D&D General Hot Take: D&D Has Not Recovered From 2E to 3.0 Transition

I can't speak to 5E, as I don't play, but I will say this having recently run a 2E campaign again, while I know it won't go there again, I very much prefer how manageable a lot of the numbers were in the game, and particularly prefer things like the old system for Saving Throws to how those things were done in 3e and 4e. But I can't imagine them going back to something like THAC0 or attack matrices.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

While the white room theorizing about this is interesting, I can't remember a single time in the last 8 years where a PC has been taken out of a fight by a bad save.
in that case you have never seen a creature use Banishment on someone that dumped or even just passibled there Cha score.

twice in 1 campagain we had a cha 15 (far from dump) get banished round 1 for an entire fight... by the way it was our Barbarian (and main damage dealer). 1 of those two we were not on prime and as such it derailed the entire campaign as we had to go back home find him get him just to keep going with the adventure.

If the target is native to a different plane of existence than the one you’re on, the target is banished with a faint popping noise, returning to its home plane. If the spell ends before 1 minute has passed, the target reappears in the space it left or in the nearest unoccupied space if that space is occupied. Otherwise, the target doesn’t Return.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
in that case you have never seen a creature use Banishment on someone that dumped or even just passibled there Cha score.

twice in 1 campagain we had a cha 15 (far from dump) get banished round 1 for an entire fight... by the way it was our Barbarian (and main damage dealer). 1 of those two we were not on prime and as such it derailed the entire campaign as we had to go back home find him get him just to keep going with the adventure.
It's far less common IME in 5e as well. Twice a campaign? I recall 3.x games where that sort of thing happened multiple times in the same session.

Banishment is a bit of an outlier. The devs are already targeting it in the revision, so I would say this is more a case of an individual spell being too good, rather than something reflective of a systemic issue.
 

Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
I've seen a Banishment TPK as well, you target the Barbarian and the Fighter with their +0 to Charisma save, then the rest of the group is screwed.

Fighters and Barbarians get Con and Str, former is great, latter is mostly useless. They're basically required to get Resilient Wisdom to not get easily mind controlled or paralyzed all the time, but it still leaves Charisma and Intelligence, both likely very low saves for them. Those aren't as prevalent, but it's pretty easy to load up on them, especially Int got some great choices lately.

I have a Wizard at high level as well, started with Wis and Int, two good to have, but he had to take Resilient Con for concentration and all the nasty con saves. Still leaves Dex, that he can deal with most of the time, and Charisma at -1, which will easily annihilate him if any enemy ever bothers to target that.
 

glass

(he, him)
Later in 4E's run, they got real quiet about sales figures.
For most of its run, 4e was making stupendous amounts of money from DDi even if it did not sell a single book.

For me 4ed is the eleven edition.
It took a roll of 11 to succeed something at level 1, 10, 20, and 30 despite the bonus you have.
This is (of course) not remotely true. But ironically it is pretty close to true that it is the eleventh edition (it is actually ninth or tenth, depending on whether you consider RC to be a separate edition - I don't FWIW, I consider it repackaging/revised core of BECM).

Hmmm, Doesn't look all that different to me.
You appear to be assuming "stat" is a constant across the whole table, and it really really isn't.
 

It's far less common IME in 5e as well. Twice a campaign? I recall 3.x games where that sort of thing happened multiple times in the same session.
the campaign was pitched as 13 death knights being the big bads (but of course we found out they had a boss) and as such from jump we were facing things with banishment... it came out a lot starting around level 7... the issue was most of us (a warlock, a rogue and a monk that had awesome in all saves) could make a cha save, and if one failed it the barbarian would hit the death knight for about a billion damage and stop them from concentrating... BUT the two times it hit the barbarian we could not reliably deal enough damage to knock concentration out.
now this would NOT have been as big of a deal if we didn't have the worlds worst rogue...one that got sneak attack about 7 times over 11 levels. so her d4+3 damage from what might as well have been a rusty spork was never a help...
I will say since 1 of those sneak attacks was a crit against a vulnerable death knight and was a surprise bajillion damage so I have to say the few she got DID matter.
to saveBanishment is a bit of an outlier. The devs are already targeting it in the revision, so I would say this is more a case of an individual spell being too good, rather than something reflective of a systemic issue.
maybe, but even adding a 'save every turn' the death knight save DC is 18... if you have a -1 you have a 10% chance of saving, and if you are not prof and have even a +2 (again not a bad stat) you need a 16 so 1 in 4
 

