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D&D 5E Has D&D Combat Always Been Slow?

G

Guest User

Guest
I love how people site optional rules that very few to next to nobody ever used as an example of ad&d
Dude..I said this:
It depends what your definition of 1e includes.
I love it when people don't read disclaimers that literally are the First Sentence of the post they quoted.

Just because you have never used a rule, does not equate to No One Has ever used said rule.

As kids, my friends and I played at least 3 campaigns that used those very rules.
(AD&D didn't make an "optional rule distinction).

I find it a bit presumptuous to assume that what doesn't match my direct experience
somehow doesn't exist at all.

Then again rejecting others, and other people's reality, seems to be in vogue.
I apologize if my lived experience, conflicts with your confirmation bias. 😀
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Here's a relatively simple question to try and expand on this.

Ignoring the caveats that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and that some play styles mesh better with your own than others (both things I acknowledge and agree with), are some D&D players simply better at D&D than others, in your experience?

Define "better". I mean, in general I'm a better tactician than most. Other people really get into role playing. Some people are just plain fun to play with and entertaining. I've played with people that were brilliant tactically but were solely focused on tactics. Other people try to hog the spotlight while role playing. Some people are just kind of boring. Most people are a mix.

But if someone has weaknesses I'll either accept those weaknesses or try to help them overcome them. Unless there are social issues once you join my game you're welcome to stay as long as we're having fun playing the game. Which I guess is a non-answer, but about the best I can give.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
@TwoSix concerning the "better" player, different people play for different reasons. A lot of people would find my games boring because we do a lot of out-of-combat stuff. Whether that's just straight RP (yes, even occasionally while doing shopping), investigation, exploration and things that don't really fall into a neat category.

It seems that someone who is into old school dungeon crawls and location based adventures (and there's nothing wrong with that) would be more likely to categorize people as "good" and "bad" gamers.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Define "better". I mean, in general I'm a better tactician than most. Other people really get into role playing. Some people are just plain fun to play with and entertaining. I've played with people that were brilliant tactically but were solely focused on tactics. Other people try to hog the spotlight while role playing. Some people are just kind of boring. Most people are a mix.

But if someone has weaknesses I'll either accept those weaknesses or try to help them overcome them. Unless there are social issues once you join my game you're welcome to stay as long as we're having fun playing the game. Which I guess is a non-answer, but about the best I can give.
Fair, I won’t push the issue. I just think it would be fun to play at a table with several players who are creative, fun to play with, and rules savvy all at the same time.

I’m not kicking any friends out for being not great at rules stuff.
 

Well, we are talking about a CR 2 here, at the level that ogre is supposed to be encountered, 2d8+6 should be enough.
Maybe go with + prof to damage instead? That dont do much for low CR, but with high CR, we are talking +6-7 damage per hit.

Now, that dont help much with the whole ''at 0 hp, any damage, no matter the amount cause only 1 saving throw''. At least in melee, is an auto-crit, so its 2 failed saves. I personally think that there's should be more effect that deals the good ol' ''a creature dropped to 0 hp with this effect dies instantly'' like with Disintegrate: Dragon Breaths, Giants' boulder throw, Circle of Death, Enervation,
no really. The ogre has one attack
1608076904020.png

Lets say it downs Alice during a fight & that alice has 3 other players in the group with her (Bob Cindy & Dave) If any of them uses a heal kit on her, casts cure wounds from touch range, casts healing word within 60feet, uses paladinLay on hands, uses celestial warlock healing light, or uses the spare the dying cantrip from within 30 feet because nobody but a grave cleric who gets the improved version free would take that cantrip... the PC is back to 1 or more hp or at worst no failed death saves.

Also & possibly most importantly there's a world of difference between "it killed you with that attack because you were too low on hp & still in its face" and "The gm made the monster attack your body to ensure you were dead"
 


pming

Hero
Hiya!
Alternatively you, instead of being able to do what you know you should, need to read the DM's mind to see if something which one DM would reward will be rewarded or penalised by another DM. This leads to analysis paralysis and frustration on behalf of the player - and it leads to frustration and irritation on behalf of the DM who needs to ass-pull a new set of rulings each time the players come up with a set of wacky stunts. And for consistency a good DM will remember what they did last time.
I suppose someone could assume that every DM in the world should run the game exactly like every other DM, but that would be...odd, to say the least. More likely, a person playing several games under several different DM's would see the beauty that is RPG's: Diversity in tone, style, attitude, rules, substance, humour, seriousness, and everything else. Eventually, over time, a Player will understand what they know they like and what they don't, and then seek out DM's that provide that "style" of play...or be bold enough to take up the reigns of DM'ing themselves.

