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5E Is 5e "Easy Mode?"

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
Not that its cannon or anything, but FWIW the intent of breaking a long rest included at least one hour of total activity, be it fighting, walking, casting spells, etc.:

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As far as the ambiguity of the English language, whenever you have a list of something preceded by a quantity or amount, that applies to the total of all items in the list, not just the first. If the other items are meant to have different amounts, those are included with each item. Otherwise, you are left with asking, "how much?" for each of the additional items in the list.

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Consider a similar example: You should eat 2-3 apples, bananas, oranges, or similar pieces of fruit, every day to help maintain good health.

Who is going to read that and reasonably argue that you should eat 2-3 apples only, and maybe bananas, maybe oranges, or maybe similar pieces of fruit, to help maintain good health?

You have to go with what most people would get out of reading it. Most people, IME and IMO, understand any and all of the activities done must total 1 hour or more when it comes to interrupting a long rest. Just as pretty much everyone reads the other example and understands it is 2-3 pieces of fruit, examples are apples, bananas, and oranges.

Could they have worded it more concretely? Sure, but the point in 5E is that they shouldn't have to. Following the more reasonable interpretation makes the intent clear 9 times out of 10.

And even after a 1-minute battle, it won't take an hour to set up your camp again. Other than maybe gathering firewood, "setting up" your camp doesn't take an hour in the first place, especially if you are well practiced at it and do it regularly.

On another note, I have played in several very high level AD&D games (well into the 20's) and played into the Immortals Set in BECMI (starting at basic). Those characters were certainly super-powers, especially magic-users, but a lot of that was due to the plethora of magic items many had. While I rarely saw super-items in the mid-levels, by the time the mid- to high-teens came around, encountering an artifact or such in some fashion wasn't uncommon. I have not reach that pinnacle yet in 5E, but so far they are simply different beasts. :)

P.S. I am not going to debate these interpretations, I am just posting my findings and understanding. Thank you.
 
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tetrasodium

Adventurer
Or, we can be... maybe more sensible and remember this is the "rulings not rules" edition, and take the language to be... suggestive, rather than proscriptive. So, mayb ethe GM will allow cantrips. Or rituals. Or some spell-casting outside of combat...
The problem with this is that there are too many instances of the language being written to encourage the expectation of munchkinism so right out of the gate the GM is setup for an uphill argument. There's very little 3.5 style "If I combine X with Y then technically it looks like I can do Z", so players come armed with "well it says...
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    [*]
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    There are just too many instances where they write to the most absurdly permissive munchkinism to excuse it as just an artifact of natural wording when looking at things like the long rest rules
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    [*]They pegged it to something everyone does (or tries to do) most every night & right out of the gate setup the gm for an uphill battle. Nobody wakes up in the middle of the night to spend an hour of walking around before going back to bed and waking up saying "I slept great!". The "—at least 1 hour of walking, fighting, casting spells, or similar adventuring activity—" clause is completely unnecessary for suggestive "maybe the GM will allow...." interpretation & actively makes it more difficult for the gm to interpret "strenuous activity". That "maybe the GM will allow..." line of reasoning is given extra strikes that do nothing but set the gm up for a fight to come knocking because wotc constantly rules in favor of munchkin interpretations like @dnd4vr so clearly pointed out in his post here. Punpun was an example of accidental unintended munhkinism, 5e dives too far into what appwars to be deliberate & intentional munchkinism too often for benefit if the doubt.
 

Sadras

Hero
So...
In 1e and 2e we dialed things down for the players (ensure the level draining undead perhaps target henchman first, death occurs at -10 instead of 0, allowed PCs to reroll poor hit points...etc)
In 5e we dial things up for the players (change up rests - gritty or homebrew, inject lingering injuries, use slow natural healing)

I ask again, which is the Easy Mode?
 

Monayuris

Adventurer
I disagree that 5e is “easy mode” because I feel the question is meaningless.

What some people mean when they say that 5e is easy-mode is that 5e is easier than AD&D all else being equal.

To me, it is the all else being equal that is meaningless. All else is not equal and can never be equal.

