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D&D 5E How on earth is this balanced?! Twilight cleric, more in-play evidence

No, CR is an indicator of relative difficulty.
Something which only makes any sense at all when the tools are balanced. What's difficult for BMX Bandit may not be for Angel Summoner.
Then don't. No one is forcing you to by WotC products!
They've mostly been pretty good since they left 3.5 in the rear view mirror. This is a rare lapse.
 

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No there aren't. It says nothing to indicate equivalence - indeed, the existence of social and skill options makes it quite clear that they are not "balanced", if by "balanced" you mean "equally good at fighting".
And if by "balanced" you mean "equally good at lockpicking" they aren't balanced either.

The design goal was to balance across the three pillars. (Social, exploration, combat)
It's only a flaw if it claims to be one thing then it turns out not to be. Since on one at WotC has ever made the claim that D&D was balanced, a lack of balance is not a flaw.
By the same token since no one claimed that they had a frictionless environment in a car not having any oil in it for lubrication wouldn't be a flaw. Oh wait.

No one thinks you can get perfect balance. Just as a frictionless environment isn't possible. That's no reason not to at least get reasonably close. And as mentioned CR is there with an implicit claim of balance.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Something which only makes any sense at all when the tools are balanced. What's difficult for BMX Bandit may not be for Angel Summoner.

They've mostly been pretty good since they left 3.5 in the rear view mirror. This is a rare lapse.


You know what would be fun, though probably way too time consuming? A controlled experiment.

Take 2 groups of gamers with as roughly close a "skill level" as you can get.

Pick an adventure (5e White Plume Mountain, being 8th level fits the bill) - it should be a published adventure expressly so that the DM DOES NOT adjust to the power level of the PCs.

Assign the 1st group the following 8th level pregens:
8th level twilight cleric
8th level BM polearm master/GWM fighter
8th level diviner wizard
8th level arcane trickster rogue

Assign the 2nd group:
8th level war cleric
8th level purple dragon knight fighter
8th level transmuter wizard
8th level (non-tasha's)beastmaster ranger OR mastermind rogue.

See if the groups have an equivalent time with the adventure or if one group fares better. Then switch the pregens between groups and run the same or different adventure and see if there is a difference.
 
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Undrave

Hero
Assign the 1st group the following 8th level pregens:
8th level twilight cleric
8th level polearm master/GWM fighter
8th level diviner wizard
8th level arcane trickster rogue

Assign the 2nd group:
8th level war cleric
8th level purple dragon knight fighter
8th level transmuter wizard
8th level (non-tasha's)beastmaster ranger OR mastermind rogue.
I'd try Trickster Cleric instead of War Cleric. Assassin Rogue might work too.

I'd also like to see a Monk in there... but sticking to subclass of the same class might be smarter?
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I'd try Trickster Cleric instead of War Cleric. Assassin Rogue might work too.

I'd also like to see a Monk in there... but sticking to subclass of the same class might be smarter?
Yeah, I was going for mostly same class different subclass to avoid confounds.
Though that brings up some confounds on its own - the wizard base class is so good that it likely makes up a lot of ground, for example.

So could be tweaked, but would be interesting to try.
 


As a DM, I find myself having to interfere more to balance players who are tactically inept with players who are tactically skilled, and make sure they get an equal share of the limelight, than doing anything to adjust the game mechanics.
 

Undrave

Hero
As a DM, I find myself having to interfere more to balance players who are tactically inept with players who are tactically skilled, and make sure they get an equal share of the limelight, than doing anything to adjust the game mechanics.
Then the game is balanced. The DM balancing for different player skill is a totally different thing and basically one of the reason they are there.

I'll repeat myself here: nobody is asking for the game to balance on a razor's edge, it just need to be balanced enough that, as a DM, you don't need to worry, or care, about the classes your party picks. You can bring the same advanture to different parties and not have to adjust anything to take certain abilities into account, in either direction. They should be able to beat the adventure, even if they bring a squad of Fighters, a band of Bards, a symposium of Wizards or a varied group.

Some things will be easier for certain parties, while others will be more difficult, and that's normal, but, on the whole, the DM shouldn't need to tinker with the adventure in major ways (mechanically speaking, narratives are a different beast) just because somebody brought a Wizard this week instead of a Monk.

We're saying that the Twilight Cleric is falling outside of this 'sweet spot' of balance.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I'll repeat myself here: nobody is asking for the game to balance on a razor's edge, it just need to be balanced enough that, as a DM, you don't need to worry, or care, about the classes your party picks. You can bring the same advanture to different parties and not have to adjust anything to take certain abilities into account, in either direction. They should be able to beat the adventure, even if they bring a squad of Fighters, a band of Bards, a symposium of Wizards or a varied group.