But no matter how you slice it, DM'ing isn't formulaic. It's MUCH more "art" than "science" (when being run; when doing all the leg work behind the scenes, it's more or less equal). No player needs to 'read the mind of the DM' unless that Player is under the impression that his job as a player is to "outsmart and foil the DM". That's fine if that's the tone of that particular table, but, for most tables I'd guess, that's not the base attitude of a Player. That attitude tends to be "All right! Lets roll some dice and do some roleplaying!". :)

Consistency...ABOLUTELY! This comes with experience and time. As I've said many times before, after a couple years of DM'ing, every DM develops their own "style". Some DM's are great at storytelling, some are amazing at combat handling, some are experts at creating interconnecting Machiavellian webs of intrigue, and some are just good, but not great, at a bit of everything. Consistency, a sense of Fairness, and a focus on trying to maintain Neutrality in regards to PC's success or failure are the three key components of a good DM.

Even in D&D 3.X you didn't actually need to flip through three separate books to adjudicate something like that, and both 4e and 5e are actively simpler. Meanwhile AD&D is larded with rules (such as the helmet rules). You just don't know which set the DM is using.
Er...that's why you talk to the DM first, or have a "Session Zero" where everyone talks about what they like/dislike and expect/desire out of the coming campaign/game.

Dungeon Mastering, at it's core, hasn't changed since the beginning, IMNSHO, at lest not very much at all. The Players expectations of their 'role' in the game most certainly have, however. Players used to expect to die. Often and repeatedly. Players saw playing the game as a challenge and a test of their intellect and ability to work together and 'think outside the box' in order to keep their PC's alive.

This, IN MY EXPERIENCE AND OPINION, expectation has changed over the decades where now, it's almost the opposite. Players tend to expect to not 'loose' unless it's an 'important encounter', and many see death as an annoying bump in the road to their ultimate goal of hitting Level 20. A Player that has played 4 characters in two months, with none of them getting past level 2 will see this as a "failure on the DM's part to run a 'fun' or 'fair' game". They don't look at it as it being even remotely possible that they keep dying because of their OWN choices and/or bad luck. It's almost always "the DM's fault". Then the excuses come in "Well, I wouldn't die so much if I could play a [class/race] that you won't let me", or "I would live longer if we were using Feats", or "You're supposed to build encounters we can at least have a chance of winning".

All of that can be avoided on the fabled "Session Zero" info day.

An actually fast game is something like Fate - which has a framework rather than relying on DM ass-pulls. That way, instead of having to ask the DM "If I were to try this" the player has a much clearer way of making the calling themselves and doesn't have to stop to ask the DM for a 30 second ruling which they then need to figure out and then figure out if it's something that their character would take the risk for - or something that there's a misunderstanding behind.

Rulings slow things down every time they are needed while players can learn rules. Good game design isn't "rulings, not rules", it structures using powerful rules and rulings just fill in the gaps; the idea you want "rulings not rules" is an excuse for shipping games that are not fit for purpose. (This is entirely independent of the big thing slowing 5e combat down - "bullet sponge" enemy design where an AD&D ogre had 19hp and an 5e one has 59 by default).
Alas, I think this is a situation where your idea of a "good game" and mine are not lining up. This is fine, even good, actually. It means that RPG's can be interpreted and played by a HUGE range of people with different desires and preferences. :)

I've never played Fate, although I did do some "solo playtesting" of it when the guy was writing it waaaaay back when (yes, I'm old; in fact, I probably have the text file on a floppy disk somewhere!). I thought it had potential, I just wasn't sold on the 'simplicity' of the ranges (at least in those early drafts, iirc). Maybe I'll look into the latest version to check it out... a sort of "blast from the past" for me. :)

A game that I think has found the "sweet spot" between DM Adjudication and Rules to Follow/Use is Dungeon World. It still involves the DM "making choices" for the world as it unfolds, but it allows the Players to choose the basics of how they want to accomplish something (most of the time). When we played it, yes, I was the DM, we ended up falling into a groove of where the Player would have a specific 'idea' of what his character was going to do. Said Player would then use the "move name" in his description (e.g., "I'm going to...[insert descriptive roleplaying]...and use the [insert Move]". I almost always just went with what the player choose...even though I think it's supposed to be more of the DM choosing the Move to use. My reasoning for this approach was that the Player had a specific "method of accomplishment" playing out in his brain...and if I suddenly said "No, use the [whatever Move] in stead", they would have to do a complete re-think and imagining of what their character is doing to fit that "moves narrative".

