balance, I think 5e did a pretty good job of making sure (almost) nobody is going to be overshadowed during normal play assumptions, and I really don't think it requires any particular DM skills to make that true. Now, sure, if you want to attempt to approach 4e levels of balance the DM is going to have to be careful about encounter pacing and such.

Bottom line is that the game is fairly well balanced out of the box, and casters and caddies only happens if you have skilled power-gamers who intentionally make it happen.

Well, my experience is mostly with not-particularly-optimized characters, technically who could all cast spells, but spells at low levels are quite potent (if you don't have to blow most/all of them on healing). It doesn't take intentional powergaming for even low-ish level spells to dominate whole encounters if a player cleverly--not abusively, just cleverly--uses them. Also, while I haven't actually seen it tested, I find it...difficult to believe that non-casters (or even "slim" casters, like EK/AT) can keep up with the sheer breadth of abilities available to a full-caster, unless the DM intentionally takes interpretations that weaken casting to one degree or another. Some of this is simply due to unclear phrasing in the books (e.g. Crawford has clarified that you can only prepare spells immediately after a long rest; you can't prepare some spells in the morning and then a few more later in the day), but it's still completely possible to achieve some astounding results purely from cleverly using the resources you have, which I'm not comfortable calling "intentional powergaming" (especially since non-casters in general cannot achieve the same level of power through the same cleverness applied to their own resources--except by DM fiat).

Probably the only things you can unambiguously say about it in 5e are:
- since technically every class but Barbarians could cast spells with the right subclass choice, it's "the player's choice" not to engage with spell mechanics
- the Warlock finally gives us a spellcaster with limitations on par with non-casting (sub)classes

Edit:
Maybe a better way of saying most of what I said above is this.

You see 5e, and think, "Hey, this game is fairly well balanced out of the box."

I see 5e, and think, "Well...this game isn't terribly unbalanced out of the box."

But when a game depends, enormously, on the DM in question to determine...well, just about damn near everything, even "highly balanced out of the box" doesn't mean much.
 

And finally...

Dungeon encounters:

1) A 10' wide 35' long coridoor. Halfway down it, two sets of animated armor concealed in 5' alcoves hidden behind behind fake plaster walls animate once a PC gets to the halfway point, burst through and attack. They are armed with longswords (multiattack, +4 to hit, increase damage to 1d10+2). The fake walls are noticed by any PC with a passive perception of 15 or more (or by anyone actively searching v DC 15). The animated armor do not get surprise (the bursting through the walls slows them down and gives the PCs time to react), Roll initaitive normally.

2) A single larger than normal Ochre jelly has taken up residence in one room. It slurks about on the ceiling looking for food. Increase its strength to 16 (+5 to hit, 2d6+3 damage plus 1d6 acid), and add 2 HD (give it 60HP). Increase its CR to 3. Dont forget to laugh maniacally when whoever holds [the weapon] strikes it and it splits into two smaller puddings.

3) A mummy (the foully animated corpse of the lady in samites husband) still clad in chainmail AC 16 - wanders the halls. A DC 12 perception check reveals an identical ring (50gp) to the lady in samites on the same finger. It is mindless but retains a supernatural awareness of the matching ring. If one of the PCs has the lady in samites ring it instinctively senses this, and launches into a berserk rage, gaining advantage on its rotting fist attacks, and imposing disadvantage on that PCs saves against mummy rot and its dreadfull glare. It focusses its attacks on that PC to the exclusion of all others. If the PCs left the ring, it instead senses their holy mission and helps them - it speaks to them and thanks them for putting things to right, and dissolves into dust in a wave of positive energy. Each PC immediately gets healed for 3d6 HP.

Feel free to use this as a wandering monster.

4) 6 Skeletons animate to attack the group in another room.

5) BBEG - the Black knight and his servants - a Wight and 4 Zombies. Increase the Wights HP to 66. He wears full plate (AC 18), has the 'hellfire orb' special ability - 1/day as an action, hurls a ball of fire. 60' range, 10' radius burst. Dex save DC 13 for half. 3d6 fire, and 3d6 necrotic. Add 'Parry' as a reaction - adds +2 to its AC against one melee attack that would hit him. Increase CR to 4. He monologues a bit then attacks. Any PC who attacks him with [the weapon] is immune to his life drain attack, and gets advantage on attack rolls against him.

In addition to [the weapon] generate a CR5 horde for this room, reducing any magic items by 1 [to account for the weapon], and omitting PP (this money is accounted for in the full plate). Dont forget to toss in a 'forgotten treasure map' or other macguffin as a hook for another adventure!

Thats 5 dungeon encounters, plus the ghouls on the way in, the cultist and the thugs/ bandits and the trap. A total of eight medium to hard encounters, with the opportunity for around 3 short rests.

Reckon your PC's can handle this OK?
 
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Tallifer

Hero
Just a minor question, do you not own the 4e books? I mean, it's not like the character builder or any of the tools are necessary unless you are relying on them to get the game content that would otherwise be offered by the books.
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.
 

