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D&D 5E How is 5E like 4E?

If you're only going to play if you can play that one precious character, then you should be writing stories with them as the protagonist not putting them into an RPG where character death is a possibility. If the stance is you get to play that one character and they're walking around with infinite plot armor or you as a player walk...then there's the door. You're clearly not interested in playing an RPG. Is that the player equivalent of the frustrated novelist DM who railroads everything into their precious preplanned story? The frustrated novelist player who can't handle their character being at risk?
One of the big weaknesses of D&D as an RPG is the lack of consequences. Hit points are almost consequence free - you heal fast (in any edition; even in 1e you "healed" in the time a marathon runner takes to recover), and other than the generic vanilla level drain there are few other mechanical consequences while character growth is pretty linear. And death is a boring consequence, turning in your character for a fresh and pristine one rather than making your character more interesting.

If I'm playing WFRP things are very different. I take actual wounds and injuries from combat and my character at the end of the campaign probably has fewer fingers than they started out with. They've also lost sanity and may have taken corruption and mutation as a direct consequence of the rules. And they bounce from career to career, growing organically rather than fairly linearly, levelling up as they go. Apocalypse World is similar but one of the options for when you die is to come back having changed career, the former town boss now out for revenge as a gunlugger.

The consequences in D&D happen in general despite the rules rather than because of them. It's a good reason to play games other than D&D.
 

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Where do "no drama" and "no tension"come from? The PC can't die in Apocalypse World, unless the player explicitly decides so, and in all AW games I've run or played there were tons of drama and tons of tension.
Technical correction: you can only tick each box ones. Therefore your fourth death always kills you. Of course dying four times is pretty impressive.
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff
Technical correction: you can only tick each box ones. Therefore your fourth death always kills you. Of course dying four times is pretty impressive.
If I remember correctly, that's AW 1E rule. In AW 2E, when the PC dies, the player can either choose to let them die for good, or take -1 hard +1 weird, or just grab a different playbook and change something about the character forever.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
Action heroes don't die unless they sacrifice themselves with very rare exceptions. There can still be drama and tension in the movies.

What you do need is a real chance of failing the objective.

I do agree though that character death should be on the table of the players keep pushing.

When I DM in most adventures players know they can retreat to rest thereby saving their character but losing the objective. Or they can push on and risk their lives. The key here is that the risk is telegraphed. And because they know this will happen they try their best to spend as few resources as they can each battle so they don't get out into that situation. This every battle has drama and tension no matter how small or random.
 

If I remember correctly, that's AW 1E rule. In AW 2E, when the PC dies, the player can either choose to let them die for good, or take -1 hard +1 weird, or just grab a different playbook and change something about the character forever.
Having checked 2e's ambiguous. The rulebook doesn't say you can take each only once - but the playbooks use circles to mark rather than dots to select one.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Where do "no drama" and "no tension"come from? The PC can't die in Apocalypse World, unless the player explicitly decides so, and in all AW games I've run or played there were tons of drama and tons of tension. My Swords Under The Sun, where one must either try really hard or be a complete moron to die in a meaningless conflict, is a goddamn suffering simulator, where everyone loses everything they hold dear and envy the dead, who don't have to suffer anymore.

So, no, not wanting the character to die is not the same as not wanting drama or tension. Death often resolves all drama and tension.

I don't want my characters to die. I want them to suffer. I want them to pray to all the ugliest fattest cannibal gods to give them the sweet gift of death.

And I don't think dying from a random goblin is dramatic at all. Real people in chaotic real life die for no reason, important characters die to make a statement. Obi Wan Kenobi didn't just lose in the fight with Darth Wader, he died, because the cause was worth dying for.
Might as well just nod and let you answer that sequence, thank you.
 


Up to a point, yes. But fun shouldn't be contingent on always doing what's optimal or trying to win. Especially in an RPG. The point is the story and drama and playing a role, not optimization or "winning" the game.
Contingent on it, no. But when designing a game, the designer should definitely try to avoid any situation where plainly more-effective strategies are counter to the fun both intended by their design and desired by the players.

