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5E Helping melee combat to be more competitive to ranged.

I get that each player is asked to declare his action. But where does the time savings come in? Do you have each player resolve his action by himself, once you've determined that there are nothing stopping that action from happening?

And do you always assume a PC acts before the goblin (or goblins) that he's attacking and attacked by?

Or what?

(On second thought, perhaps it would be best if you replied in a new thread, but I leave that decision up to you)
I started a new thread here (http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?513971-Simultaneous-initiative&p=6984752#post6984752) which I hope answers your questions above.
 
Sorry, but are you now bringing in (quite high level) spells into this?

And counting repellant blast as an auto-kill doesn't get us anywhere, I'm afraid. Sure its useful in that particular scenario, but going to the lengths where you say you'd rather have repellant blast for the off-chance of doing that over reliable damage?!

As for Sorlocks in general, the comparison can't ever become fair unless you consider the character's defense. After all, the basic attraction of the Crossbow Expert is that she is a fully fledged fighter, with all the sturdiness that comes with that chassi.

I think we will never get anywhere if we don't try to focus on a single case - a player desiring to create a character focussed on dealing damage through weapons. What options are there?

One more thing: I'm sure this isn't the first time where I ask y'all to not merely calculate -5/+10 as 25% less accuracy. That's exactly the simplistic analysis that probably made the WotC designer think the feat was alright in the first place.

Still, you say something I would like you to expand upon. You say SS "isn't responsible for ranged dominance in 5E". You mean there is something else that carries that responsibility? And I think you say you need -5/+10 to make fighters fun. Do you mean that fighters aren't fun in a game without feats, or what?

To me it's obvious -5/+10 must be taken away from archers in particular (because otherwise ranged is equal to melee and therefore superior) and fighters in general (because otherwise every other fighter build is left in the dust, and monster HP melt away far too quickly).

I'm repeating this, because I feel uncertain where you're going with the discussion, and wanted to ensure we're still talking about the same thing.
Oh, come on! If we're talking about 12th level Sharpshooter Crossbow Experts, there's nothing weird or "quite high level" about 4th level Wall of Fire (available at 7th)! (Especially considering that Spike Growth works just as well starting at only 3rd level--although that requires cooperation from a druid, ranger, or lore bard, which I think would start another argument over party cooperation/composition.)

Repelling Blast is quite good in a number of different scenarios--you can't claim that it's being taken only for the specific scenario of knocking enemies off cliffs. It has damage and control applications. Besides, all you asked for was an example of something better than Crossbow Expert/Sharpshooter.

Sorlocks aren't at all fragile. Sorcerer 1/Life Cleric 1/Warlock 2/Sorcerer 8 gives you AC 20 (up to 27 if needed with Shield of Faith + Shield spell) plus 57 spell points (or equivalent spell slots) plus 2 first-level warlock slots (or 4 spell points). Put that together with the intrinsic defensive advantages of ranged combat and you have a PC who isn't fragile in the slightest.

You are trying to limit the discussion to "a single case", but doing so is leading you to false conclusions, like believing that ranged superiority is predicated on Sharpshooter's -5/+10 bonus option. You could disprove your hypotheses with a little effort if you were willing to look at the broader cases, like Sorlocks, but because you've limited yourself to that single case it apparently doesn't occur to you to examine related cases.

Fighters aren't fun (IMO) in a game without feats, because feats are so much a part of their identity. E.g. the Champion with a Healer feat, or the knight with the Heavy Armor Master feat. I think fighters could still potentially be fun in a game where feats can't be taken with normal 4th/8th/12th/16th/19th level ASIs, but if you bar fighters from taking feats with their bonus 6th/14th level ASIs I think they become boring--like a sorcerer who's only allowed to spend sorcery points on extra spells and not metamagics.

I think Sharpshooter and GWM are important for fighters' fun because that's how 20th level fighters can claim the title of "best at-will damage dealer in the game", which gives them a niche. If you were interested purely in tanking you'd be a paladin or paladorc instead. If you eliminate Sharpshooter/GWM then the title of "best at-will damage dealer in the game" goes to someone else like an Eldritch Knight 7/Warlock 2/Rogue 11, which I find a bit silly.

In short--and I don't want to be disrespectful here so I'll try to put this gently--but I think you aren't yet seeing what's actually happening with the 5E game rules, and you're jumping to conclusions about how to "fix" the discrepancy you do see. You admitted yourself that you didn't perceive ranged superiority until a few months ago; I perceived it years ago and I've had a lot of time to see factors which make it even stronger, and ways to exploit it more efficiently.

