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5E Is 5e "Easy Mode?"

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
'Your mission is to [do thing] by [time X] or else [bad thing Y] happens.'

I suppose you could have a quest of just 'do thing' but that sounds awfully boring. Like... why are they doing it? What happens if they fail? How long do they have to do the thing?
Why are they doing it? Because someone asked them to, or because on their own they decided it was worth doing.

What happens if they fail? They fail, which may - but doesn't have to - have consequences down the road.

How long do they have? As long as it takes. Maybe they don't even go straight to the McGuffin mission but instead detour on the way to the old ruined tower they've been meaning to check out for ages, and put the McGuffin job aside for later.

Compare the following quests:

1) You need to recover/ destroy/ locate/ stop the Mcguffin. Whenever you get around to it. Time is not of the essence.

2) You need to recover/ destroy/ locate/ stop the Mcguffin before [time X] or else [bad thing Y] happens. Time is of the essence.
Personally, I usually prefer type 1.

That way, I-as-player and I-as-PC have time to - with the party - gather whatever information we can before leaving, use this information to recruit NPC adventurers to fill any obvious gaps in our lineup, then once in site fully explore whatever it is we're doing and-or wherever it is we're at, take time to thoroughly search the place and make sure we didn't miss anything, and then come back to town, take our time over training and treasury division, and enjoy some downtime.

Were I fed a constant diet of type 2 adventures, sooner or later I'd end up saying "Screw it. This time the world can fall apart, either that or someone else can do this mission. I think we should go back to that last place - we were so rushed that I'm 99% sure we missed half of it."

Which is more impactful, gives the Players a feeling that they've accomplished something, and exercised their agency to affect the game world (stopping a bad thing from happening, via performing the quest).
It can be impactful once in a while, and thus is useful to do once in a while. But not all the time.

Heroes in movies dont have all the time in the world to defuse the bomb, save their daughter from evil mercenaries, blow up the Death Star before it destroys Yavin IV, recover the Ark of the Covenant etc, so why should your heroes?
Quite right - time limits are an overused means of generating tension in movies and TV too.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Whether the DM is weaving their own unique story, trying to tie together the various pastiches her players have created into an organic whole, or playing episodic games with no over-arching connectivity just a stream of individual afters that is creating an interactive fictional narrative or in other words story-telling.
I guess I see a difference between story-telling, where the DM more or less takes the role of an author telling a story, and story-recording, where the DM's job is more one of recording what story occurred and-or trying to make sense of it.

Many DMs end up doing some of both.

No. What I am doing is addressing the point that in 5E and every version of D&D since 2E the game assumes the players are the lead characters of the setting and the game is their for everyone's enjoyment. It is not an adversarial relationship of player vs DM as often (but not always) it seem to feel like in OSR style games.
I don't see some adversariality as being a bad thing at all.

In D&D the world is out to get you, and it's the DM's job to run it that way. It's the players' job to, through their characters, fight through and overcome this. Which means that yes, it's the DM against the players in some ways.

I agree that driving story as you mentioned is bad if done wrong (the bolded emphasis above is my doing). Yet, any aspect of DMing if done wrong is a problematic. When I speak of creating an engaging story I am not talking about railroading or forcing players towards a preset end. I actually prefer a sandbox style of play in fact. What I mean is again making players feel like the leads in the story even from the beginning. This is the story we as a collective are building but the choices and outcomes is dependent upon the choices the cinematic characters make. Railroading is a bad game design and again I didn't feel the need to state the obvious.
OK, I think we're closer on this than I realized. :)

Well, I can respect your opinion and disagree at the same time. I think the design choice of modern games is definitely 1) truer to the Sword & Sorcery roots of the genre the game is based on and 2) better for the growth of the hobby as a whole. I agree on one premise that it is easier to be harsher and let up than it is to grant leniency then take it away but I feel that this more for specific issues vs. general game play. For example, I fully support the baseline assumption of 3E, 4E and 5E that the players are not common in abilites but stand out from the norm and are cut from the stuff of myth.
Where I'd rather they stand out from the norm only after they've done enough to deserve it - which might not be much, maybe just a few levels worth of adventuring - rather than already stand out before they start.

Part of this comes from my enjoyment of very low level play and of watching these neophytes either grow into bigshots or die in the attempt.

Also, the flaw with OSR being the baseline instead of the way the game is currently set up is that basically you run a decent risks of losing players to the game like what happened in The Secrets of Blackmoor and that I have personally witnessed happen at game tables. For example, one of our players (we will call him Rob) is easily one of the more tenured people in our diverse group. Rob has been playing D&D since early 1E. I am honestly not sure of Rob's age but I am sure he is in his early 60's. Rob for the most part likes the current edition but can't stand OSR games and in particularly talks about the ridiculous and nonsensical traps that existed in what he calls Gygaxian dungeons. I can tell you now, if Rob who is a very amenable guy showed up at a table and lost his PC to some random F ery like cockatrices as the first encounter of a level 1 dungeon, some trap that was roll a save or die because you didn't take a wooden pole with you and check every 10'f feet for traps (and yes in 1E I recall a game like this) or worst yet you brought the pole and checked every 10' feet but through a random 1d2 die roll you hit the wrong floor plate so BOOM you're dead, Rob would not make a fuss he would say, "I am sorry. I think I am wasting your time and mine. Please forgive me this game is not what I thought but I hope you have a good day" and then leave.
And nothing against your friend but my response would be to wish him well and show him the door.