Clint_L

Hero
While the white room theorizing about this is interesting, I can't remember a single time in the last 8 years where a PC has been taken out of a fight by a bad save. A round or 2, sure, but nothing encounter ending. Playing pre 3.0 games it happened regularly. Sure, that is anecdotal, but I can't be the only one seeing this.
This made me try to remember the last time a multi-round effect like petrifaction actually succeeded against a PC in one of my games. And I can't.
 

it still leaves Charisma and Intelligence, both likely very low saves for them. Those aren't as prevalent, but it's pretty easy to load up on them, especially Int got some great choices lately.
Int saves are always the worst in my groups. If we don't have a wizard and/or artificer the best Int we normally see is 13, and often see more then 1 8 (we use array). It is too underused. HOWEVER some of the saves are debilitating.
 

This made me try to remember the last time a multi-round effect like petrifaction actually succeeded against a PC in one of my games. And I can't.
I can. three different times we had no way to reversed 1 time the death chicken thing and twice a medusa. but that was across years and 3 different campaigns.
I don't understand how your group has great saves across the board.
I have 3 player characters right now and only my artificer/bladesinger has great saves and that is only because the DM let us roll stats and i got what I can only call god stats.

I just while getting this post together went back to my last 3 roll20 campaigns I ran and in all 3 every PC had a -1 save and a 0 save... of those 12 Characters 9 of them had one of those as int saves, and 3 had them as cha saves but not 1 of them had less then a +3 con save... now the levels of those campagins were 'highish' with 5 characters being 7th, 4 characters being 9th and 3 characters being 12th.
but then I went into the ravenloft/curse of strahd TPK that got me to stop running a few months ago, and the 3 PCs although the lowest level (5th) we had all 3 had -1 int saves and +0str saves... so in theory any creature that targeted intelligence or str was going to be deadly.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
the campaign was pitched as 13 death knights being the big bads (but of course we found out they had a boss) and as such from jump we were facing things with banishment... it came out a lot starting around level 7... the issue was most of us (a warlock, a rogue and a monk that had awesome in all saves) could make a cha save, and if one failed it the barbarian would hit the death knight for about a billion damage and stop them from concentrating... BUT the two times it hit the barbarian we could not reliably deal enough damage to knock concentration out.
now this would NOT have been as big of a deal if we didn't have the worlds worst rogue...one that got sneak attack about 7 times over 11 levels. so her d4+3 damage from what might as well have been a rusty spork was never a help...
I will say since 1 of those sneak attacks was a crit against a vulnerable death knight and was a surprise bajillion damage so I have to say the few she got DID matter.

maybe, but even adding a 'save every turn' the death knight save DC is 18... if you have a -1 you have a 10% chance of saving, and if you are not prof and have even a +2 (again not a bad stat) you need a 16 so 1 in 4
That's 10% (or 25%) each round. I assume that at least one of these encounters went a minimum of 10 rounds since the character was perma-banished. Meaning that, with a save every round the 10% guy has a 65% chance of making a successful save before the effect becomes permanent. And that's not counting the possibility of their allies disrupting concentration.

For the guy with a 25% chance, it's actually a 94% chance of eventually making the save.

So, yeah, it's a pretty big difference compared to a single 10 or 25% pass/fail save.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I've seen a Banishment TPK as well, you target the Barbarian and the Fighter with their +0 to Charisma save, then the rest of the group is screwed.

Fighters and Barbarians get Con and Str, former is great, latter is mostly useless. They're basically required to get Resilient Wisdom to not get easily mind controlled or paralyzed all the time, but it still leaves Charisma and Intelligence, both likely very low saves for them. Those aren't as prevalent, but it's pretty easy to load up on them, especially Int got some great choices lately.

I have a Wizard at high level as well, started with Wis and Int, two good to have, but he had to take Resilient Con for concentration and all the nasty con saves. Still leaves Dex, that he can deal with most of the time, and Charisma at -1, which will easily annihilate him if any enemy ever bothers to target that.
are you suggesting that it's unreasonable for a character class to have any in combat weaknesses? Superman & the like are not really a good model for a d&d PC.
 