It feels to me like this is a different balance than what was being discussed before. I don't want the party to need one each of a wizard, rogue, thief, and cleric (and certainly don't want them to need a certain subclass of them!!). But it feels odd to me to expect a module or adventure to work for a party where all the members only excel at one pillar, or all have little melee ability, or where none have casting, or something like that.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Twilight aura does a burst of temp hp once. Even that might be too good.
As a one off burst, the ability is on par with the inspiring leader feat- just slightly less because the 1d6 is variable instead of CHA based.

BUT, it's also an action instead of 10 minutes - so THAT"s how good it is.

I think a fix would be to make the cleric waste a bonus every round to grant temp HP to a given target. That much temp HP is STILL very good, and that's the nerf!
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Something which only makes any sense at all when the tools are balanced. What's difficult for BMX Bandit may not be for Angel Summoner.

They've mostly been pretty good since they left 3.5 in the rear view mirror. This is a rare lapse.

it's interesting that the two worst offenders of Tasha's are both clerics. I haven't played with the peace cleric nor done a in depth analysis, but I know others say it's also super broken (a skim of the class does show potential concern, such as their "double bless" ability).
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
it's interesting that the two worst offenders of Tasha's are both clerics. I haven't played with the peace cleric nor done a in depth analysis, but I know others say it's also super broken (a skim of the class does show potential concern, such as their "double bless" ability).

We have a little experiment going in this thread about the effectiveness of casters vs. non casters. The "cleric" is a peace cleric 9/redemption paladin 6. The aura is good, but it's also a bit clunky and takes a lot of getting used to.

Plus it's prone to oopsies (like taking the damage for a colleague while forgetting you were concentrating on a [really important] spell and then losing that concentration to extreme detriment).

I suspect with coordination and practice the peace aura is crazy good (on par or even slightly better than the twilight aura), BUT the twilight aura is much more user friendly and requires a lot less tactical thinking.
 

Undrave

Hero
It feels to me like this is a different balance than what was being discussed before. I don't want the party to need one each of a wizard, rogue, thief, and cleric (and certainly don't want them to need a certain subclass of them!!). But it feels odd to me to expect a module or adventure to work for a party where all the members only excel at one pillar, or all have little melee ability, or where none have casting, or something like that.
My 'sweet spot' theory would also apply to inter party spotlight balance issues, in that the gameplay would naturally share the spotlight just by the nature of encountering different situations. The DM shouldn't have to intervene there either, unless someone starts pulling the narrative in a way that only their character gets to shine. the DM shouldn't go out of their way, for exemple, to include Anti-Magic zone at regular intervals just to let the martial types shine... not that those zone shouldn't exist at all, but they shouldn't be a necessity either.

An unbalanced party would just need to get creative to use the tools they have at their disposal or invest in solutions using the options available to them. Maybe the squad of Fighter ends up with a Battlemaster taking those skill maneuvers and taking the Skilled feat, for exemple. Maybe someone picks up the Healer feat to make up for the lack of a dedicated healer. Certainly, certain sections would be way harder, and I'm fine with that (after all, you decided not to have a varied party) but they should still be able to ultimately pull off a win with enough skill. Heck, an unbalanced party can be more fun.

I just don't want to see adventures that rely on the party having access to ONE specific spell or ability or even skill. But at that point we're drifting into adventure design and not balance issues. Don't get me started on the Ravenloft season of Adventure League...augh.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Here is a rewrite attempt:

Channel Divinity: Twilight Sanctuary (Rewrite, nerfed)​

At 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to refresh your allies with soothing twilight.

As an action, you present your holy symbol, and a sphere of twilight emanates from you. The sphere is centered on you, has a 30-foot radius, and is filled with dim light. The sphere moves with you, and it lasts for 1 minute or until you are incapacitated or die.

When the sphere is created, you can grant any number of creatures within the sphere 1d6 plus your cleric level temporary HP. Temporary HP granted by this ability end if the creature ends its turn outside of the sphere of twilight.

In addition, when a creature (including you) ends its turn within the sphere:

  • You grant it temporary hit points equal to 1d6 plus your cleric level.
  • You end one effect on it causing it to be charmed or frightened.
You can only do this once for a given creature.