Take GM Jim and GM Bob. If GM Jim runs both a AD&D campaign and a 5e campaign, Jim’s two campaigns will probably resemble each other more (including in difficulty) than Jim and Bob’s campaign.

To give a specific example, my teenaged AD&D campaign ended at 9th level with one character who was a Titan and one who had a sentient artifact that was subservient to him. They also had like 1 million gp. So far, nothing like that has happened in any 5e game I have run. 😀
As someone who runs both B/X and 5E and tried to run both campaigns with a similar difficulty level, my experience is that it is more effort and work to create an equally difficult game with 5E compared to out of the box B/X.

You are correct that one can run both games with the same difficulty. It becomes a matter of how much of the work you are willing to put in.

With my 5E game, I was constantly fighting against differences in expectations. I wanted a certain output, but the game constantly provided a different one.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
So...
In 1e and 2e we dialed things down for the players (ensure the level draining undead perhaps target henchman first, death occurs at -10 instead of 0, allowed PCs to reroll poor hit points...etc)
In 5e we dial things up for the players (change up rests - gritty or homebrew, inject lingering injuries, use slow natural healing)

I ask again, which is the Easy Mode?
I think very few people played older editions strictly by the book ... or at least that was my experience. Which is probably part of the discrepancy in "feel".

My games are, by and large, no more or less than they've ever did. That doesn't mean I didn't tweak a ton of things back in the day, I pretty much guarantee that we did.

But a lot of people played a much, much deadlier game than I ever experienced*. For us the fun was playing a PC, not writing up yet another PC to run through the gamut.

Which isn't to say people played wrong of course.

*Except for the guy we had DM exactly 1 time who had us all bring multiple PCs and then proceeded to come up with "creative" ways to kill our PCs. Like roll a die and the PC's number that came up was smashed by a giant hand.
 

chaochou

Adventurer
What I'd really love is a fantasy rpg with no 'daily' or even 'once per encounter/X minutes" resources. Have a primary limit not rooted in attrition, like "you may only have one active spell at a time." So if you want to cast fireball - you have to give up mirror image.
That game came out in 1977 and was called Runequest.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
So...
In 1e and 2e we dialed things down for the players (ensure the level draining undead perhaps target henchman first, death occurs at -10 instead of 0, allowed PCs to reroll poor hit points...etc)
In 5e we dial things up for the players (change up rests - gritty or homebrew, inject lingering injuries, use slow natural healing)

I ask again, which is the Easy Mode?
It's not that simple & it's wrong. You don't just keep going from 0 to -10 because you are bleeding out. If you are at neg6 you need 7 hp worth of healing to be at zero hp where you will lose a point doing just about anything. In 5e you are at zero and only need to heal 1hp to be fully functional if you take any amount of damage between current hp+1 & maxhp. In 5e if Andy is the barbarian is at at 1/117hp & takes a crit for 116hp Beth can heal him 1d4+casting mod with healing word & he's at 1d4+casting mod/117 hp
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ad&d 2e was even less forgiving
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So yea... 5e is the easy one on that note & it's still missing the narrowly focused tools available to gms in past editions to specifically adjust an encounter to throw characters off balance like I detailed earlier.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
At the start and end of every session, I ask the players for what resources they have left (hit points, hit dice, spell slots, and other finite resources like Ki, SP, sup die and the like).

I also pretend to write it down. ;)
I actually do write it down at the end of each session, as players often record such things on the chalkboard and thus they tend to sometimes get erased between sessions.

Then at the start of the next session I read out what I wrote.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Fighting and resetting the campsite should take an hour.
This is reasonable.

However when the RAW refers to an hour of combat, and when most people see 'combat' as being the time between the first initiative roll and the last foe falling i.e. a minute or two at most, there's a serious disconnect.

If they really do mean an hour of actual round-by-round fighting then it's the dumbest rule in the history of dumb rules.

If they mean more like what you say then it's just very badly worded.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
So...
In 1e and 2e we dialed things down for the players (ensure the level draining undead perhaps target henchman first, death occurs at -10 instead of 0, allowed PCs to reroll poor hit points...etc)
We did?