I initially thought I wouldn't like Dungeon World (just bought the PDF first), but eventually I dove into it for a third time and something just 'clicked' with me. So I bought a half dozen hard copies for the table. Every game I've played of it (as DM), have ALWAYS been memorable and fun! Then again...I run most of my RPG's "fast and loose", so Dungeon World wasn't so jarring as I've heard from DM's who are used to something like 4e or Pathfinder! LOL! :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

I dont get what makes it slow for you?

Presuming everyone is paying attention (and if they're not, thats the DMs fault) and everyone knows their characters (and if they dont, that's usually also the DMs fault) a PCs turn should go like this (even at mid to high level):

DM: (Checks notes) OK Bob, it's your turn. What do you do?
Bob: I'll shift Hunters Mark to the Fire Giant Boss and attack with my Longbow; I'll toggle Sharpshooter 'on'. I'm at +6 to hit. (Rolls a D20 twice). 15 and a 19.
DM: The 19 hits. The Giant is at less than Max HP so your Giant Slayer activates.
Bob: Cool; I'll also spam Menacing Strike from my Martial Adept feat (rolls 1d8+1d8+1d6+1d6+15). Thats.. 34 damage and you need to make a DC 15 Wisdom save or be Frightened.
DM: (Notes damage and rolls save). He made it.
Bob: I'll now move 35' rearwards to cover of the trees behind us.
DM: Cool. Ok Terry, it's now your turn.

etc

That shouldn't take more than a minute or two (even with extra attack, multiple dice rolling, a saving throw, feats in use, multiple decision points in targets, resource usage, sharpshooter etc etc). Presuming 5 PCs (plus the monsters turn... say 2-3 minutes to resolve) this adds up to 10-15 minutes per combat round (max) even at mid to high level.

With most combats lasting around 3 rounds you're looking at around 30-40 minutes for a longish combat encounter, or enough time in your average evening session for around 3-4 such encounters.
 

Hiya!

I suppose someone could assume that every DM in the world should run the game exactly like every other DM, but that would be...odd, to say the least. More likely, a person playing several games under several different DM's would see the beauty that is RPG's: Diversity in tone, style, attitude, rules, substance, humour, seriousness, and everything else. Eventually, over time, a Player will understand what they know they like and what they don't, and then seek out DM's that provide that "style" of play...or be bold enough to take up the reigns of DM'ing themselves.

But no matter how you slice it, DM'ing isn't formulaic. It's MUCH more "art" than "science" (when being run; when doing all the leg work behind the scenes, it's more or less equal). No player needs to 'read the mind of the DM' unless that Player is under the impression that his job as a player is to "outsmart and foil the DM". That's fine if that's the tone of that particular table, but, for most tables I'd guess, that's not the base attitude of a Player. That attitude tends to be "All right! Lets roll some dice and do some roleplaying!". :)

Consistency...ABOLUTELY! This comes with experience and time. As I've said many times before, after a couple years of DM'ing, every DM develops their own "style". Some DM's are great at storytelling, some are amazing at combat handling, some are experts at creating interconnecting Machiavellian webs of intrigue, and some are just good, but not great, at a bit of everything. Consistency, a sense of Fairness, and a focus on trying to maintain Neutrality in regards to PC's success or failure are the three key components of a good DM.


Er...that's why you talk to the DM first, or have a "Session Zero" where everyone talks about what they like/dislike and expect/desire out of the coming campaign/game.

Dungeon Mastering, at it's core, hasn't changed since the beginning, IMNSHO, at lest not very much at all. The Players expectations of their 'role' in the game most certainly have, however. Players used to expect to die. Often and repeatedly. Players saw playing the game as a challenge and a test of their intellect and ability to work together and 'think outside the box' in order to keep their PC's alive.

This, IN MY EXPERIENCE AND OPINION, expectation has changed over the decades where now, it's almost the opposite. Players tend to expect to not 'loose' unless it's an 'important encounter', and many see death as an annoying bump in the road to their ultimate goal of hitting Level 20. A Player that has played 4 characters in two months, with none of them getting past level 2 will see this as a "failure on the DM's part to run a 'fun' or 'fair' game". They don't look at it as it being even remotely possible that they keep dying because of their OWN choices and/or bad luck. It's almost always "the DM's fault". Then the excuses come in "Well, I wouldn't die so much if I could play a [class/race] that you won't let me", or "I would live longer if we were using Feats", or "You're supposed to build encounters we can at least have a chance of winning".

