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D&D General "I'm glad to be back playing D&D."


That’s the problem. It doesn’t feel dangerous.

Where’s the danger when you are invisible 99% of the time in an underdark campaign? Or
Can bypass most simple traps with a cantrip spell?

When any ill you receive is gone after a nights sleep? That’s not danger that’s a walk in the park.
Yeah, a Gloom Stalker is notorious for having a near broken ruling on its stealth. Try to see it as someone using stealth in darkness against a creature without Darkvision. You can still hear them and see them move in dim light.

And about disarming traps, once you know there’s a trap somewhere, isn’t the danger already passed? Maybe I am not seeing how you do it, but doesn’t the Arcane Trickster core feature resolve around being a trap disarmer with a magical hand? That is just the thing they are good at. Do you still make them roll for disarming the trap?

I can’t help but think about how tedious BG3 is with a dozen traps in a row that all have to be spotted and disarmed one by one. If that game had no traps at all, it would have been better in my books. Maybe I don’t like traps.

I am reminded once again about the game Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It is a survival horror game where you sneak around a castle trying to dodge monsters you can’t defeat. The game designers started out by making stealth very skill rewarding: good players got spotted less, if at all. Now from a game perspective, that worked well. However for a horror experience, that didn’t work as well. If people thought about the mechanics of the game too much, it would take them out of being immersed in the story of the situation.

What they did instead is make it very easy to not be caught by monsters. But no matter how well you crouched down in a dark corner behind some barrels, monsters would ALWAYS shamble close to the player location, make some creepy breathing noises, and move on. This got them the experience they were looking for in their game, and it was a great success.

My takeaway from that story is that pursuing a feeling with mechanics can be a challenge if your goal is mechanics and not a feeling. In my last session my players were looting a temple of its golden cupola. This would have been nothing special if there weren’t a CR30 dinosaur sleeping on the temple’s side. The whole session they were all rolling stealth checks, fearing for their lives. Then at the top a stone guardian came alive, and with every blow during that fight, the heroes checked nervously if the scaled and spined giant had awoken. Of course it didn’t. They were level 2 and I didn’t want to kill them. I had prepared for if they did something really stupid, the beast would awaken and spare them if they made an offering to it. So they weren’t in actual danger, but the players felt the danger and really enjoyed it.

Challenging characters in combat can be very difficult if you use the normal encounter building rules. Those rules just suck. CR doesn’t work like it should. If you want to use the most important encounter benchmark, you want to know when a fight can be deadly. Don’t worry about wearing characters down. Players will usually feel like they are done for when they don’t have access to their highest level spell slots. If a pc goes down in a fight, even if they succeeded on every death save or got healed straight away, they still feel like they are in danger.

Let players enjoy what their PC is good at. If that breaks your campaign, talk to them about it and change the feature.

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Possibly an unpopular opinion?

I don't love D&D.

I have lots of games that interest me more, that are, IMO, better made, clearer, less contradictory, prettier, nicer art, better writing, cooler ideas, more fun premises, less kitchen-sink, etc...


I LOVE getting to play.

D&D is the game that gets played, and I love role-playing more than I love spending months trying to find players for one of the other games no-one wants to play.

I've said it before. The last non-D&D I advertised took months to get just enough players... and one of those ghosted the first session. My current D&D got three times the response I needed in a single day. I ended up splitting my idea into two, and later three separate groups, which began as soon as we settled onto a day/time, and have been playing for 5 years.

D&D gets players. Players trump all of the system debate for me.

I also do really love how insanely much third-party support D&D gets. There's some crazy good people making crazy good stuff out there.
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VAlour rewards plus rewards from completing the adventure usually just seemed like a lot of "magic" items. I mean Aragorn had the sword and a cloak? My hobbit had like a magic sword, boots, cloak, and I believe i could keep adding abilties to them.
Minus the boots, this is all stuff hobbits had in the books and movies. They also had magic rope and starlight and ome of them a mithril shirt.
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Maybe has been addressed earlier in the thread...but...

Did some of them never read (or at least watch the movies) for LotR??

This is their more Lord of the Rings type characters????

Their Sponge Bob Characters must be all over the place. What were they? A literal sponge, a talking Dory fish, and a Big toe or something.?

If someone said LotR type characters I'd have thought something more like the LotR type races and characters and such...not a Warforged or Tabaxi...and if I recall...goblins are the really bad guys in LotR so that probably isn't a normal LotR character.

Interesting their take on LotR.
I’m pretty sure they understood. They just decided they like SpongeBob better. Players don’t play for the benefit of the DM.


He / Him
I've noticed that D&D tends to give players the tools they need to overcome challenges as part of their build. If you're running an Exploration game, there's Goodberry, the Outlander background, and various Safe Resting spells. If you're running a Political game, there's various Charm spells. I'm a Dungeon Crawl campaign there are Gloomstalkers and Arcane Tricksters.

It can be really frustrating to run... But on the other hand, you can think of it as the players being really engaged in your campaign! They have purposefully made characters that are strategically advantageous to the challenges you put before them. And from a player perspective, it's really fun to be competent at solving problems.

If the players are having fun with 5e, and you are willing to run it, I wonder if rather than trying to house rule the game, it would be more worth it to figure out how to make the process fun for you? What are your favorite parts of running a game? Are there ways to change the experience of running 5e to be more fun for you?


Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
Best of luck with that. To my eyes 5E is designed so the players can “just walk through it.”
I mean, yes? 5e is, at its core, a neotrad game; its focus is on the performative display of character concept. Its core conceit isn’t on being overly hard, rather, it wants to give characters a stage to show off what they can do.

Yup. The characters the players create are a reflection what they want in the game. Good GMs embrace that rather than fight against it.
You don't necessarily have to be "good", just a GM who actually wants to enjoy themselves whilst playing.

I've had to sit through a load of anime and JRPGs to get in touch with what my players want from the game!

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