The source of ranged combat's superiority to melee specialization in 5E is a confluence of factors including (1) very flexible movement rules including mounted combat rules; (2) elimination of "requires +2 or better to hit" and introduction of at-will cantrips/elimination of old-style Magic Resistance, which removes one of the main factors that used to make melee combat necessary; (3) introduction of richer and more effective defensive maneuvers, especially Dodge; (4) harsh range limits on monsters' abilities like Medusa gaze which rewards not getting into melee; (5) bounded accuracy and strong summoning spells which makes it both simple and effective to flood the enemy with weak meat shields--without this it would be viable for an enemy to simply ignore a ranger's or sorlock's meatshields and go after their master, but under 5E rules the meat shields and ranged attacks synergize in a way that melee attacks do not, especially given concentration rules; (6) light/obscurement rules which make it possible to gain advantage at range as easily as (but differently than) when in melee; (7) feats like Sharpshooter and Spell Sniper which synergize with Dodging rules to allow e.g. one tank to hold a chokepoint while all the ranged PCs behind him slaughter the enemy with ranged attacks without a penalty; (8) cheap equipment, cantrips (mold earth), and tactics for impairing enemy mobility; (9) fighting styles (Archery) which synergize better with Sharpshooter feat than melee styles (Dueling, Defense, Great Weapon Fighting) synergize with melee feats (GWM, Shield Master, Polearm Master).

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Only a few of the factors are even tangentially related to feats, and the -5/+10 aspect of Sharpshooter really doesn't even factor in at all.
 
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CapnZapp

Adventurer
Oh, come on! If we're talking about 12th level Sharpshooter Crossbow Experts, there's nothing weird or "quite high level" about 4th level Wall of Fire (available at 7th)!
Sorry if I didn't make myself clear. Obviously a spellcaster in a level 12 scenario can cast this spell.

But the character can't.

I realize you consider a sorlock capable of casting this spell as a viable option to a Crossbow Expert (or any other fighter archetype). But to me, it only muddles the issue.

Your point might well be that fighters can't compete with spellcasters; the linear fighter quadratic wizard thing. And you might well be right - just like people clamored for bad-ass Legolas fighters, they've been clamoring for spellswords with powerful magic.

And more to the point: just like I'm claiming they forgot to make sure there's still a reason to create melee builds if restrictions on ranged are removed, you might claim they forgot to make sure there's still a reason to create martial builds at all if magical builds can still be sturdy and robust enough.

It just feels like a completely different discussion to me....
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
You admitted yourself that you didn't perceive ranged superiority until a few months ago; I perceived it years ago and I've had a lot of time to see factors which make it even stronger, and ways to exploit it more efficiently.
Well, that was a bit of a cheap shot, wasn't it... ;)

Of course I didn't mean ranged superiority in its general sense. That much has been obvious for long. I specifically meant it took me a while to realize exactly how many checks on ranged builds WotC has done away with in this edition.

What I mean is that any reasonably effiency-minded player will create a character able to project force at range, unless the game rules actively rewards melee builds.

I don't deny (or even mind) that ranged is superior in general. I just don't want it to be the go-to option in my D&D. For that to happen, there must be a considerable cost to ranged capability.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
You are trying to limit the discussion to "a single case", but doing so is leading you to false conclusions, like believing that ranged superiority is predicated on Sharpshooter's -5/+10 bonus option. You could disprove your hypotheses with a little effort if you were willing to look at the broader cases, like Sorlocks, but because you've limited yourself to that single case it apparently doesn't occur to you to examine related cases.
What I am trying to do is enable other fighter builds than ranged builds in particular and other builds than GWM/SS in general.

Your message seems to make that a hopeless cause.

We can look at it from two angles.

One, the regular sword n board fighter is the default.
Two, the hyper tricked out SS/CE fighter is the default, if even that (if not the ultra-minmaxed Sorlock or whatever).

I far prefer angle #1, for two main reasons:
a) if the sword n board fighter is viable (instead of hopelessly behind) this means pretty much ALL fighting styles are viable. This means the game offers great variety and many options, even if you're sensitive to being effective.
b) monsters remain challenging much longer
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
The source of ranged combat's superiority to melee specialization in 5E is a confluence of factors including (1) very flexible movement rules including mounted combat rules; (2) elimination of "requires +2 or better to hit" and introduction of at-will cantrips/elimination of old-style Magic Resistance, which removes one of the main factors that used to make melee combat necessary; (3) introduction of richer and more effective defensive maneuvers, especially Dodge; (4) harsh range limits on monsters' abilities like Medusa gaze which rewards not getting into melee; (5) bounded accuracy and strong summoning spells which makes it both simple and effective to flood the enemy with weak meat shields--without this it would be viable for an enemy to simply ignore a ranger's or sorlock's meatshields and go after their master, but under 5E rules the meat shields and ranged attacks synergize in a way that melee attacks do not, especially given concentration rules; (6) light/obscurement rules which make it possible to gain advantage at range as easily as (but differently than) when in melee; (7) feats like Sharpshooter and Spell Sniper which synergize with Dodging rules to allow e.g. one tank to hold a chokepoint while all the ranged PCs behind him slaughter the enemy with ranged attacks without a penalty; (8) cheap equipment, cantrips (mold earth), and tactics for impairing enemy mobility; (9) fighting styles (Archery) which synergize with Sharpshooter feat than melee styles (Dueling, Defense, Great Weapon Fighting) synergize with melee feats (GWM, Shield Master, Polearm Master).