Another way of phrasing this: Your word choice here implies optimization and dull, staid, formulaic approaches to play. We're not talking about that. We're talking about, "You could run through this challenging maze that has a 1% chance of electrocuting you to death if you mess up enough times, or you could just walk through this door, down a featureless hallway. Both will get you where you want to go, which will you choose?" Yes, sometimes you had to have opted into the door in advance (by class choice, spell choice, etc.), but it's a reasonably safe bet that most groups will have someone who can do something that unlocks the door. At which point...why bother with the maze? Sure, it's gonna involve more action and drama etc. than the hallway...but if a no-danger alternative presents itself, why not avail yourself of it?

Like...I don't think that analogies are a bad structure here. Why undergo a long but potentially pleasant hike to work when you can drive your car? Sure, the hike is almost certainly going to be more fun than driving, but that fun is gonna have to be INSANELY fun to be worth the extra time and risk of problems. Why try to capture and tame a wild horse yourself when you can just go buy a horse that's already domesticated? Sure, you'll almost certainly have a much bigger adventure, a much more interesting time finding, capturing, and taming your own wild horse...but are those things worth the potential years of investment that might wind up giving you nothing (if the horse can't be tamed or is suffering from a medical problem you couldn't see or whatever)?

Again: It's all well and good to say "do the fun thing, and don't freak out about micromanaging every single detail to squeeze out the maximum benefit." But when you have a choice between "do a potentially fun, but also potentially dangerous thing," and "do a probably-not-fun, but definitely-not-dangerous thing," when both things will explicitly get you what you want...why would you do the former instead of the latter? There's very little reason, and plenty of reason not to. That's the whole point.

A game should be designed so that it doesn't have this kind of super-ultra-obvious choice, where it's not "Potential fun, or obvious efficiency: choose one."

One with no random chance, no drama, and no tension? Yeah. Sure, that's certainly an option.
When did random chance become the only source of drama and tension?

I'm reminded of my "fear is a bad motivator" thread. The moment you start questioning death (or any other thing) as the result of pure randomness as the primary consequence, people instantly assume your purpose is to DESTROY all tension and drama and anything good and right and noble and desirable and fun and....

That's just really, really tiring. There are lots of ways--and, as I argued in that thread, better ways--to get drama and tension. Sometimes, the most dramatic things in the world are purely deterministic, because they depend on which thing a person chooses, knowing what the consequences will be either way. Sometimes, the player doesn't know what the consequences of a choice will be, but does know that they're not going to be a random die roll, because the consequences will flow from the fiction rather than a mechanic.

E.g. in my home game, when the party Bard chose to take on his great-grandmother's succubus powers, not for his own sake, but to free her from an immortal existence she had grown weary of, that she might rejoin her (human) husband in the afterlife? That was an INCREDIBLY dramatic moment, and heightened the tensions between him and the rest of the group. Yet he knew, quite well, what the consequences of that choice would be. No randomness. But drama all the same.

Or when the party Druid summoned the power of the One--what the priests call the only god, and his fellow nature-magic-users call "merely" the greatest city-spirit. He didn't know what the consequences would be, but he had a pretty good idea they weren't just gonna be random, instead being costly to an unknown degree. An extremely high-drama moment, releasing one kind of tension (the One was called upon to slay a very nasty evil spirit) but creating another (Druid was "taken away" a la Elijah, for purposes unknown--allowing the player to take an indefinite break for personal reasons.)
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Yes, sometimes you had to have opted into the door in advance (by class choice, spell choice, etc.), but it's a reasonably safe bet that most groups will have someone who can do something that unlocks the door. At which point...why bother with the maze? Sure, it's gonna involve more action and drama etc. than the hallway...but if a no-danger alternative presents itself, why not avail yourself of it?
Because that’s where the drama and conflict and tension are. That’s where there’s story. There’s no interesting story in the featureless hallway.

I'm reminded of my "fear is a bad motivator" thread. The moment you start questioning death (or any other thing) as the result of pure randomness as the primary consequence, people instantly assume your purpose is to DESTROY all tension and drama and anything good and right and noble and desirable and fun and....

