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D&D 5E How to defeat creatures with legendary actions?

Nefermandias

Explorer
Which can happen - even without targeting them. If the BBEG has a breath weapon or area-effect spells, they're not going to deliberately avoid the downed character with them.
Agreed, but honestly I was talking more of a comparative perspective in relation to older editions. Sometimes I feel it's almost like 5e shifts the blame of PC death to the DM instead of natural gameplay and dice randomness.
Seriously, I can't be alone in this.
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Agreed, but honestly I was talking more of a comparative perspective in relation to older editions. Sometimes I feel it's almost like 5e shifts the blame of PC death to the DM instead of natural gameplay and dice randomness.
Seriously, I can't be alone in this.
You are not alone. I despise that wotc puts me in the position to basically kill PCs by fiat and removes nearly every way they can die unintentionally.

I never killed PCs much but the fact that a player knows that they could easily die of things like attrition changes the math involved in what's an ok risk and what's pushing the line too far. 5e style of lemmings starring deadpool &wolverine in looney tunes is awful & the dm being able to do something by choice that they know 100% is guaranteed to kill a pc as the only real loophole is even worse
 
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S'mon

Legend
Sometimes I feel it's almost like 5e shifts the blame of PC death to the DM instead of natural gameplay and dice randomness.
Seriously, I can't be alone in this.
My players have never blamed me when the monsters finish off their fallen PC before the umpteenth Healing Word can pop them back up. But I do see a lot of Internet posting saying the GM is being unfair if he has the monsters finish fallen PCs. Guess I'm just lucky.
 

Nefermandias

Explorer
My players have never blamed me when the monsters finish off their fallen PC before the umpteenth Healing Word can pop them back up. But I do see a lot of Internet posting saying the GM is being unfair if he has the monsters finish fallen PCs. Guess I'm just lucky.
That's not my point. Older editions didn't require the DM to deliberately take this decisions. Does it make sense?
 


ECMO3

Villager
Our DM likes to target spell casters and will ignore high AC martial characters in favor of chasing down spell casters. How do you deal with enemies that can use a legendary action to move after another player without provoking opportunity attacks and can choose to save from a spell?

The next big fight will probably be indoors. The party consists of an AC 20 sword and board paladin, a celestial warlock that likes to fight mid- to front-line (?!?), a barbarian with low HP that always recklessly attacks with GWM, an eldrich knight, a battlesmith artificer, and a circle of shepherd druid. Nobody is min/maxed and several aren't optimized. All are 9th level, but the next big fight will probably occur at 10th. Resources (gold and magic items) are very scarce.
You generally need to burn through the "choose to save" uses. The best ways to do this are a Monk or battlemaster fighter because they can make the enemy make 4 saves in one turn. With your party this is going to be tougher.

What I would do if the enemy is large or smaller grapple him so he can't move. If the Barbarian goes into Rage he will have advantage on the grapple check. If the Warlock has Hex you can use it to give the enemy disadvantage on this check or at least make him resort to the weaker of strength or dexterity. Usually DMs will not let the enemy use a "choose to save" on a grapple check, but if they do you can still burn through 2 of them. It only takes one attack to grapple, so once you have him the Barbarian can use a back up weapon in the other hand to attack him. I would not use RA though. On subsequent turns as long as he is grappled you can drag him away from other characters and potentially force him to attack the Barbarian if the initiative order is right. Other characters can use save or suck to knock out those free saves.

I think this is a winning strategy as long as the enemy is not huge or larger and can not teleport or do something similar to get out of the grapple. This forces the enemy to play your game, keeps him away from the spellcasters and in terms of action economy it is an attack to grapple someone, while it takes an entire action to break a grapple, so that exchange favors you too.

If it is huge and you have access to enlarge/reduce you can do the same thing.