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Only a few of the factors are even tangentially related to feats, and the -5/+10 aspect of Sharpshooter really doesn't even factor in at all.
I don't see your point here Hemlock.

The only way I can understand what you're saying is if you're saying "stop trying to make 5E work like the D&D we knew; 5E is a game of ranged superiority and there's nothing you can do about so why not enjoy it for what it is".

:confused:

(I mean, your list of points is definitely talk-worthy; I just need to understand where you're coming from)
 

seebs

Explorer
That is a valid question, Seebs.

If you can come up with another source of great damage, or even a build where something else is more valuable than damage; I'm all ears, because we haven't (so far).
Ignore the "other source of damage".

Say you have a base to-hit bonus of +6, your base damage is average 5 points with a +3 damage modifier, you have a -5/+10 ability, and you have the ability to "mitigate" the -5, which is to say, you have the ability to add +5 to hit somehow.

You now have three options: +6 to hit, average damage 8. +1 to hit, average damage 18. And +11 to hit, average damage 8, using the +5 without the -5 to offset it. The +6/8 only beats +1/18 if AC is 19 or 20, and breaks even at AC 18. But +11/+8 beats +1/18 from 15 and up, ties at 14, and is only worse against 11-13.

In short, you're disregarding that -5 because you "have mitigated it", but you're not considering what benefits you'd gain if you just went with the bonuses you're using to "mitigate" it, and hit a heck of a lot more often. Furthermore, hitting more often can improve things for PCs by making combat less swingy. And that's not even taking into account overkill. You get exactly zero benefit from damage done beyond what it takes to kill something. If something has <10 hp left, you're unconditionally better off not taking that -5, because hitting it will kill it anyway. And things may well spend some time with <10 hp left.
 
Well, that was a bit of a cheap shot, wasn't it... ;)

Of course I didn't mean ranged superiority in its general sense. That much has been obvious for long. I specifically meant it took me a while to realize exactly how many checks on ranged builds WotC has done away with in this edition.

What I mean is that any reasonably effiency-minded player will create a character able to project force at range, unless the game rules actively rewards melee builds.

I don't deny (or even mind) that ranged is superior in general. I just don't want it to be the go-to option in my D&D. For that to happen, there must be a considerable cost to ranged capability.
This is exactly the point I perceived two years ago (IIRC as soon as I bought a copy of the MM) and have been dealing with in one way or another ever since, both in theorycrafted Internet discussions and at the table.

I doubt I was anywhere near the first one to notice it--it's a pretty obvious feature of 5E. I remember [MENTION=5834]Celtavian[/MENTION] started a discussion around that time about how crippling the concentration limits were because spellcasters "have" to spend their concentration on getting the melee guys into combat with the Fly spell, and a number of people on that thread were like, "Dude, spend your concentration on something else. Ranged weapons are where it's at now."

Pointing out that you're late to the party isn't meant as a cheap shot--but you are late to the party, and so someone who's been dealing with this all along is entitled to look a bit askance when you arrogantly announce that you have discovered a major issue and also one simple trick that fixes it completely. So far you haven't seemed to listen to anyone who tells you how they've dealt with the issue at their tables, whether by encounter modification (I'll bet it's not an issue at [MENTION=6788736]Flamestrike[/MENTION]'s table for example, because he'll just make all the monsters pop out of the dungeon walls within melee range of the party; I bet [MENTION=9200]Hawkeye[/MENTION] has done occasional encounters in windy conditions or underwater to impose disadvantage on ranged attacks; probably everyone has done the occasional encounter with invisible stalkers or earth elementals/bulettes/other creatures that burrow) or monster modification (e.g. monsters with Missile Catch abilities a la monks; flying monsters like dragons that can close in a single round by dive-bombing the PCs; Medusas that can turn you to stone at a thousand paces if your vision is keen enough) or terrain modification or rule modification (a number of people have shared suggestions in this thread, some overlapping with yours and some not).

If you actually want to solve the issue at your table, maybe some humility is called for? If you instead want to shape the future of 5E by evangelizing your viewpoint, then come to Seattle instead and buy Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford a nice dinner while you evangelize to them--because Enworld threads sure aren't going to influence that.
 
I don't see your point here Hemlock.