Other than death at -10 (which allows room for an unconsciousness mechanic otherwise sadly missing) none of those apply here... :)

In 5e we dial things up for the players (change up rests - gritty or homebrew, inject lingering injuries, use slow natural healing)

I ask again, which is the Easy Mode?
You forgot the words "as written" at the end of your question here.
 



Essafah

Explorer
I have plenty of times. After DMing AD&D 1E/2E for the last 30 years the idea of a 6-8 encounter work day was just not part of my thought process. 6-8 encounters per day exists because of the giant action economy that the players have.

If you either don't throw enough encounters at your players to use up their action economy OR you allow them to rest easily then the game truly becomes easy mode. Once you aren't going to easily run out of abilities then the nova problem occurs.

The problem I have with this design philosophy is that 6-8 encounters per game day @ 10-60 minutes per encounter in real time means game sessions just become hack and slash. I prefer less encounters and more roleplay, that means I have to push my lower number of encounters more into the deadly range to use up their actions without them just blowing away all the encounters. The other option is to make changes to healing, rest, and how easily they get their abilities back.

If your players enjoy 6-8 easy-medium encounters per long rest then more power to them.

The problem I have with the way you are running the game is that I actually like combat encounters. Many players like seeing their awesome cool abilities work and be fun. By pushing towards fewer and more deadly encounters basically the players don't get to see the abilities work really well all that often or if they do those abilities have minimal impact because the monsters are so powerful. The PCs never feel like heroes. They just feel like every combat is a grind fest. If you like that cool but as a DM I don't like to have that kind of play and as a player I absolutely would not play in that kind of game. I am not knocking it per se and if you and your players are having fun that is the main thing. It just would not fit the the idea of fun of anyone I play with.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The problem I have with the way you are running the game is that I actually like combat encounters. Many players like seeing their awesome cool abilities work and be fun.
Only to be expected when the game design goes more and more toward "awesome cool abilities" and when more and more of those abilities are combat-focused.
By pushing towards fewer and more deadly encounters basically the players don't get to see the abilities work really well all that often or if they do those abilities have minimal impact because the monsters are so powerful.
True. A natural knock-on effect of things noted above.
The PCs never feel like heroes. They just feel like every combat is a grind fest.
Which is fine.

In the moment it is a grind, slogging through the foes and the fog of war, occasionally getting your butt kicked, and hoping to survive to tell the tale.

Feeling like a hero comes after the fact, once you look back and realize what you've done and-or once people start rewarding you for it with adulation or money or parades or whatever.

It isn't Wrestlemania, where you get to strut around and act like a big shot while the fight's still going on.
 

Essafah

Explorer
Only to be expected when the game design goes more and more toward "awesome cool abilities" and when more and more of those abilities are combat-focused.
Yeah imagine that. Since 3E the designers are actually designing a heroic fantasy game where players are heroic in power level like Sword & Sorcery characters which are the root of D&D have traditionally been. They are even designing powers and abilities that work when a character misses or helps to mitigate a wasted round. Then all the status effects (the vast majority of them) allow a save every round so a person is not just incapacitated round after round without a chance of recovery and sitting there doing nothing. It is almost like this a game and they want people to play and have fun.

Which is fine.

In the moment it is a grind, slogging through the foes and the fog of war, occasionally getting your butt kicked, and hoping to survive to tell the tale.

Feeling like a hero comes after the fact, once you look back and realize what you've done and-or once people start rewarding you for it with adulation or money or parades or whatever.

It isn't Wrestlemania, where you get to strut around and act like a big shot while the fight's still going on.
No. That is your definition as a DM. My definition and evidently other players definition is being a larger than life hero who used awesome cool abilities that actually was effective in combat. It is awesome that designers have embraced this philosophy since 3E. For OSR games I have Warhammer Fantasy and others where you feel like Joe Average that goes out and gets his butt kicked.