That said, it's made very clear to anyone coming in to my games that bad things can and inevitably will happen to your characters, so get used to it.

Many newer players would do the same thing.
Then how did the hobby survive for so long, when the default back in the day was much more difficult than today?

Yes. The DM is free to ignore the rules as they see fit but in my opinion if have to ignore a large amount of rules for the game to be fun then you have a very flawed game.
Again, it's easier to remove things than add them in.

We whacked a bunch of stuff from 1e RAW to, in my eyes, improve it: weapon speed, weapon-vs-armour-type, most race-class level limits, and so on. We also redesigned many other things from the ground up: initiative, some classes, most spells, etc., in a still-ongoing process that's been underway for about 40 years now.

My general philosophy is more or less "no benefit without penalty, and no penalty without benefit"; this to avoid power creep and-or power dropoff. As an example: removing the race-class level limits for demi-humans gave them a benefit, which was somewhat negated by their losing some inherent racial abilities.

In a solid system the rules enhance the game and for the most part in modern iterations of D&D I think this is true. My players and I (and me when I am a player) loved to optimize and explore the full mechanical potential of our characters.
Ah, now this is enlightening and perhaps explains our differences: I've come to very much dislike character optimizing and the associated mechanical game-bending, both in terms of doing it myself and of playing with others who do it.

I'd far rather the character just be what it is. I don't care if it's mechanically exactly the same as every other member of its class, I'll make it stand out as different by how I play it.

I don't want system mastery to mean nearly as much as it did in 3e; 4e wasn't quite as bad and 5e not quite as bad again particularly with feats and skills filed off.
We also favor the tactical combat aspects of the game. For this reason we adhere to the rules as strictly as possible which is one reason why we all crave new official material vs. third party stuff because we like to stay legal. Some of us are lawyers in spirit if not profession and some in the group are both 😄
Should I offer condolences? :)

I prefer the rules get out of the way whenever they can, while acknowledging it's not always possible for them to do so.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
No, and I still think MtG has been a much bigger influence on the design of 3e and later editions than video games. That influence has gone a long way to making the rules/mechanics easier to understand, but I think it has contributed to the effect of the striker, tank, etc. mentality.
It also pushed hard toward rules-not-rulings and a-rule-for-everything in 3e design, and again in 4e. They backed off a bit with 5e, thankfully.

But I also didn't see 1e fighters as "tanks" designed to soak up damage. They were significantly better at fighting, so it wasn't so much standing their ground and soaking up damage as they were much closer to what eventually became the striker concept.
In the game I'm playing in, my Cleric fills the tank role: great AC but can't give out damage to save his life. In combat he usually just tries to hold his ground until one of the real damage-dealers (i.e. the Fighters) can bail him out.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Frankly, that just seems like a good way to have people waste their time.

Sure, "That's why the fighter protected the wizard" but you can't protect them from arrows, "Well, that's why the wizard took cover" which means either A) they have no targets to hit or B) An archer just has to ready an action to shoot the wizard when they pop out of cover, and waste the spell. "Well, that's why they cast protection from arrows" So now we have a spell you need to cast to be able to cast other spells.

It just seems like a lot of effort to prevent players from doing things. I'd much rather my players did things.
It's thinking like this that caused most of the design train-wrecks in 3-4-5e.

I'd rather my players try to do things. As a neutral referee I'm not supposed to care if those attempts succeed or not, and making spells so much easier to cast is largely why casters got out of control. And 5e's fix, which is to nerf a whole lot of spells into the ground, is the wrong approach.

In a system where spells are easy to interrupt yes, there's going to be times - sometimes very frequently - when a caster's action for a round ends up negated or wasted or irrelevant. So what? There might even be entire combats when your contributions don't amount to a hill of beans even though you tried your best. And there'll be other combats that the party couldn't have won without you - it all evens out in the end.

And look at it this way: if the archer's shooting you to disrupt your spell it means she's not shooting someone else.

So, you don't want players to actually face save or die effects. You want them to fear save or die effects and when they don't react appropriately, then kill them.
Please tell me you mean characters here, not players!
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
regardless of difficulty, my point is more that there shouldn't even be a check and that interruption is both easy and, if successful, automatic. (e.g. if the thrown wine misses Alice entirely then she can carry on and might not even realize the wine was thrown at all*, but if it hits her then goodbye spell)

3e introduced the idea of resisting interruption, and doubled down with the combat casting feat (did any caster ever not take this?), and in so doing completely shot itself in the foot.

* - I've always had it that while casting, casters generally lose most awareness of their surroundings other than their spell's target (if it has one), as all their concentration and mental focus is going into casting the spell.
Frankly, that just seems like a good way to have people waste their time.