---

This (a) has immediate benefit (you get the temporary HP right away), and (b) gives you 1 refresh per ally (or remove 1 condition). It also requires ally to stay within the sphere to keep the temporary HP.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Yeah, that certainly tracks. It's like the designers went "hey, let's just throw all the good features into one subclass and see if anyone notices..."

I mean the 8th level feature is divine strikes, which allows you to add 1d8 to a melee attack. It's not even that it's that powerful, it's just another thing that some cleric subclasses get that this one gets too - because why not.

Potent spellcasting would have been better.

Wife swapped it for the Tashas varient rule. 1d8 on cantrips iirc. In one more level her cantrips will deal 4d8/3d12+1d8.
 
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Mort

Legend
Supporter
Potent spellcasting would have been better.

Wife swapped it for the Tashas varient rule. 1d8 on cantrips iirc. In one more levey here cantrips will deal 4d8/3d12+1d8.

Yeah, I mention in a later post that potent spellcasting would have been "better" from a power perspective.

But my point was - this subclass gets so much early, they could have dumped the 8th level feature all together and it still would have been a bit much. But they didn't - subclass gets that too.
 

If this "one class can completely overshadow another class and be better in nearly every way" how is it in our Curse of Strahd West Marches campaign that started in January we've had 42 characters created (so far) by 15 players and we have not a single Twilight Cleric? Are the players just plain dumb and/or not playing optimally? Or are they all really smart and in silent solidarity on opting out of picking a Twilight Cleric b/c they see it would ruin the game? Yes, one table does not prove anything, but it's not like we don't have any power gamers at our table. So, there's that, FWIW.

I dunno. How many encounters is the average DM running per rest? If a 1st to 5th level Twilight Cleric gets to shine (yep) for one combat per rest, does it really break anything? I guess if you are only running one combat per rest. The game designers, IMO, cannot be blamed for a lack of strategy on the DM's part (aside: in case anyone hasn't seen this helpful resource: The Monsters Know What They're Doing)
Sure, I'd give them their early "easy button" wins but, after a few encounters, word would get around in the game world about said Twilight Cleric. And then I'd have the baddies trigger the channel divinity then run away for a few minutes until they weren't so shiny. Etc.

And, in conclusion, I reserve the right to change my opinion once a player inevitably brings a Twilight Cleric to our table and wreaks havoc upon our fun in a way I hadn't considered yet...
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
If this "one class can completely overshadow another class and be better in nearly every way" how is it in our Curse of Strahd West Marches campaign that started in January we've had 42 characters created (so far) by 15 players and we have not a single Twilight Cleric? Are the players just plain dumb and/or not playing optimally? Or are they all really smart and in silent solidarity on opting out of picking a Twilight Cleric b/c they see it would ruin the game? Yes, one table does not prove anything, but it's not like we don't have any power gamers at our table. So, there's that, FWIW.

I dunno. How many encounters is the average DM running per rest? If a 1st to 5th level Twilight Cleric gets to shine (yep) for one combat per rest, does it really break anything? I guess if you are only running one combat per rest. The game designers, IMO, cannot be blamed for a lack of strategy on the DM's part (aside: in case anyone hasn't seen this helpful resource: The Monsters Know What They're Doing)
Sure, I'd give them their early "easy button" wins but, after a few encounters, word would get around in the game world about said Twilight Cleric. And then I'd have the baddies trigger the channel divinity then run away for a few minutes until they weren't so shiny. Etc.

And, in conclusion, I reserve the right to change my opinion once a player inevitably brings a Twilight Cleric to our table and wreaks havoc upon our fun in a way I hadn't considered yet...

It's not just the aura, they're other perks are excellent too.

There have been several DMs and players in this thread who've directly discussed DMing for/playing/being in the party of a twilight cleric - in this thread. They all seem to agree it's a bit much.
 

Undrave

Hero
Potent spellcasting would have been better.

Wife swapped it for the Tashas varient rule. 1d8 on cantrips iirc. In one more level her cantrips will deal 4d8/3d12+1d8.

Yeah, I mention in a later post that potent spellcasting would have been "better" from a power perspective.

But my point was - this subclass gets so much early, they could have dumped the 8th level feature all together and it still would have been a bit much. But they didn't - subclass gets that too.

It also brings up the question of WHY the Twilight Cleric gets to be a melee Cleric in heavy armour to begin with? What part of 'Twilight' sounds like a guy in a tin-can swinging a heavy weapon? The similarly 'shadowy' themed Trickery Cleric ALSO gets Divine Strike but doesn't actually gets any extra armor (and gets the TERRIBLE Poison type damage to Divine Strike).
 

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