You know not too long ago I purchased this video on Vimeo called "Secrets of Blackmoor". It is about Dave Arneson and the development of D&D. It is interesting. I suspect a lot of the stuff you will already know but still a fun watch. In the video one guy was saying the first time he played D&D with Gary or Dave (I can't recall which) is character died in seconds. He said he remembered thinking "This isn't right. I built this heroe and come to adventure and he dies just like that and he is hero..." The person (I can't recall his name but you would recognize it. In the video he has a huge birthmark on his face) said that after that it was over a year before he played the game with them again. My point is, for many people it wasn't fun back then and the OSR play style is not fun to them now. The only difference was back then we didn't know any better because it was a new thing and competition was more limited. Nowadays people have had a taste of more solid game design and a play style that is fun so most people are loath to go back to that style. It is kind of beer. At one point, in my life (WAY back in the day) I sadly though Budlight Light and Coors, etc were good tasting beers. Then craft beers came along and I fell in love IPAs and breakfast stouts. I am never going back to Budlight but it was good then. OSR style of gaming is the same way for me.

All that being said the occasional deadly encounter is to be expected but they should be just that occasional.
 
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Flamestrike

Adventurer
I'm not sure I would particularly enjoy a game where I've slogged all the way to 14th level, and I'm still basically the same old 1st level pleb worrying about encumbrance, hunger, light and warmth, and slowing winding my way through a dungeon holding a 10' pole.

Like - the dude in robes next to me can teleport, create magical light, summon demons, fly, alter reality, disintegrate things with a word, shift to different dimensions, and conjure firestorms with a click of his fingers.

Most DnD worlds are (and always been) filled to the brim with archmages, dragons, beholders, hundreds of sentient species, planar visitors, flying cities, elves, gods, undead monsters, demons, devils, angels, mind flayers from other worlds, and even space-faring visitors packing plasma guns (Blackmoor, Greyhawk, Mystara, Faerun). When you take a step back, they are gonzo in the extreme.

While at 1st level as a pleb, I might worry about mundane stuff, I have no issue with someone in such a world becoming just as gonzo with experience and loot, and flying, caring stuff in an extra dimensional space, eating food magically conjured out of the air, flinging energy from their hands or whatever.

I have a feeling some of the criticisms of the PCs becoming the Avengers at high level is misplaced. The context of DnD is just as gonzo as the Avengers.
 

Monayuris

Adventurer
Yeah imagine that. Since 3E the designers are actually designing a heroic fantasy game where players are heroic in power level like Sword & Sorcery characters which are the root of D&D have traditionally been. They are even designing powers and abilities that work when a character misses or helps to mitigate a wasted round. Then all the status effects (the vast majority of them) allow a save every round so a person is not just incapacitated round after round without a chance of recovery and sitting there doing nothing. It is almost like this a game and they want people to play and have fun.
The problem is that 3.5 and other modern D&D's shot a little too far over heroic fantasy for my tastes. My 5E group is only level 5 and they can fly at will, have the ability to allow all of them to breathe underwater, see in complete darkness (including magical darkness), not need to consume rations or forage for food, be able to get stealth at any time, they never run out of spells or healing (spell caster heavy party which is something 5E encourages).

To me level 5 should be Game of Thrones not the Avengers.

Personally, if I screwed up such that my character dies or is taken out for the encounter, then it is my own darn fault and I probably deserved it. I played poorly and suffered the consequences. I'll root for my other players and work on doing better next time.

Nowadays people have had a taste of more solid game design and a play style that is fun so most people are loath to go back to that style. It is kind of beer. At one point, in my life (WAY back in the day) I sadly though Budlight Light and Coors, etc were good tasting beers. Then craft beers came along and I fell in love IPAs and breakfast stouts. I am never going back to Budlight but it was good then. OSR style of gaming is the same way for me.
Except OSR games aren't Budlight or Coors. They are Belgian Whites when you prefer IPAs. Equally interesting and compelling craft beer that can be appreciated by those who appreciate a great beer. They're just not the kind you personally like. I am someone who loves IPA's but despise Belgians... so it can happen. :)

All that being said the occasional deadly encounter is to be expected but they should be just that occasional.
True.

I've always maintained that if you play OSR games by the rules, these instant death encounters happen a lot less often than public perception seems to imply. I've been running OSR style games for over ten years. Character deaths happen often enough but they usually happen when a player does something foolish or the combat takes a turn for the worse. I've never had a total party kill and I've never had an unpreventable instant death.
 