That's just really, really tiring. There are lots of ways--and, as I argued in that thread, better ways--to get drama and tension.
It depends on the group. If you have avid role-players who get into character, then sure, there’s infinite ways to create drama. If, however, you have a table full of Gygaxian pawn stance players, then the only thing they care about is their character...sometimes not even that. So there’s no chance for deep, rich storygaming. At which point fear is the only possible stick motivator. And you have loot as one of the few carrot motivators.
 
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Because they’re badly written.
....so you're not actually arguing with me. Because what I literally said was, a game shouldn't be designed like this. It should be designed so that making reasonable, smart decisions--not ruthless optimization, just playing smart--contributes to fun, not pulling away from fun.

Why are we arguing?

It depends on the group. If you have avid role-players who get into character, then sure, there’s infinite ways to create drama. If, however, you have a table full of Gygaxian pawn stance players, then the only thing they care about is their character...sometimes not even that. So there’s no chance for deep, rich storygaming. At which point fear is the only possible stick motivator. And you have loot as one of the few carrot motivators.
Alright. That's one pretty particular stance. You're presenting it as two very particular stances, but...as long as the game has some degree of story and roleplay, as long as the players are at least somewhat invested in what's happening around them rather than pure, undiluted "Gygaxian pawn-stance," you have more options. So...why not try for that? I feel like the very "why not choose the fun thing" argument turns back upon you here.
 

It depends on the group. If you have avid role-players who get into character, then sure, there’s infinite ways to create drama. If, however, you have a table full of Gygaxian pawn stance players, then the only thing they care about is their character...sometimes not even that. So there’s no chance for deep, rich storygaming.
Or you're playing the wrong game. One thing that a lot of storygames do is align in character motivation with player motivation so you may well get storygaming out of avid pawn players.
 

Minigiant

Legend
As an aside...

For a game with some much magic, D&D has a bit too few "fate worse than death" and "that really suck affects"

In the last session, a evil witch switched the races of 2 PCs who both failled Charisma saves twice. Rewrite your character sheets. That's after being pressed into a quest sessions ago..
 

FireLance

Legend
This thread reminded me that 4E used to award milestones if the PCs completed two encounters before taking a long rest. Unfortunately, I guess it didn't work well enough to counter the 5 minute work day. Maybe it was because the benefits (an action point and one use of a daily magic item ability) had to be used before the PCs took another long rest or they would be lost.

I wonder if something similar could be ported over to 5e, but this time, you get the benefits after you take a long rest - effectively, overcoming more challenges yesterday fills you with more confidence or helps you exercise your willpower so you can push yourself further today.

Let's call this new resource Resolve. Every time you finish a long rest, you get one point of Resolve for every two encounters you completed since your last long rest.

You can spend Resolve as follows:

  • As a bonus action, you can spend one point of Resolve to regain one quarter of your hit points.
  • If you are a spellcaster, you can spend one point of Resolve during a short rest to regain an expended spell slot of up to 5th level. If you are a warlock, you can do so as a bonus action instead.
  • A barbarian can spend one point of Resolve during a short rest to regain one use of rage.
  • A monk or a battlemaster fighter can spend one point of Resolve as a bonus action to regain one quarter (minimum 1) of their ki or superiority dice respectively.

This makes it more of a risk-reward scenario - is the risk of pressing on worth the reward, or should we just call it a day?
 

Minigiant

Legend
This thread reminded me that 4E used to award milestones if the PCs completed two encounters before taking a long rest. Unfortunately, I guess it didn't work well enough to counter the 5 minute work day. Maybe it was because the benefits (an action point and one use of a daily magic item ability) had to be used before the PCs took another long rest or they would be lost.

I wonder if something similar could be ported over to 5e, but this time, you get the benefits after you take a long rest - effectively, overcoming more challenges yesterday fills you with more confidence or helps you exercise your willpower so you can push yourself further today.

Let's call this new resource Resolve. Every time you finish a long rest, you get one point of Resolve for every two encounters you completed since your last long rest.

