D&D 5E I just don't buy the reasoning behind "damage on a miss".

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Wicht

Hero
My view is that there are so many fiat powers in the game that I don't understand why another should be problematic from the point of view of believability or mechanical coherence. I can only see an issue of tradition.

Is it too much to ask that you simply accept that some of us do see it as both an issue of believably and mechanical coherence. You don't have to agree with us, but when you insist that we are operating in bad faith by holding our opinions, its a bit off-putting.
 

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pemerton

Legend
Is it too much to ask that you simply accept that some of us do see it as both an issue of believably and mechanical coherence. You don't have to agree with us, but when you insist that we are operating in bad faith by holding our opinions, its a bit off-putting.
I'm not accusing anyone of bad faith. I believe you. I just don't understand your criteria for believability.
 

bogmad

First Post
The contrast between the human commoner and the carnivorous ape also reveals hit points as "plot protection", given that in physiological terms an explosion should have near enough to the same effect on these two targets.

Try hitting a common human, and then try hitting a silverback gorilla, carnivorous or not. The gorilla is going to take a whole lot more punches than the human. Have you seen one? They're massive. It's going to a lot more punishment before dying than a common human. And a fantastical 3 foot tall kobold, which can arguably take less punishment than a common human being is going to take less punishment before it dies.
Now, it would be horribly unethical and morally reprehensible, but as a though experiment let's set a human, gorilla, and kobold on fire. The kobold will probably die first, the human second, and then the silverback gorilla is going to rage around flailing and maybe kill a few test administrators in white labcoats before finally crumpling to the ground last. I don't see that as "plot protection" of any sort. I see three different animals that can take different amounts of damage before dying. It might not be physical damage, it might even just be exertion, but it's still damage.
Now a game like D&D simplifies a lot of things, but the basic principle is that an attack dishes out a certain amount of damage and if you take that and have some left over, you live. D&D isn't a game where any explosion should always kill everything. It's not "plot protection" except for a certain subset of people who should yes by all means be able to play their game that way, but not force that playstyle on someone else. A game like FATE probably models that sort of thing better? I dunno, I haven't played all that much of it. I'd be excited to see an optional module that lets you play D&D more that way, but as a module. Damage on a miss doesn't really come close to doing that though, and I'd be angry if that was the bone the designers were throwing me to make me feel included. I see a lot less fiat powers in a game of D&D than you do, in fact I don't see any at all.
 
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bogmad

First Post
If I'm playing a video game where I cast a fireball at a guy, watch it explode and he's still running around getting hurt, but then he's still standing at the end because he has a lot of hit points I don't blame the game for being unbelievable and behaving in bad faith. Why should I do that with D&D? Especially when D&D did it first?
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
Try hitting a common human, and then try hitting a silverback gorilla, carnivorous or not. The gorilla is going to take a whole lot more punches than the human. Have you seen one? They're massive. It's going to a lot more punishment before dying than a common human. And a fantastical 3 foot tall kobold, which can arguably take less punishment than a common human being is going to take less punishment before it dies.
Now, it would be horribly unethical and morally reprehensible, but as a though experiment let's set a human, gorilla, and kobold on fire. The kobold will probably die first, the human second, and then the silverback gorilla is going to rage around flailing and maybe kill a few test administrators in white labcoats before finally crumpling to the ground last. I don't see that as "plot protection" of any sort. I see three different animals that can take different amounts of damage before dying. It might not be physical damage, it might even just be exertion, but it's still damage.
Now a game like D&D simplifies a lot of things, but the basic principle is that an attack dishes out a certain amount of damage and if you take that and have some left over, you live. D&D isn't a game where any explosion should always kill everything. It's not "plot protection" except for a certain subset of people who should yes by all means be able to play their game that way, but not force that playstyle on someone else. A game like FATE probably models that sort of thing better? I dunno, I haven't played all that much of it. I'd be excited to see an optional module that lets you play D&D more that way, but as a module. Damage on a miss doesn't really come close to doing that though, and I'd be angry if that was the bone the designers were throwing me to make me feel included. I see a lot less fiat powers in a game of D&D than you do, in fact I don't see any at all.

I agree. Some things are naturally tougher than others, even in a fantastical setting, it's reasonable to expect HP to go up along with general mass, likely AC(from Natural Armor) as well. To an extent, HP is representative of real, physical toughness, as well as "plot armor". But I'd say it's fair that tougher things have more HP and are therefore going to live longer when affected in the same way.
 

Tequila Sunrise

Adventurer
I agree. Some things are naturally tougher than others, even in a fantastical setting, it's reasonable to expect HP to go up along with general mass, likely AC(from Natural Armor) as well. To an extent, HP is representative of real, physical toughness, as well as "plot armor". But I'd say it's fair that tougher things have more HP and are therefore going to live longer when affected in the same way.
If we're trying to model reality as we know it, hit points just don't cut it, as we've always known them. Hit points are explicitly plot protection. (AKA luck, divine favor, dodgitude, stamina, and whatever else.) Wizards get more hit points by becoming better spell-slingers, for jiminy's sake!