The only way I can understand what you're saying is if you're saying "stop trying to make 5E work like the D&D we knew; 5E is a game of ranged superiority and there's nothing you can do about so why not enjoy it for what it is".

:confused:

(I mean, your list of points is definitely talk-worthy; I just need to understand where you're coming from)
Look, CapnZapp. I don't think "the game we knew" is even the same game--I never played 3E or 3.5, and yet I often see you reference it as your baseline edition. I'm not interested in trying to make 5E work like 3E; I do have some neat things from AD&D that I've imported into 5E (Magic Resistance), and others that I wish I could import but haven't yet found a way to do so idiomatically (golem immunities to magic; higher-level weapon immunities).

So there's a bit of a pronoun problem here. There is no "we".

I'm not necessarily telling you to stop trying to make it work like the game you knew, whatever that is; but I've listed some of the factors you need to be aware of before you start tinkering with the game design. In previous posts I've listed other things you could do, separately or in combination, so clearly I'm not telling you that it's futile to try to make melee fighters relevant.

I'm approaching this thread like a powergamer or a game designer wearing a powergamer's hat to evaluate his game. That's where I'm coming from. If you were asking for advice from me wearing my DM-as-adventure-builder's hat, I'd be telling you to plan an adventure in the Vertical Cliffs of Colossus in which the PCs pursue a trail up through caves up through (and sometimes on) a cliff face past the Djinn Guardians of Rao to reach the Jade McGuffin of Humanityness which can save Lorella's baby from lycanthropy, all while being pursued by a cult of earth creatures who can phase through the rocks just like earth elementals. In that adventure, beefy sword-fighters will be as valuable as anyone, maybe even more so depending on what kind of sword-fighters they are.

But this thread is about rules, so I've been giving mostly rule advice on what you can do on a systemic level to alter the incentives of your game.

P.S. Oh yeah, I forgot one major thing you can do to incentivize sword-and-shield fighting: hand out a +3 shield that prevents you from dropping to 0 HP once per long rest (like the half-orc ability) while you're using it. Bam, done. I tend to overlook magic items as a motivator because I hate magic items, but they do unquestionably shape player incentives.
 
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guachi

Villager
As far as I can tell, [MENTION=12731]CapnZapp[/MENTION] was giving average damage, not maximum:

5* (1d6 handxbow +15 feat & DEX) = 5*18.5 rounds off to 90 for the hand crossbow expert (the maximum would be 105, but maximums aren't that significant to this analysis), and 4* (1d8 sword +5 STR) = 38 which CapnZapp has rounded down to 30 rather than up to 40.

In your post you have calculated the averages but for some reason described them as maximums. I'm sure that [MENTION=12731]CapnZapp[/MENTION] has not "intentionally butchered the maths" - rather, I suspect that an error was made in calculating the sword damge (I am guessing that CapnZapp accidentally calculated as if it was 1d6 rather than 1d8, which would give 34 which might reasonably be rounded down to 30).
The damage Zapp and I calculated was the average damage assuming the maximum number of attacks hit. He even says he's not taking hit probability into account and neither am I. He listed it as 90 and 30. By the formula he used, this is wrong. The sword damage should be 38. And we can't even take that number seriously as he didn't give the sword guy dueling fighting style, which would increase his damage by 8 to 46. The difference between 30 and 46 isn't trivial. It's over 50% higher than what he calculated.
 

seebs

Explorer
The damage Zapp and I calculated was the average damage assuming the maximum number of attacks hit. He even says he's not taking hit probability into account and neither am I.
If you're not taking hit probability into account, then you are definitely getting bogus data, MHO.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
But did you have anything specific to PF in mind?

To me it feels strange to reference PF if it is a basic d20 mechanism.
No, I only mentioned Pathfinder since it was referenced in the post I was responding to, although I'm certain that the designers were drawing on Pathfinder experience when they decided to get rid of fiddly +1 modifiers.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
[MENTION=6787650]Hemlock[/MENTION]: I'm getting the feeling we're getting derailed here.

I come into this with the assumptions that D&D is a game where creating a melee build is a perfectly viable choice (from an effectiveness POV). Finding out 5E isn't like that is a bug in my book. I want to fix that bug.

What would be a minimal set of changes that would restore melee builds to their former place?

But first, I need to understand your own list:
(1) Flexible movement. Guessing you're talking about the way everyone can do a "full attack" and still move here. But how does this encourage ranged over melee? That you can "withdraw" while you still keep up your rate of fire?

(1b) Mounted movement. While I see your point, I simply consider mounts a special case of the general adage "don't give your party a flying carpet or ground-based encounters will become trivial". I guess I'm featuring enough city/sewer/dungeon/underdark encounters for this to never become a factor in my game, but I'll give you that if it is, it is very hard to shut down.

But mostly, I consider "flexible movement" a huge win for 5E. Movement is fun. Movement is good for the game. I would very much like to solve the ranged issue without messing with movement.