All of that can be avoided on the fabled "Session Zero" info day.


Alas, I think this is a situation where your idea of a "good game" and mine are not lining up. This is fine, even good, actually. It means that RPG's can be interpreted and played by a HUGE range of people with different desires and preferences. :)

I've never played Fate, although I did do some "solo playtesting" of it when the guy was writing it waaaaay back when (yes, I'm old; in fact, I probably have the text file on a floppy disk somewhere!). I thought it had potential, I just wasn't sold on the 'simplicity' of the ranges (at least in those early drafts, iirc). Maybe I'll look into the latest version to check it out... a sort of "blast from the past" for me. :)

A game that I think has found the "sweet spot" between DM Adjudication and Rules to Follow/Use is Dungeon World. It still involves the DM "making choices" for the world as it unfolds, but it allows the Players to choose the basics of how they want to accomplish something (most of the time). When we played it, yes, I was the DM, we ended up falling into a groove of where the Player would have a specific 'idea' of what his character was going to do. Said Player would then use the "move name" in his description (e.g., "I'm going to...[insert descriptive roleplaying]...and use the [insert Move]". I almost always just went with what the player choose...even though I think it's supposed to be more of the DM choosing the Move to use. My reasoning for this approach was that the Player had a specific "method of accomplishment" playing out in his brain...and if I suddenly said "No, use the [whatever Move] in stead", they would have to do a complete re-think and imagining of what their character is doing to fit that "moves narrative".

I initially thought I wouldn't like Dungeon World (just bought the PDF first), but eventually I dove into it for a third time and something just 'clicked' with me. So I bought a half dozen hard copies for the table. Every game I've played of it (as DM), have ALWAYS been memorable and fun! Then again...I run most of my RPG's "fast and loose", so Dungeon World wasn't so jarring as I've heard from DM's who are used to something like 4e or Pathfinder! LOL! :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
I agree fully with what @Neonchameleon wrote, but have a ton of experience with running fate to put what he was saying about 3.5 into the frame I think was being drawn around it. Sure 3.5 could get complicated with cross referencing splatbooks and such, but that's something else. Fate is an absurdly simple system with a 310 page rulebook explaining a set of rules you can literally hand write on a 3x5 index card (I know cause I've done it for a player once). The other 3xx pages are mostly explaining how to use that rules framework for... everything. to the point where you have stuff like the fate fractal. 3.5 may not have taken it to the same extreme, but with +2/-2 circumstance/situation/magic/itsonfire*/whatever you as a player can have a rough estimation of how much doing something beneficial or allowing something negative to happen will affect a given action & you as a gm have a good framework for deciding the same when pcs or a monster does something unexpected that doesn't include magic. Because bonuses of the same type did not stack you'd need to find ways of adding a circumstance environment magic & whatever bonus if you wanted to really stack the odds. In 3.5 a wizard saying "I have a bag of salt worth XXgp can I use that to help enhance my magic circle's strength?" the player could reasonably assume that a yes probably meant +2 in his favor...

5e doesn't have that because you have (dis)advantage, expertise, and whatever DC the DM decides. in 5e the player can ask that same question about the bag of salt & magic circle spell but does not have any clue what sort of mechanical impact a yes will have & the result will be all over the map because the gm has no structural framework to use as a yardstick.


* fate fractal frequently uses its on fire for demonstration
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
Presuming everyone is paying attention (and if they're not, thats the DMs fault)
No. If an individual player isn't paying attention, that's the inattentive player's fault. The DM has enough on their plate than to hold the hands of each individual player. Now, if the group is bored and not paying attention, then it's possibly the DMs fault.
and everyone knows their characters (and if they dont, that's usually also the DMs fault)
No. That's the player's fault. They have ONE thing they need to know how to run. Their character. The DM has the whole world to run including engaging with the other players.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
More than one miss in a row is extremely demoralizing. A game design study showed that most people are happiest around 70% hit rate, across both non-deterministic video games and tabletop war games. 60% is also generally accepted, in the bell curve of happiness.

This is impacted somewhat by the bias that missing multiple times at high hit percentages creates a higher amount of frustration, which is why some game designers (mostly video games) secretly change the percentages so that high numbers succeed even more often than the tooltip says. But even taking that into consideration, people were still happiest around 70%.
I could see that more in video games, but in RPGs hitting that much is BORING in the extreme, tedious, and drags things out. Personally, I prefer about a 35-40% hit rate.