If grappling is not an option this is going to be tough with this party makeup. I would have everyone who can use save or suck spells/abilities and those who can't can use nets or if the enemy has a poor dexterity caltrops. A hit with a net forces either an action or at attack to be able to move again. Caltrops force a DC15 dex save to move through them at normal speed. This is not a winning strategy, but I can't come up with anything better.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
It won't take the character all the way down to minus max HP. They won't die unless the DM deliberately attack the downed character.

There are two ways to frame this.
1: "Why is the monster targeting a downed PC?"
2: "Why isn't the monster targeting a downed PC?"

Regardless of how you frame it, the answer always depends on the monster, and the DM's interpretation of that monster's behavior. But the tone is important.

Unintelligent monsters, like a plant or an ooze, might not know the difference--to them, a downed character is just an easier-to-eat pile of organic matter (easier than the other piles of organic matter that keep moving around and stabbing, anyway). Intelligent monsters know that downed characters don't stay down for very long, and will taking extra steps to ensure they don't get back up again. Cowardly monsters might see a downed character as an opportunity to escape. Exceedingly cruel monsters might wish to capture the downed opponents to take home and torture, prolong their suffering. Greedy monsters might take prisoners to hold for ransom (or to sell), sparing the downed opponents since they are less valuable dead. Alien creatures might spare the downed opponents to experiment on, or to incubate their eggs, etc.

But none of this is going to matter if the players can't trust their DM. Without that trust, the players will always feel that the DM is unfairly trying to kill their character out of spite or malice. So it's important that when you (the DM) decide to target downed PCs, you use plenty of story and "gloating villain monologue" to explain the situation. If the party realizes the BBEG is motivated by greed, they might be able to distract it with money long enough for the cleric to save their fighter.
 
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How do you deal with enemies that can use a legendary action to move after another player without provoking opportunity attacks and can choose to save from a spell?
Grapple them, either via spell (for example, bigby's) or by grabbing them and holding on.

Foes defend against a grapple by using an ability check, so legendary saves do not apply. If a creature's speed is 0 then any legendary action that says "move up to your speed" is no longer available (though teleporting is still an option).
 

Stormonu

Legend
Agreed, but honestly I was talking more of a comparative perspective in relation to older editions. Sometimes I feel it's almost like 5e shifts the blame of PC death to the DM instead of natural gameplay and dice randomness.
Seriously, I can't be alone in this.
I feel like this is a false flag. If the player would blame you for targeting a downed PC in 5E, they’d blame you for targeting the PC in the first place in older editions - or maybe just blame the DM for putting them through the adventure.

5E is deadly enough, I’ve lost several characters already, had others lose nearly as many and seen at least two TPK’s so far. There’s likewise been many a close call where I was convinced we were looking at a wipe, only to be saved by sheer luck or someone pulling a Hail Mary at just the right time.
 

Nefermandias

Explorer
I feel like this is a false flag. If the player would blame you for targeting a downed PC in 5E, they’d blame you for targeting the PC in the first place in older editions - or maybe just blame the DM for putting them through the adventure.

5E is deadly enough, I’ve lost several characters already, had others lose nearly as many and seen at least two TPK’s so far. There’s likewise been many a close call where I was convinced we were looking at a wipe, only to be saved by sheer luck or someone pulling a Hail Mary at just the right time.
This is 100% based on my personal experience and most definitely not a false flag. I've been DMing since 98 so I've been through every edition since 2e. I can tell the difference.
 

Stormonu

Legend
This is 100% based on my personal experience and most definitely not a false flag. I've been DMing since 98 so I've been through every edition since 2e. I can tell the difference.
shrug, been DMing since ‘79, and while a lot of my experiences have passed into the fog of time, that the game isn’t deadly enough hasn’t been an issue for my groups.
 



aco175

Legend
My players have never blamed me when the monsters finish off their fallen PC before the umpteenth Healing Word can pop them back up. But I do see a lot of Internet posting saying the GM is being unfair if he has the monsters finish fallen PCs. Guess I'm just lucky.
I sometimes have a monster cast mass healing and randomly pop up several of the bad guys that I had removed from play. My players do not complain, but this may be only every 20th combat though. Generally my monsters do not attack PCs that are already down since there are more targets that will attack them. Most depends on the intelligence of the monster and if the cleric already popped up a PC or two.