(2) "elimination of "requires +2 or better to hit" You mean how older editions made monsters immune to ranged fire (unless magical ammunition)? Yeah, well, this hasn't been a huge issue to me. I'll have to take your word for it. I'll admit it's hard to swallow because the solution feels so much like an outright prohibition on ranged. I'll far prefer to make melee competetive to ranged than to outlaw ranged.

(2a) I completely agree 5E style cantrips are a problem, for many reasons. While I understand they're there to free spellcasters from using bows badly, I have fundamental issues with allowing a character with, say, Firebolt, to essentially turn his finger into a welding torch. Builds that turn cantrips into competetive ranged options can't be allowed to remain if SS is removed.

(3) Sorry but you'll have to walk me through your reasoning here. How does Dodge mean ranged is better than melee?

(4) I agree that killing Medusas is too simple if you stay out of 30 ft range. This is indicative of the larger issue; that monsters are designed with the assumptions melee will be joined, when in reality it is much better to simply not use melee. Despite me disliking the "DMs can fix everything" argument, I'll have to say this is such a special case I'm more than happy to fix this particular issue on a case by case basis. Just as long as we make melee more viable in general, I can handle any Medusas...

(5) Summoning spells break the game, no doubt about it. But I don't see how I can constructively fix this in the context of ranged vs melee. Sure summoning spells needs to be nerfed, but that is IMO best handled as a separate discussion. Summoning is in this regard special case, somewhat like mounted.

6) You mean that you gain advantage every time you shoot without being seen. I guess this will start to sound like a broken record, but I've given up on 5E Stealth as incomprehensible.

Sure ranged fire is very good any time you can shoot out of the shadows, as it were. Not sure this is particular to 5E, though, other than the specifics of the bonus gained. I mean, is this fixable? Do we even want to fix this? (My solution is to acknowledge that advantage at ranged isn't hard to come by and therefore not so valuable that it can't be handed out by a feat - see my future proposed Sharpshooter)

7) Well, in general, chokepoints have been a hugely effective tactic in every fantasy game. You're not wrong, I'm just not sure how this affects 5E more than other games or editions.

What you could do is say you gain disadvantage both from being in melee yourself and from your target being in melee (with somebody you prefer not to hit). Problem is: that latter rule is actively unfun for archers, so I kind of understand a game that doesn't enforce this.

But here we agree - allowing a build to completely negate effects of range and cover (and proximity to melee, both archer and target) is probably not a good idea if you want your game to prominently feature melee...

8) Not sure what "cheap equipment" means? Caltrops?

As for Mold Earth, if your experience is it gives parties battlefield control without resource expenditure, I'll keep an eye out when and if it ever enters play in my campaigns.

9) I completely agree the +2 to hit sticks out, not only because it effectively means that while GWM is -5/+10 SS is only -3/+10.

So it's not that I don't see your points.

But after having gone through the list I still feel these points only explain some of it. Meaning that even if all of them were somehow "fixed" (in a way favoring melee or disfavoring ranged) the crux of the issue would still remain:

Z1) ranged can dump Strength with few ill effects. Melee can't dump Dexterity as easily.

Z2) the +10 damage part.

While you might have a point in saying "you can't remove the +10 dmg part or every fighter will be surpassed by sorlocks or paladins or whatever", I can't see how removing the +10 dmg part from ranged builds can have this effect (unless, of course, you have already written off melee builds altogether).

Besides, keeping +10, even if only for GWM still leaves the issue of what about the other builds unresolved. The knife throwers, drizzts, zorros, swords'n'boards.

My current thinking is to sacrifice unlimited cantrips for various reasons. What you're telling me is that this might be good for yet another reason, namely to prevent all the minmaxers from simply abandoning the ranged fighter for the eldritch blast instead.

I am aware this still doesn't help with the paladin comparison, whose nova capability remains scary. But at least it's a melee build. I'll guess one step at a time.

The problem with allowing +10 to remain is that any damage-dealing build needs it, thereby making weapons other than greatweapons and hand crossbows non-factors. And it certainly doesn't help us run MM monsters as is if players can create builds that slice through them twice as fast than other builds.

So, I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just not convinced -5/+10 is such a small issue, or that leaving it in is a good thing.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Ignore the "other source of damage".

Say you have a base to-hit bonus of +6, your base damage is average 5 points with a +3 damage modifier, you have a -5/+10 ability, and you have the ability to "mitigate" the -5, which is to say, you have the ability to add +5 to hit somehow.

You now have three options: +6 to hit, average damage 8. +1 to hit, average damage 18. And +11 to hit, average damage 8, using the +5 without the -5 to offset it. The +6/8 only beats +1/18 if AC is 19 or 20, and breaks even at AC 18. But +11/+8 beats +1/18 from 15 and up, ties at 14, and is only worse against 11-13.