You can spend Resolve as follows:

  • As a bonus action, you can spend one point of Resolve to regain one quarter of your hit points.
  • If you are a spellcaster, you can spend one point of Resolve during a short rest to regain an expended spell slot of up to 5th level. If you are a warlock, you can do so as a bonus action instead.
  • A barbarian can spend one point of Resolve during a short rest to regain one use of rage.
  • A monk or a battlemaster fighter can spend one point of Resolve as a bonus action to regain one quarter (minimum 1) of their ki or superiority dice respectively.

This makes it more of a risk-reward scenario - is the risk of pressing on worth the reward, or should we just call it a day?

Well 4e milestones was an action point and a item charge right?

An action point is basically an extra action. An extra action is basically like using a short rest feature.

So how about just giving a character milestone and a item milestone for every three encounters you completed since your last long rest.

A character milestone recharges a class or race feature that returns after a short rest.
A item milestone grants item charges as if you took a long rest or as if a day passed.

Three instead of two encounters to push for 6 encounters.
 

Hussar

Legend
In general, I get the vague feeling that a fair number of the magic spells that were created by the pioneering players of early D&D were about trivializing travel and the exploration pillar.
Oh, absolutely.

And the level you get them is pretty obvious too.

At 1st and 2nd level, you're not really going to spend much time in the dungeon. You just don't have the HP or the resources. So, you go in, do your think and then head back to town. But, by 3rd level, you might want to stay a bit longer. So, poncing around tracking torches and lamp oil for a couple of days is annoying thus we get Continual Light spells. Then, by about 5th level, you can do extended forays - either into the wilderness or into the dungeon - and, oh look, create food and water from your cleric as a 3rd level spell as well as cure disease. Later on, you've managed to pretty much clear out the first four levels of the dungeon, but, it's annoying to keep slogging through random encounters on your way to the 5th level of the dungeon each time, so, poof, now you have teleport spells. So on and so forth.

Then, pile on a decade or so of new spells and now exploration is trivial to bypass.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Oh, absolutely.

And the level you get them is pretty obvious too.

At 1st and 2nd level, you're not really going to spend much time in the dungeon. You just don't have the HP or the resources. So, you go in, do your think and then head back to town. But, by 3rd level, you might want to stay a bit longer. So, poncing around tracking torches and lamp oil for a couple of days is annoying thus we get Continual Light spells. Then, by about 5th level, you can do extended forays - either into the wilderness or into the dungeon - and, oh look, create food and water from your cleric as a 3rd level spell as well as cure disease. Later on, you've managed to pretty much clear out the first four levels of the dungeon, but, it's annoying to keep slogging through random encounters on your way to the 5th level of the dungeon each time, so, poof, now you have teleport spells. So on and so forth.

Then, pile on a decade or so of new spells and now exploration is trivial to bypass.

Also consider that you had to prepare spells to slots back then and these spells were mostly for the priest classes.

Clerics and druids were really just supply stores that fight. You just prepared slots for the camping equipment, exploration equipment, and heals you needed for the day. You actively were telling the DM which encounters you planned to skip.

And since clerics and druids lacked a lot of combat destroying hmph, memorizing and preparing exploration spells was less of a penalty. You just had to weigh them with your heals and be high enough level.

4e just skipped the pretense and let you dump gold straight into magic.
 


Hussar

Legend
Also consider that you had to prepare spells to slots back then and these spells were mostly for the priest classes.

Clerics and druids were really just supply stores that fight. You just prepared slots for the camping equipment, exploration equipment, and heals you needed for the day. You actively were telling the DM which encounters you planned to skip.

And since clerics and druids lacked a lot of combat destroying hmph, memorizing and preparing exploration spells was less of a penalty. You just had to weigh them with your heals and be high enough level.

4e just skipped the pretense and let you dump gold straight into magic.
Additionally, look at how the spells are organized. 2nd and 3rd level cleric spells in AD&D are mostly utility. A few combat, but, primarily utility spells. But the big thing is, no healing spells. You didn't have to compete between healing and utility because, well, there were no 2nd and 3rd level healing spells. And a LOT of those utility spells essentially created magic items - Create Food and Water didn't have a duration. Continual Light just worked forever. That sort of thing.

I can't be the only group that basically only saw cure light wounds prepped for 1st level spells (at least until very high levels) and then 2nd and 3rd level spells were whatever the caster wanted.
 

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