I wonder if there was a one-shot where you played the monsters and had the enemy adventuring party keep using healing word or mass healing. Not sure if it would change minds about spending attacks to keep bad guys down.
 

Nefermandias

Explorer
There are two ways to frame this.
1: "Why is the monster targeting a downed PC?"
2: "Why isn't the monster targeting a downed PC?"

Regardless of how you frame it, the answer always depends on the monster, and the DM's interpretation of that monster's behavior. But the tone is important.

Unintelligent monsters, like a plant or an ooze, might not know the difference--to them, a downed character is just an easier-to-eat pile of organic matter (easier than the other piles of organic matter that keep moving around and stabbing, anyway). Intelligent monsters know that downed characters don't stay down for very long, and will taking extra steps to ensure they don't get back up again. Cowardly monsters might see a downed character as an opportunity to escape. Exceedingly cruel monsters might wish to capture the downed opponents to take home and torture, prolong their suffering. Greedy monsters might take prisoners to hold for ransom (or to sell), sparing the downed opponents since they are less valuable dead. Alien creatures might spare the downed opponents to experiment on, or to incubate their eggs, etc.

But none of this is going to matter if the players can't trust their DM. Without that trust, the players will always feel that the DM is unfairly trying to kill their character out of spite or malice. So it's important that when you (the DM) decide to target downed PCs, you use plenty of story and "gloating villain monologue" to explain the situation. If the party realizes the BBEG is motivated by greed, they might be able to distract it with money long enough for the cleric to save their fighter.
I have seen this discussed extensively time and time again and I am well aware of how to make a PC death seem less cheap. Still this is not my point.
All I'm asking is for a few optional rules to make 5e deadlier so I don't have to resort to a third party retro clone.
 


Stormonu

Legend
I have seen this discussed extensively time and time again and I am well aware of how to make a PC death seem less cheap. Still this is not my point.
All I'm asking is for a few optional rules to make 5e deadlier so I don't have to resort to a third party retro clone.
This discussion should probably be taken to another thread, but have you discussed with DM/players adding or changing some of the table rules to get the level of deadliness you want out of the game? Or are you locked into the existing rules by the Adventurer League or something?
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
"How to defeat creatures with legendary actions?"

You ignore them. See, monsters, especially monsters with so-called "legendary actions" are nothing but gluttons for attention.

Don't give them what they want.

Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a legendary-action monster. Your normal PC will panic and immediately draw his sword and attack when he sees the big red dragon in front of him... and then he will start begging for mercy before his quick demise.

This is wrong.

It arouses contempt in the monster-heart. The thing to do when your PC is bopping along and see that big ol' red dragon smack dab in front of him is to continue on as if the dragon wasn't even there. At first, the dragon won't even know what to make of your complete and total indifference to his majesty, power and so-called "legendary actions."

The dragon may rage, may puff, but no matter. Let the dragon calm down; the dragon will want your attention, and the dragon will start jibber-jabbering like a teenager in order to get it.

The idea is to let the dragon know who is in control. Not the dragon, not with any game-mandated legendary actions; but you, with a reservoir of inner cool that would make Steve McQueen green with envy.
 

Nefermandias

Explorer
This discussion should probably be taken to another thread, but have you discussed with DM/players adding or changing some of the table rules to get the level of deadliness you want out of the game? Or are you locked into the existing rules by the Adventurer League or something?
I know it's hard to believe now days, but some groups understand that there's value on sticking to strict RAW.
Of course I know I could homebrew any number of systems to adjust the difficulty to what I see as adequate, but I'm just saying it would be so much better if we had official ways to do so.
 

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