In short, you're disregarding that -5 because you "have mitigated it", but you're not considering what benefits you'd gain if you just went with the bonuses you're using to "mitigate" it, and hit a heck of a lot more often. Furthermore, hitting more often can improve things for PCs by making combat less swingy. And that's not even taking into account overkill. You get exactly zero benefit from damage done beyond what it takes to kill something. If something has <10 hp left, you're unconditionally better off not taking that -5, because hitting it will kill it anyway. And things may well spend some time with <10 hp left.
No, you're still overconfidently claiming GWM/SS is only as good as the design would indicate when you do not take crafty party cooperation into the picture.

The +10 part is free damage you could never otherwise attain. This means it's worth it to make sure it frequently happens.

If you have seen a Crossbow Expert reliably hit four out of five shots even at targets as high as AC 18, you would too realize -5/+10 needs to go - it simply blows any other weapons combo (dualwield like Drizzt, "duel-wield" like Zorro or sword'n'board) away.

Your math isn't incorrect. It's unimaginative.

Try calculating the case when the character shoots five bolts per round at +12 to hit (+7 after subtracting -5), has advantage to all of them, and has access to a couple of Precision Attack superiority dice to turn misses into hits.

Again I ask you if there is any alternative source to probably +40 damage you'd recommend?

Feel free to include other uses of the feat slot as well as other maneuvres. As for the advantage part I will immediately concede its probably not practically possible to explore all alternatives.

But I don't have to. I just need to get you to agree that the WotC designer probably didn't take the full impact into account when the -5/+10 mechanism was greenlighted.

I mean, he or she probably thought the mechanism would only be statistically worthwhile to really low AC targets.

The way my player can dish out 60 or 70 damage per round can't be said to be anything other than broken. The part most fundamentally responsible for this isn't the advantage or the battlemaster superiority dice.

It's the -5/+10 mechanism. Remove this, and all the other tactics provide gains that are much more commensurate with other options.
 
If you have seen a Crossbow Expert reliably hit four out of five shots even at targets as high as AC 18, you would too realize -5/+10 needs to go - it simply blows any other weapons combo (dualwield like Drizzt, "duel-wield" like Zorro or sword'n'board) away.
It's this kind of arrogance that needs to go, CapnZapp.

Other people aren't all benighted ignoramuses who disagree with your opinions solely because they haven't yet seen the elephant. Some of them have seen as much or more of the elephant than you have, and have their own reasons for not sharing your opinions.

I'm done with this thread, folks.
 

seebs

Explorer
No, you're still overconfidently claiming GWM/SS is only as good as the design would indicate when you do not take crafty party cooperation into the picture.

The +10 part is free damage you could never otherwise attain. This means it's worth it to make sure it frequently happens.
I can't figure out what this is supposed to mean. I presented actual numbers. You're presenting handwavium.

If you can get a +N to hit, yes, that's worth doing. Whether or not you're at +10 damage.

If you have seen a Crossbow Expert reliably hit four out of five shots even at targets as high as AC 18, you would too realize -5/+10 needs to go - it simply blows any other weapons combo (dualwield like Drizzt, "duel-wield" like Zorro or sword'n'board) away.
If you're hitting four out of five shots against AC 18, you're at +14 to hit. Or you have advantage, and no one was able to counter it, and you have +8 to hit. And if you're doing that while at -5, that means you got to a +19 or +13 bonus, respectively. So, 20 in attack stat, +6 proficiency, and a +3 weapon gets you +14. Bless or the like gets you +1d4. +19 seems... Pretty hard to get.

Your math isn't incorrect. It's unimaginative.

Try calculating the case when the character shoots five bolts per round at +12 to hit (+7 after subtracting -5), has advantage to all of them, and has access to a couple of Precision Attack superiority dice to turn misses into hits.
Okay, now you've offered actual numbers. So, let's see. At +7 to hit, against AC 18, you need an 11, which means 75% hit rate. At +12 to hit, you need a 6, which means 93.8% hit rate. Precision attack dice? Okay, but now you're burning a resource. And advantage assumes that enemies have no way at all to impose disadvantage, but I seem to recall there's ways to get there.

So, if your base to-hit is +12, and you're going against something AC 18, sure, you still get a pretty high hit rate. But +12 is pretty high! What level characters are we talking about here? What are they attacking, specifically? How many hit points do the targets have?

Again I ask you if there is any alternative source to probably +40 damage you'd recommend?
You're not including base damage, and I think that makes the numbers useless to compare. The guy shooting at +12 with advantage gets about 94% hits instead of 75%. If your base damage is one, then per 100 shots, he does 94 points, and the guy getting 75% hits at 11 damage does 825, so obviously that guy's ahead. What if base damage is 10? Then it's 94 shots at 10 points against 75 at 20. Higher damage is still way ahead... But it's no longer nearly 10x better. If base damage were 40? The guy hitting 94% of the time for 40 points does more damage than the guy hitting 75% of the time for 50.