As I wrote with the house-rules we've been using, it drops the % by 20 so we are around 40%, give or take 5%. We like it. It makes hitting more meaningful and exciting when it happens. It makes it more "special".

If you hit (what seems like) nearly all the time, it loses its luster and appeal IMO. I blame people's need for instant satisfaction (or whatever) nowadays. 🤷‍♂️
 

No. If an individual player isn't paying attention, that's the inattentive player's fault.

And the DM should ask that player to pay attention. If that doesnt work, put them on the clock:

DM: OK Mike, I've noticed that you're still not paying attention during combat, and we've talked about this before mate. You're not alone, and despite my frequent requests, it's still happening, with you and with others.

To address this and speed up combat, from now on I'll be using the following rule at the table: When your turn starts you have 5 seconds (max) to tell me what your character is doing, or else your PC takes the Dodge action and your turn ends, and I will move onto the next Player.


Done.

Part of the DMs role is running the game (and not just adjudicating it, or also often hosting it). It's up to the DM to implement what ever he feels is necessary to get the game running smoothly.

That includes correcting bad player behaviour (or booting them out of the game if that doesnt work), managing the players, and managing their behaviour.
 

It's not the missing that's frustrating - it's the powerlessness. The feeling that your actions don't matter. Adding hit points and increasing hit chance actually feeds into that same powerlessness to an extent. At a certain point it becomes worse - If I have a 25% Hit chance but will take out the enemy on a single hit - then there's some tension. If have a 95% hit chance, but know that it will take 4 hits to knock it out then there's no tension.

One reason that hit chance has been raised is that flanking has been lost. Flanking is something you can do to mitigate against missing - it potentially puts you in a dangerous position yourself - so you have a meaningful decision to make.

I think the big thing that matters in rpgs is "Can I do something meaningful on my turn?". This is tuned slightly differently to crpgs because it takes longer per turn.

Basically, 70% hit chance is probably what you do want - but if you don't have to work to get it, then the game balancing itself around that renders it somewhat moot.
 

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Bohandas

Adventurer
Combat can sometimes take a long time even in D&D based computer games like Dark Queen of Krynn, and Temple of Elemental Evil, despite the speed boost that these games get from not having to roll dice, consult tables, or remind the next player that it's their turn.
 

Are you the busy DM on the go? Looking to put some turbo into your gaming session? Want to get back to the action sooner?

There's no problem more stuff can't solve! Spell cards! Initiative tracker boards! Apps! For a nominal fee, these time saving tools can be yours! Get them at your FLGS ASAP!

I once considering the idea of using cheap mini clothespins for tracking initiative.

They plastic come in a variety of colors.
The clothespins are clipped across the top of the DM screen in the order of initiative.
Monsters/NPCs use colors non-PC colors. (You could get a set of plain ones to help monsters stand out from PCs)
Each character/player gets a set of two (of the same color).
One is clipped across the top of the DM screen.
One is handed to the player.
The one on the DM screen shows where that person is at in initiative (in relation to the other pins)
The one kept by the player is so they understand that they are color coded.

The total cost is about 12 bucks.

That was the rough idea, but I eventually decided against it. I think arranging the pins would take more time than it might be worth. It might still be a good idea for a combat which was complex and contained a lot of different elements.

Who knows? Maybe I'll still try it sometime and see how it goes. Typically, the usual homegroup just has one of the players keep track of initiative on a piece of paper, dry erase board, or by "writing" it on their phone with a stylus.

From reading the responses, I'm starting to feel as though the group I game with is an outlier in that we don't expect the GM to remember every aspect of the game. One of the players is responsible for initiative. Typically, one of them also keeps track of treasure. As far as treasure goes, our usual policy is that -if the players somehow lose or misplace the treasure sheet- that means some tragic fate befell the PCs and lead to them being broke.

My usual group doesn't do this, but a past GM from a different group played with the policy that dice rolls which miss the table and go onto the floor count as having rolled a 0.
 

I've found the simplest and fastest way to do initiative is:

Whoever initiates combat goes first.
(Someone from the other side goes next. (unless surprise, or someone was explicitly ready - basically just go with the essential logic of the situation)
Then go back to the original side.
Etc etc.

Write down the order as you go and then just follow that order from round to round.

There's no break for "roll initiative".

It's basically faster then even side initiative and feels a little more organic.
 

Ace

Adventurer
For a while now, my primary group has been playing other rpgs more often.