Except when hit points aren't plot protection. See: sneak attack, fireballs, falling damage*, and a thousand other examples. There's no real consistency to damage or hit points, and most of us are okay with this because we're used to it. Except once in a while when one of these ideas come up, and seeing a new hole in the magician's curtain makes some of us see red.

Anyhow, if we want to model reality as we know it, we shouldn't be giving bigger creatures more hit points. That creates weird situations where bigger creatures get more skills and feats because they have more HD, and other gamist oddities. No, bigger creatures need a bit of DR, because that roughly reflects reality. A giant's skin is a bit thicker than a human's, whose is a bit thicker than a halfling's, but stab any one of them in a vital area and they're all equally likely to keel over. You don't kill an elephant with an AK-47; you kill it with an elephant gun.

If we want to model our reality, we'd need this kind of change, in addition to a dozen other changes to D&D's fundamentals.

*Falling damage in particular is proof that hit points aren't just 'meat points.' An ant can survive a fall from any height, while an elephant will get crippled or killed by a fall that would merely injure a human. Large whales don't even have to fall; they get crushed by their own weight when the poor things get beached. Funny how reality often works exactly the opposite of how D&D works.
 
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S

Sunseeker

Guest
If we're trying to model reality as we know it, hit points just don't cut it, as we've always known them. Hit points are explicitly plot protection. (AKA luck, divine favor, dodgitude, stamina, and whatever else.) Wizards get more hit points by becoming better spell-slingers, for jiminy's sake!

Except when hit points aren't plot protection. See: sneak attack, fireballs, falling damage*, and a thousand other examples. There's no real consistency to damage or hit points, and most of us are okay with this because we're used to it. Except once in a while when one of these ideas come up, and seeing a new hole in the magician's curtain makes some of us see red.

Anyhow, if we want to model reality as we know it, we shouldn't be giving bigger creatures more hit points. That creates weird situations where bigger creatures get more skills and feats because they have more HD, and other gamist oddities. No, bigger creatures need a bit of DR, because that roughly reflects reality. A giant's skin is a bit thicker than a human's, whose is a bit thicker than a halfling's, but stab any one of them in a vital area and they're all equally likely to keel over. You don't kill an elephant with an AK-47; you kill it with an elephant gun.

If we want to model our reality, we'd need this kind of change, in addition to a dozen other changes to D&D's fundamentals.

*Falling damage in particular is proof that hit points aren't just 'meat points.' An ant can survive a fall from any height, while an elephant will get crippled or killed by a fall that would merely injure a human. Large whales don't even have to fall; they get crushed by their own weight when the poor things get beached. Funny how reality often works exactly the opposite of how D&D works.

I'm not advocating a 100% real-life sim in D&D. I'm suggesting that there are some obvious reasons some things have more HP than others beyond simply HD. Which is why HD+Con models this better. No it's not a perfect system, and obviously HP are used for a lot of things. It's not always going to be one or the other. The alternative to HP is either higher defenses(and thus hitting less) or reactive abilities(ie: dodge, parry, etc...). The problem with the first is that it makes no sense when creatures get very large. A Huge dragon is not going to be quick enough to dodge pretty much anything, thus we're left with damage reduction, which is an accurate depiction of what probably happens, or "damage on a miss". The latter is just more time consuming.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Whether you like "damage on a miss" or not, there is controversy that cannot be denied. It's more than just a few posters on an internet forum so people shouldn't try and downsize it. People have even been asking Mearls about in in twitter where we get the infamous answer of "It tested well".

And do you know that these aren't also the posters on messageboards?

"There is controversy" and "this is a real issue for a significant section of the market" may not be the same thing, and we'd need some better evidence to show that.

In my opinion, this is a very very vague answer and I believe it was done intentionally. This type of mechanic, and those like it, are trademarks of 4th edition and I believe the team, or it could be an individual, is trying to force it down people's throats whether they like it or not.

Please reconsider your choice to turn this down edition-warring lines.

I can tell you that mechanics like this make me want to walk away from the game because it will spawn more like minded mechanics into the game.

Ah, yes. Domino theory, as applied to game design.

Playtests are something you have to be careful around because at the end of the day, we don't know how many people actually took part in it, nor do we know what their answers were.

Dude, they're creating a product for people do buy, not running a government or an investment fund. or something. They don't actually have to justify each rules design choice beforehand.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I never said this...

Yes, but I didn't claim you had.

Which brings us to a rather important point. Things like this, and things like several folks engaged in this argument mentioning how they feel they are repeating themselves several times over, indicate that this thread is now off the rails.

This example has now proven that this thread has outlived its usefulness, as folks are no longer fully comprehending each other's replies. Be it out of anger, fear, stubbornness, or what have you, information is not being conveyed. All that is left is argument. That isn't useful.

So, thread closed. Good night, everyone.
 
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