Now, realistically, base damage is probably not 40. But then, attack bonus isn't necessarily +12, either.

And if you don't have advantage, and you've got +12 (or +7 with the feat), you're now looking at 75% hits without the feat, and 50% hits with the feat. It is trivially obvious that now breakeven is with base damage 20 (75% * 20 == 50% * 30).

But I don't have to. I just need to get you to agree that the WotC designer probably didn't take the full impact into account when the -5/+10 mechanism was greenlighted.

I mean, he or she probably thought the mechanism would only be statistically worthwhile to really low AC targets.
It may not have been tested in higher-level play. At lower levels, when to-hit bonuses are significantly lower, it doesn't seem like it's nearly as appealing.

The way my player can dish out 60 or 70 damage per round can't be said to be anything other than broken. The part most fundamentally responsible for this isn't the advantage or the battlemaster superiority dice.

It's the -5/+10 mechanism. Remove this, and all the other tactics provide gains that are much more commensurate with other options.
I think you're partially mistaken here. Advantage has a much larger proportionate effect on success chances when you need higher rolls to hit, and a -5 to-hit penalty means higher target numbers on your dice. Advantage is a 50% increase in chances when you need an 11 or better; it's a 95% increase in chances when you need a 20. At +12 base against AC 18, it moves you from needing a 6 or better (advantage increases hits by 25%) to needing an 11 or better (advantage increases hits by 50%). So part of what's happening here is that the to-hit penalties are specifically amplifying the impact of advantage!

And yeah, it seems like the -5/+10 is probably better than it should be. Just off the top of my head, it might well be sufficient to just reduce the bonus to +5, since that roughly matches how it scaled in other systems, but... I think you're sorta overstating the impact.
 
Hmm. So when you talk about "mitigating" the -5 part of the -5/+10 things, how are you contrasting this with "what you'd get if you used those same tactics to gain plusses, and didn't offset them with the -5 to hit"?

Say you have a tactic which allows you to get +5 to hit, precisely offsetting the -5. Is taking the -5/+10 necessarily better than keeping the +5?
If you're not taking hit probability into account, then you are definitely getting bogus data, MHO.
If the hit rate is changing (as in toggling -5 to hit on and off, etc) then absolutely.

That said, the higher the base bonus to hit, the less impact on DPR the -5 has. In your post 667, you figured a base bonus to hit of +6 (you also seem to have compared +11 to hit with +1, that is, factoring in the "mitigation" in the first case but not the second).

So let's recalculate that first:

Say you have a base to-hit bonus of +6, your base damage is average 5 points with a +3 damage modifier, you have a -5/+10 ability, and you have the ability to "mitigate" the -5, which is to say, you have the ability to add +5 to hit somehow.

You now have three options: +6 to hit, average damage 8. +1 to hit, average damage 18. And +11 to hit, average damage 8, using the +5 without the -5 to offset it. The +6/8 only beats +1/18 if AC is 19 or 20, and breaks even at AC 18. But +11/+8 beats +1/18 from 15 and up, ties at 14, and is only worse against 11-13.
The second option should be +6, 18 (ie the -5 penalty has been "mitigated"). What you've shown is that the is a range of AC (zombies and the like) where even -10 to hit for +10 to damage would be a good trade off!

Anyway, +6 to hit for 18 damage beats +11, 8 at AC 22 and below: vs AC 22, the +11, 8 damage attacker hits half the time, for DPR of 4; the +6, 18 attacker hits one-quarter of the time for DPR of 4.5.

AC less than 23 are most ACs in the MM (certainly vs 1st level PCs).

Now let's increase the PCs' level a bit, by changing the baseline to +10 (+4 prof, +5 stat, +1 magic), and see what happens.

With a "mitigation" of +5 to hit available, options become; +15 to hit, 11 damage (5 +stat + magic); +10 to hit, 21 damage (with -5/+10).

Roughly speaking, the first option will beat the second if the -5 penalty halves the chance to hit, which is to say (roughly) if 11+ is needed to hit, which is to say (roughly) that AC is 26 or better. Vs ACs of 25, the +15, 11 attacker will hit 11/20, for DPR just over 6; the +10, 21 attacker will hit 3/10, for just a bit more over 6. (Note that, though the bonus to hit has stepped up by 4, the optimisation threshold has stepped up only by 3, because the base damage has grown and so +10 is a proportionately small boost.)

ACs less than 26 are most of the ACs in the MM even vs high level PCs.