Azurewraith

Explorer
And finally...

Dungeon encounters:

1) A 10' wide 35' long coridoor. Halfway down it, two sets of animated armor concealed in 5' alcoves hidden behind behind fake plaster walls animate once a PC gets to the halfway point, burst through and attack. They are armed with longswords (multiattack, +4 to hit, increase damage to 1d10+2). The fake walls are noticed by any PC with a passive perception of 15 or more (or by anyone actively searching v DC 15). The animated armor do not get surprise (the bursting through the walls slows them down and gives the PCs time to react), Roll initaitive normally.

2) A single larger than normal Ochre jelly has taken up residence in one room. It slurks about on the ceiling looking for food. Increase its strength to 16 (+5 to hit, 2d6+3 damage plus 1d6 acid), and add 2 HD (give it 60HP). Increase its CR to 3.

3) A mummy (the foully animated corpse of the lady in samites husband) still clad in chainmail AC 16 - wanders the halls. A DC 12 perception check reveals an identical ring (50gp) to the lady in samites on the same finger. It is mindless but retains a supernatural awareness of the matching ring. If one of the PCs has the lady in samites ring it instinctively senses this, and launches into a berserk rage, gaining advantage on its rotting fist attacks, and imposing disadvantage on that PCs saves against mummy rot and its dreadfull glare. It focusses its attacks on that PC to the exclusion of all others. If the PCs left the ring, it instead senses their holy mission and helps them - it speaks to them and thanks them for putting things to right, and dissolves into dust in a wave of positive energy. Each PC immediately gets healed for 3d6 HP.

Feel free to use this as a wandering monster.

4) 6 Skeletons animate to attack the group in another room.

5) BBEG - the Black knight and his servants - a Wight and 4 Zombies. Increase the Wights HP to 66. He wears full plate (AC 18), has the 'hellfire orb' special ability - 1/day as an action, hurls a ball of fire. 60' range, 10' radius burst. Dex save DC 13 for half. 3d6 fire, and 3d6 necrotic. Add 'Parry' as a reaction - adds +2 to its AC against one melee attack that would hit him. Increase CR to 4. He monologues a bit then attacks. Any PC who attacks him with [the weapon] is immune to his life drain attack, and gets advantage on attack rolls against him.

In addition to [the weapon] generate a CR5 horde for this room, reducing any magic items by 1 [to account for the weapon], and omitting PP (this money is accounted for in the full plate). Dont forget to toss in a 'forgotten treasure map' or other macguffin as a hook for another adventure!

Thats 5 dungeon encounters, plus the ghouls on the way in, the cultist and the thugs/ bandits and the trap. A total of eight medium to hard encounters, with the opportunity for around 3 short rests.

Reckon your PC's can handle this OK?
Don't see any issue with it ill give it a go when I next get chance. As my games just been a stand in session so it could be a while but I will try it when I get back from work ill copy paste em to word and flesh it out a bit more. Should fit in well with where there going. If I can just get the PC's to play nice.
 

Tallifer

Hero
So, I'm not sure if this has been pointed out yet, but the 4e tools are accessible again. I am not a subscriber--I haven't been for years now--and I was able to open the Compendium, Dungeon and Dragon magazines, and Character Builder just fine. The CB actually launched, which surprised me, but suffered a fatal error during the spinny-hourglass loading phase. The Compendium worked flawlessly. Since all the other tools were also listed, I assumed they also worked as they had before.

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. Since I'm not currently interested in renewing, I haven't actually tested whether it works beyond the "are you ready to checkout?" page. But you can get a subscription plan into a shopping cart, and it still has stuff for accepting your payment info and such.

Of course, all of this may be too late, if [MENTION=84661]Tallifer[/MENTION] has already committed to the jump to 5e. Just thought I'd let you know that, if you haven't committed to it yet, or if 5e doesn't seem to be cutting the mustard for whatever reason, the 4e DDI tools SEEM to still work, at least for now.

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. 4E has far too many options for me to check any mistakes on new character sheets. 5E less so.
 

Tallifer

Hero
It doesn't take intentional powergaming for even low-ish level spells to dominate whole encounters if a player cleverly--not abusively, just cleverly--uses them. Also, while I haven't actually seen it tested, I find it...difficult to believe that non-casters (or even "slim" casters, like EK/AT) can keep up with the sheer breadth of abilities available to a full-caster, unless the DM intentionally takes interpretations that weaken casting to one degree or another. ... it's still completely possible to achieve some astounding results purely from cleverly using the resources you have, which I'm not comfortable calling "intentional powergaming" (especially since non-casters in general cannot achieve the same level of power through the same cleverness applied to their own resources--except by DM fiat).


I see 5e, and think, "Well...this game isn't terribly unbalanced out of the box."

But when a game depends, enormously, on the DM in question to determine...well, just about damn near everything, even "highly balanced out of the box" doesn't mean much.

Indeed. If I see that happening in my game, I may give the weaker martial characters options to add a 4E-style Encounter power or two to their toolbox.
 

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