Flamestrike

Adventurer
The problem is that 3.5 and other modern D&D's shot a little too far over heroic fantasy for my tastes. My 5E group is only level 5 and they can fly at will, have the ability to allow all of them to breathe underwater, see in complete darkness (including magical darkness), not need to consume rations or forage for food, be able to get stealth at any time, they never run out of spells or healing (spell caster heavy party which is something 5E encourages).
5E doesnt encourage spell casters. Your play style of only a few super deadly fights per adventuring day does.

It forces the players to nova strike, and full casters (and paladins) do that the best.

To me level 5 should be Game of Thrones not the Avengers.
At 5th level, spell casters can throw fireballs, fly, revivify the dead (and animate them as monsters), surround themselves with spirit guardians and so forth.

And that's largely always been the case in DnD

The classes and the settings are gonzo. Faerun, Mystara, Blackmoor, Greyhawk, Eberron, Athas and Krynn are not Westeross.

Birthright maybe.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
As someone who runs both B/X and 5E and tried to run both campaigns with a similar difficulty level, my experience is that it is more effort and work to create an equally difficult game with 5E compared to out of the box B/X.

You are correct that one can run both games with the same difficulty. It becomes a matter of how much of the work you are willing to put in.

With my 5E game, I was constantly fighting against differences in expectations. I wanted a certain output, but the game constantly provided a different one.
I found the same thing with older editions, but I find 5e easier to tailor to my needs. I can run extended rests (in safety only, 1 week) with long rests only recovering HD and letting you spend them at the end, and make nearly all enemies deadly, and it’s most of the way there, for me.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yeah imagine that.
I don't have to as, sadly, it's become real.
Since 3E the designers are actually designing a heroic fantasy game where players are heroic in power level like Sword & Sorcery characters which are the root of D&D have traditionally been.
You're missing a key step here.

Powerful Sword-and-Sorcery type characters are what D&D characters aspire to become, not what they are to begin with or even partway along. In 5e terms, you're not supposed to be Conan until very high level, and asking for it sooner just sounds greedy.
They are even designing powers and abilities that work when a character misses or helps to mitigate a wasted round. Then all the status effects (the vast majority of them) allow a save every round so a person is not just incapacitated round after round without a chance of recovery and sitting there doing nothing.
For these complaints I have no sympathy whatsoever. Sorry.
It is almost like this a game and they want people to play and have fun.
Which is fine if all you want out of it is just that: a game.

But if you want any more then the bad comes with the good.

You know not too long ago I purchased this video on Vimeo called "Secrets of Blackmoor". It is about Dave Arneson and the development of D&D. It is interesting. I suspect a lot of the stuff you will already know but still a fun watch. In the video one guy was saying the first time he played D&D with Gary or Dave (I can't recall which) is character died in seconds. He said he remembered thinking "This isn't right. I built this heroe and come to adventure and he dies just like that and he is hero..." The person (I can't recall his name but you would recognize it. In the video he has a huge birthmark on his face) said that after that it was over a year before he played the game with them again.
Mistake there lay in failing to up-front warn the player that bad things could and would happen to his character, and to keep the roll-up dice handy.

Nowadays people have had a taste of more solid game design and a play style that is fun so most people are loath to go back to that style.
Which goes right back to the title and premise of this whole thread: easy mode.

Once you're accustomed to playing when easy is the default it's quite hard to ramp up the difficulty by adding in options, and a DM who does so often has to fight both the players and the system. It is, however, always easier to go the other way - make difficult the default and provide options to ease it off, thus putting the DM in a better light if-when she does.

At one point, in my life (WAY back in the day) I sadly though Budlight Light and Coors, etc were good tasting beers.
Fortunately I live in Canada, where even our back-in-the-day generic beers blew those away.
Then craft beers came along and I fell in love IPAs and breakfast stouts.
Hoppy beer of any kind is generally vile, and a waste of good resources. Give me a decent pilsener any day. Better yet, give me five or six... :)
 

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