D&D 5E How to Stock and Key a Dungeon Traditionally(and tips on Dungeon Design)


The problem with it in 5E is that there are basically no risks and all rewards. So there's no balancing of risk vs reward to be had. There are no supplies to really worry about. See the various threads on how exploration is gutted in 5E. There are class features, background features, cantrips, low-level spells, and easily gained magic items that circumvent all the traditional exploration problems. Food, water, light, carrying capacity, getting lost, etc. All meaningless in 5E.

The PCs big resources dwindle (spell slots), but they have infinite small resources (cantrips). To actually make a 5E PC's resources dwindle you need to hit 3-4 deadly encounters per day (or the equivalent) because they can generally handle medium and hard encounters with just cantrips or short-rest recharge resources. That's what 5E is balanced around. The PCs are dirty with features, abilities, spells, etc. The referee really has to work to get those resources to go away...and the lower the PCs are on resources, the more apt they are to stop all forward progress and long rest. And then there's the highly risk-adverse nature of many players. They will try to long rest after every single fight if allowed to. And when not allowed to they will complain endlessly.

Throwing in far more and far deadlier encounters than typically makes any narrative sense is what you have to do. So every single day is an EPIC ADVENTURE TO BE SUNG ABOUT FOR AGES or it's a pointless waste of time. And given the...poor wording...of the long rest rules, RAW is that you can be in combat for up to 1 hour during a long rest and still get your long rest. So either the referee kills the PCs or they get their long rest every night, recharging all their resources. So having one encounter in a day is literally a waste of time, unless it happens to kill a PC. But healing and resurrection are super common and easy in 5E, so even that's not really an issue anymore. It's the Monty Haul edition in regards to player resources.
Your points i feel work for Wilderness but for Dungeon Crawling, where encounters are made often, it falls a bit flatter.
5E is designed with time in mind more than people assume. RAW it takes about 10 minutes to search a room, A LOT of the game is designed around this, Its is what spells lasting 1-hour mean (aka Every 6 rooms you search the spell runs out), and why certain spells last 10 minutes long, Encounters in a dungeon are assumed to be rolled every hour as well by design, So Survival resources definitely have taken a big hit in 5e, but actual spells, HP, and as a simple encounter chance countdown timer, it still actually is alright at that.

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Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Have you looked at the rules for getting lost? The highest check is DC15 and multiple characters can forage. At 1st level a ranger can generally be expected to have a +4-6 in survival. If you have a druid or nature cleric in the group, they're likely to have a +6-7 in survival. So even the worst terrain possible you're going to have at most a 40% chance of getting lost. But only if you're not on a trail. If you travel slow, +5. If you have a map or can see the sky and stars, gain advantage.
Doesn't this bring us pretty close to the 1st ed 1 in 6 chance of getting lost, once we add in the modifiers? And leave a party who didn't take a high Survival character actually more likely to get lost than a party in 1E?

At any rate, I think you've got a fair point that 5E has provided several options which negate most of the resource management aspects of the game, but much as you may decry house rules, banning or limiting Leomund's Tiny Hut, the Outlander background, and the Light cantrip is a remarkably short and easy list of house rules, if you want that style of game in 5E. 🤷‍♂️

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