That's 10% (or 25%) each round. I assume that at least one of these encounters went a minimum of 10 rounds since the character was perma-banished. Meaning that, with a save every round the 10% guy has a 65% chance of making a successful save before the effect becomes permanent. And that's not counting the possibility of their allies disrupting concentration.

For the guy with a 25% chance, it's actually a 94% chance of eventually making the save.

So, yeah, it's a pretty big difference compared to a single 10 or 25% pass/fail save.
Oh I'm not saying it wont make ANY difference, and I (so far but I have not tried it in play) like the new change... but it is still a big screw you to banish a character even for a few rounds (most fights don't last 5 turns let alone 10)
 

Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
are you suggesting that it's unreasonable for a character class to have any in combat weaknesses? Superman & the like are not really a good model for a d&d PC.
A weakness that makes you instantly useless if any enemy bothers to target it, yeah, not great.

It's like Superman's Kryptonite, sometimes it instantly depowers him to human level and makes him useless, other times it just weakens him enough that weaker supervillains can face him, but he still has his powers, and he can resist it without enough willpower. The former isn't great for game balance.

Edit: Goes both ways as well, lots of powerful monsters can get annihilated by one spell due to bad saves, and they don't all get LR.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Oh I'm not saying it wont make ANY difference, and I (so far but I have not tried it in play) like the new change... but it is still a big screw you to banish a character even for a few rounds (most fights don't last 5 turns let alone 10)
I'd say if it happens regularly it could be seen that way. If it's only an occasional thing, then not that big a deal. Sometimes characters get taken out of a fight. You get knocked off a high ledge in round 1 and have to spend the rest of the fight climbing back. Or you take a high damage crit in round 1, and no one can heal you. Or you get banished and can't make the save.

It's not much different from a scene that my character isn't around for, or I'm not interested in participating in. I wouldn't call that a "big screw you" either. Sometimes, whether by choice or bad luck, you can't participate for a while. It happens.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
You're overlooking all of the other ways that 3.x had to boost those numbers beyond the bounds of class, such as feats, magic items, etc. For the most part, those don't exist in 5e.
As I expected really. And you might have a total divergence between all the 3 NADs of 2pts in 4e, if you
invest in properly balanced defense.

For most of its run, 4e was making stupendous amounts of money from DDi even if it did not sell a single book.
They made plenty that way from me :) , but I am also one of those with a near full book collection.
This is (of course) not remotely true. But ironically it is pretty close to true that it is the eleventh edition (it is actually ninth or tenth, depending on whether you consider RC to be a separate edition - I don't FWIW, I consider it repackaging/revised core of BECM).
You appear to be assuming "stat" is a constant across the whole table, and it really really isn't.
Indeed not accounting for that stat is deceptive ( in 3e its just 3 stats that need TLC in 4e it is even easier because keeping 1 member of 3 pair of stats higher is much easier than all 6, as 3 is much more amenable to improvement by feat or magic item etc)
 

Redwizard007

Adventurer
in that case you have never seen a creature use Banishment on someone that dumped or even just passibled there Cha score.

twice in 1 campagain we had a cha 15 (far from dump) get banished round 1 for an entire fight... by the way it was our Barbarian (and main damage dealer). 1 of those two we were not on prime and as such it derailed the entire campaign as we had to go back home find him get him just to keep going with the adventure.

There are some major problems with that scenario.

First, How many monsters actually cast Banishment? Death Knight, Arcanaloth, Undying Councilor, Archmage, and maybe a handful I missed. Probably less than a dozen evil creatures total across every source book. If we aren't fighting celestials than that's really about it.

Edit: just saw your campaign premise. 13 Death Knights is a bad, bad day, but they only get a +5 to CON saves. End Edit.

Second, forcing concentration saves. Every. Single. Time. A caster takes damage they must make a DC10, or higher saving throw to maintain concentration. That may only be a 25%ish chance to lose the spell, but it happens multiple times every round.

Third, the range is only 60', so we don't need to worry about him targeting the Wizard, Rogue, or Ranger.