In other words, if you can "mitigate" the -5 by getting a +5 to hit, and your main concern is DPR, you should use your -5/+10. (Yes, there may be issues with overkill; or a particular reason that you have to hit now - but I don't think those semi-edge cases detract from the main picture.)

Advantage has a much larger proportionate effect on success chances when you need higher rolls to hit, and a -5 to-hit penalty means higher target numbers on your dice. Advantage is a 50% increase in chances when you need an 11 or better; it's a 95% increase in chances when you need a 20.
Just to spell this out a bit - if you need a 20 to hit, you will miss 19 in 20 time, and hence hit 1 in 20 time. With advantage, you will miss 19^2/400 times, with is to say 361/400 - so you will hit 39/400 times, or near-enough to 1 in 10. That's very close to a doubling of the chance to hit, but I don't think it's very helpful for thinking about typical DPR calcuations in modern D&D, because the design of 4e and 5e is such that it is very rare for the players to need to roll 20 to hit - to hit numbers down around 12 or so (eg 1st level characters trying to hit AC 17 and 18) are far more typical.

A -5 penalty changes a to-hit number of 12 to one of 17, which takes to hit rates from 9 in 20 to 4 in 20; that is to say, a bit less than half. Provided +10 to hit is a bit more than doubling the damage (which it is if base damage is 8: 18/8 = 9/4, which is the reciprocal of 4/9) then nothing has been lost (on average). Now at 1st level I think worries about overkill, and about killing this thing now (ie at least a moderately steep discounting for next-round kills, when some PCs have hp in the single digits), are pretty salient - and so +5/-10 isn't that attractive. But it is more likely to come on line at mid-levels anyway, and I think by then it does get more appealing, especialy as to hit bonuses might have grown by +3 (stat, prof, magic item) while ACs, due to bounded accuracy, may be more static.

Between 3e's Power Attack and 5e, the designers decided that getting to choose the penalty/bonus for each attack wasn't as fun/balanced for some reason. I think it was 4e that moved to the current rule, and 5e just stuck with it figuring that it works better for most games.
4e's Power Attack is -2 to hit, +2 per tier to damage. I've never seen it used - I haven't checked the maths in any detail, but my gut feel is that (i) hitting in 4e is probably more important than 5e, because you're more likely to be carrying non-damage riders on your hit, even as a non-caster; (ii) the characters who get the hit bonuses that would mitigate the -2 (eg rogues with daggers) have sufficiently big damage totals that the damage bonus is not proportionately significant enough.

Eg if your hit chance is, by default, 13 in 20 then -2 drops it to 11/20. So the bonus to damage has to be at least a two-elevenths increase to balance out. But most heroic tier PCs will do more than 11 points of damage: eg a rogue might do 2.5 from dagger, 7 from adding two stats, +7 from sneak attack; a fighter might do 5 from weapon, 4 from strength, 3 from other buffs; etc. There are non-DPR-focused epic builds that do less than 33 on average, but they are probably doing other things on a hit which mean they don't want to reduce their hit chance so badly.

In other words, I think the 4e feat is not that good.

I'm done with this thread, folks.
That would be a pity.

I agree that [MENTION=12731]CapnZapp[/MENTION] is, to some extent, missing the wood for the trees, but it's still an interesting thread with some worthwhile ideas being tossed around.

Rather than looking at nerfing the -5/+10 (and thereby nerfing fighter damage into irrelevance) the focus could be on making melee more viable - this also has the benefit of helping make the non-GW/SS options for fighter viable (eg if melee is more of a thing, than melee-range battlefield control becomes relatively more important).

Maybe closing rules need to be looked at. Or even doubling the length of a round, and hence doubling movement rates, but leaving everything else (including rates and ranges of attacks) unchanged?
 
If it's worth posting, then it's worth posting three times, right? (Alternatively: wonky internet connection.)
 
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seebs

Explorer
You're right that I did part of that math wrong. If your base is +6/8, you get +1/18 as an option. Then if you can "mitigate", you now have +6/18 or +11/8. And +11/8 is not generally as good damage-wise as +6/18.

I do think it's worth looking at other things that affect damage. If you've got a rogue getting sneak attack, for instance, +6d6 damage on a hit hugely alters outcomes; that's +21 damage. If we replace 8/18 with 29/39 damage, +11 at 29 average damage is better than +6 at 39 average damage for anything AC 13 or higher; basically, the only point at which the to-hit penalty comes out ahead is when part of the to-hit bonus is useless because one always misses. Of course, rogue isn't getting Extra Attack.

So some of the benefit of the -5/+10 is specific to being able to get lots of attacks which are otherwise relatively low damage. The higher the base damage is, the less significant the +10 is.

And since bounded accuracy means that Mooks Are Viable, it's pretty easy to just toss people a field full of 8hp targets, where doing 20+ damage to them is a waste of effort.
 

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