Also, for a while now, I have had the feeling that D&D combat seems to take a long time to work through one encounter. However, it really hit me how slow it was (or at least seems to be to me) after the group recently played a mini-campaign of 5E to cover a few sessions that a regular couldn't attend.

Thinking about it more, I started to ponder if D&D combat has always been this way. I'm most familiar with 3rd, 4th, and 5th. All three are relatively quick for the first few levels. As options (and monster HP) start to pile up, encounters slow. What highlights is more is that it becomes slow for reasons which aren't (imo) compelling. If an encounter is a dramatic fight with a tough opponent, involves and epic chase, or something else, it's not quite as noticeable. But taking (sometimes) an hour to beat on some basic critters as part of an opening encounter gets old quickly. When I played primarily D&D, I didn't notice it as much. As myself (and the group) have spent more time with other games, coming back to the D&D combat system feels more and more like a slog beyond around 5th level (and sometimes before that).

In comparison, our primary campaign is currently a FFG Star Wars game. Even with high-point-value characters and some ridiculous dice pools, we were still able to play through several encounters (and still have time to wrap up some RP stuff) in one session. Also, because of how the game functions, there were rarely turns during which nothing happened.

Likewise, for those of you who may be familiar with my posts elsewhere, you may know I play GURPS. Somehow, a game which has a reputation for being "overly complex" still manages to play through combat encounters faster than D&D.


So, my question is three parts:

1) Do you feel D&D combat is slow (or "drags")?

2) If yes, how do you address this in 5E?

3) Has it always been that way? I'm not familiar with very much of 1E or 2E.

1) Not Really though it can be slow if players are allowed to drag their feat when their initiative comes up or if there is lack of perpetration especially at high levels.

2) I think bounded accuracy goes a long way to speeding up combat though variable spells slow it a bit.

3) D&D ranges from fast to clunk depending on how many rules are used. late 2e wandered well into GURPS territory and 1E had many rules weapons vs armor and the like that were often ignored. B/X combat is fast though.

What determines the speed of combat in any game (including GURPS my #2 favorite) are a number of factors.

Player and GM experience, Rules used (GURPS ranges from D&D lite to high realism and high complexity) and to a degree preparation

Some games Rolemaster are in particular are outright too slow to enjoy without preparing. In others like B/X, it doesn't matter.
 

For my part, I don't even play with my old in-person group of friends anymore. They simply can't produce the same excellent gaming experiences that I can get with my new(er), hand-picked group who otherwise don't meet up outside of D&D games. So with my old D&D group it's board games, card games, and barbeque (pre-pandemic anyway) and that's just fine.
I know it probably didn't happen like this, but I am now imagining the 'termination interview', where you explained to your friends that you weren't going to play D&D with them anymore due to their "insufficiently excellent provision of gaming experience" and that you were replacing them with a more rigorously-selected group of D&D-exclusive friends.

Here's a relatively simple question to try and expand on this.

Ignoring the caveats that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and that some play styles mesh better with your own than others (both things I acknowledge and agree with), are some D&D players simply better at D&D than others, in your experience?
Most definitely.
However, an awful lot of that boils down to experience. Outside of the rather rare "that guy" who remains consistently awful no matter how much you talk to them, most people get better at being better at D&D by learning alongside people who are good at it.

And, to put it bluntly, if you deny new players the opportunity to improve themselves, you don't really get to complain about the state of the modern playerbase. ;)
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
Also, has anyone noticed how quiet combats are if taking a perspective relative to character time. Like, a fight lasts for roughly half a minute and nobody says anything to anyone? No "you'll pay for that!" Or "Catch me if you can!" Or "By the power of the moon, I will punish you!"

My point is that roleplay and story movement should be a part of combat.

In fact, I feel people might try to divide the pillars when they weren't meant to be played separately. Give the player wiggle-room to describe how exactly they want to stab the orc and let them be the action hero they imagined themselves to be.

And when you roleplay as a DM, make sure the monsters talk to the players. "How dare you make me bleed?!" "Men, focus your fire on the spellcaster!" "Foolish witch, your charms will not hold me." "I...I see stars." Also have them physically react to their actions. If they are insulted, let your monsters snarl. If they're excited, let them smirk.

Someone said its about the feeling of hopelessness and I agree, but I don't think HP/AC dynamics is the most important aspect. What's important is that your players feel like they're making an impact. Within 3-5 rounds of combat, they don't get a great idea of their hit-chance or damage percentage but they're hoping their attacks had some sort of affect on the creature, even if its more psychological than physical.
 

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