Fourth, Charisma is a common save proficiency. Clerics, Warlocks, Sorcerers, Bards, Monks (level dependant,) and Paladins are making this saving throw more often than not (+8 here vs a DC16 is 65% unbuffed, and those are conservative bonuses and targets for a lvl 10 PC.) The rest will have issues, but if a paladin is fighting alongside the vulnerable frontliners, the save chance increases to somewhere between 30 and 35%. Not great, but certainly good enough to risk for a couple rounds.

On top of all that, we have spells like Bless to buff saves, things like Bane to debuff them. Each throwing another 5-20% on the table.
 
Last edited:

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
A weakness that makes you instantly useless if any enemy bothers to target it, yeah, not great.

It's like Superman's Kryptonite, sometimes it instantly depowers him to human level and makes him useless, other times it just weakens him enough that weaker supervillains can face him, but he still has his powers, and he can resist it without enough willpower. The former isn't great for game balance.

Edit: Goes both ways as well, lots of powerful monsters can get annihilated by one spell due to bad saves, and they don't all get LR.
I think you have unreasonably high expectations of risk mitigation & I would extend that to squishier classes that are made too durable with 5e's reliance on things like death saves+helpless monsters shackled under bounded accuracy.
 

Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
I think you have unreasonably high expectations of risk mitigation & I would extend that to squishier classes that are made too durable with 5e's reliance on things like death saves+helpless monsters shackled under bounded accuracy.
They are usually very durable, especially a tier 4, but they end up pretty much like Superman, extremely mighty head on, but with the clear weaknesses that can easily beat them, like Magic, Kryptonite or Red Sun Radiation, it's just locked away on the kinds of monsters that can target those weaknesses, which aren't many due to a lot just being a brick with a multiattack, but the ones that can will mess you up disporprotionally.

Doesn't help that 5e is full of hard CC that can take away multiple turns on failed saves, you throw a Banishment against a CR 20 Nightwalker, and the thing is gone with no hope unless it has friends left to attack the caster. With monsters you can at least cheat by giving homebrew save proficiencies and LRs, but players are in a really bad spot.
 

First, How many monsters actually cast Banishment? Death Knight, Arcanaloth, Undying Councilor, Archmage, and maybe a handful I missed. Probably less than a dozen evil creatures total across every source book. If we aren't fighting celestials than that's really about it.
yeah plus any monster with spell slots... I mean it is one of the most common cross over spells in the game.
Edit: just saw your campaign premise. 13 Death Knights is a bad, bad day, but they only get a +5 to CON saves. End Edit.
yeah, 13 death knights that rode out of the dark tower every 13 years and game started "it has been just shy of 12 years since the last assault" wasn't a bad bad day as much as a bad bad year and ahlf campaign
Third, the range is only 60', so we don't need to worry about him targeting the Wizard, Rogue, or Ranger.
wait in what world do most of your encounters start more then 60ft away?
Fourth, Charisma is a common save proficiency. Clerics, Warlocks, Sorcerers, Bards, Monks (level dependant,) and Paladins are making this saving throw more often than not (+8 here vs a DC16 is 65% unbuffed, and those are conservative bonuses and targets for a lvl 10 PC.) The rest will have issues, but if a paladin is fighting alongside the vulnerable frontliners, the save chance increases to somewhere between 30 and 35%. Not great, but certainly good enough to risk for a couple rounds.
Cleric warlock sorcerer and bard are all full casters (and some of them can counterspell too) so again target melee characters without prof is the best.
On top of all that, we have spells like Bless to buff saves, things like Bane to debuff them. Each throwing another 5-20% on the table.
I don't know how bane helps with saves, but in general I don't count on bless for every encounter.
 

ehren37

Legend
Yeah can depend on cheese as well.

DCs are 10+spell level+ ability score though in 3E.
Plus School Specialization. Plus Spell Focus. Plus competency bonus you scrounged from a sourcebook. Plus some sacred bonus you scrounged from another splat. Plus a bunch of random untyped bonuses that stack. Plus a balanced breakfast bonus from the halfling's Pancake Flipper feat. Is it nighttime? Another +2 from my Starlight Starmight feat. Plus... /barf

The spreadsheet edition was truly terrible IMO because of all the stacking crap. The caster only has to pump their DC's. The defender has to pump three saves, AC, and still have build resources for actually doing their role.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top