Sure, "That's why the fighter protected the wizard" but you can't protect them from arrows, "Well, that's why the wizard took cover" which means either A) they have no targets to hit or B) An archer just has to ready an action to shoot the wizard when they pop out of cover, and waste the spell. "Well, that's why they cast protection from arrows" So now we have a spell you need to cast to be able to cast other spells.

It just seems like a lot of effort to prevent players from doing things. I'd much rather my players did things.
Those are all reasons why people called casters squishy, the gm didn't need to hit them with a freight train like 5e to scare them because just getting plinked by an arrow & lmaybe losing their spellslot put the fear of god into them. As a result of that secondary but often more important risk they played up their squishiness & things like ring/bracer/etc of protection mage armor or whatever were super important. Those things stayed super important to them even if they expected to be staying far from the action since any little plink was enough. now in 5ethat plink needs to be a readied siege weapon or something.

The baddies could just ready an action to thwart a caster all the time possibility falls into a similar bucket of "yes maybe you should not have kicked the gm's dog or whatever" bin as "the monsters could completely ignore the tanks & slaughter the squishies if the gm wills it", but it exposes another thing that is missing in 5e. Back in 3.5 ranged attackers didn't need to be especially frightening (ie skeletons were common for that). Because of the low hit chance, a skeleton could have lessened impact by simple things like mage armor, but spell slots were too precious to risk on a maybe so they party needed to juggle the tactical needs of:
  • engaging melee types so squishies didn't get flattened
  • deal with those ranged attackers so casters can do their thing if need be
  • do it while trying to avoid getting too beat up by AoOs for moving from one threatened square to another. Any monster that complicates that by simply existing like a rust monster or trog can dramatically raise the apparent difficulty without actually doing much to raise the risk
In 5e however those archers are no particular threat & that sort of multilayered priorities in combat just doesn't work. The archers need to hit like a truck & ready an action to interrup. Not only that, there is a limit of 1 AoO/round with no meaningful AoO risk for moving around the battlefield.


First, to see if I understand your 3.5 point, I looked up Combat Casting feat and Defensive Casting. Interestingly, they do not slow down your casting time whatsoever. So, Alice can stand up at the table, and cast defensively with Combat Casting. So, she can react the exact same in the negotiating room as she can in the battlefield.

In fact, if I understand casting defensively correctly, if she succeeds on that check, they don't even get to throw wine in her face, because casting defensively prevents you from taking attacks of opportunity while casting. Sure, maybe she is doing a round spell instead of a standard action spell, but you posted the rules for Fireball and it is a standard action spell, so it happens by the end of her turn. To happen by the start of her next turn, it needs to be a 1 round spell.

So, I don't even feel the need to address your points about 5e, because they apply equally well to 3.5. Concentration was a skill, one that any caster would seem to invest in, and I know skill bonuses in 3.5 could get quite large. In fact, just some quick napkin math...

Skill ranks equal level +3 max. 3rd level wizard means +6, Combat Casting is +4, assume Con of 14 for another +2. DC to Defensively Cast Fireball is an 18, you have a +12. That is a 75% chance of not even dealing with the wineglass, and another 70% to 85% chance of succeeding after that.

And this is at 3rd level, a 5e wizard can't even attempt this until 5th level, because they don't get Fireball until then. And at 5th level, Alice in 3.5 has higher skill ranks, so her chances of succeeding are even higher.

Even if we give 5e Alice Warcaster, not being proficient in Con save and with the same stats, gives her about an 85% chance of succeeding. The exact same.

So, any problems you see in 5e with this scenario are equally present in 3.5.
In some ways you are getting hung up on mixing 5e mechanics into 3.5 a example. I covered it earlier, but the fenemy across the table & the archers don't need to ready an action to pop her if she casts a spell & it doesn't matter if she is casting defensively because...
1586082459862.png

In short, the fireball does not happen "at the end of her turn". Regardless of if they act before or after her, they will get a turn before "just before the beginning of [her] turn in the round after [she] began casting the spell."* That defensive casting check doesn't apply to the frenemy because you can't make an AoO while unarmed (monks & natural weapons aside). That defensive casting check means that she would not be vulnerable to an AoO simply by casting a spell with a casting time of 1 action or more. That AoO provoke is why spells that use a swift action were often worthwhile for not triggering an AoO despite lower damage. Assuming unchecked math you are right about a 75% chance for alice to not trigger an AoO from a stealthed spearwielder "threatening" her on the battlefield if she casts a spell. The archer plinking at her with a bow because she started to cast a spell needs much more than the defensive casting check though at 10+spell level+damage & her combat casting's +4 does not come into play. the frenemy across the table was never relying on an AoO to throw the wineglass in her face any more than the archer was & she has no reason to defensively cast that fireball at the frenemy unless she was sitting next to/within 5 feet of someone already armed that was likely to stab her. In 5e by comparison the frenemy has quite the opportunity cost to ready an action each turn for an interrupt attack if alice starts casting and needs to be capable of hitting her like a freighttrain for more than a dc10 concentration check.

Any caster who planned to take defensive casting would of course pump the appropriate skill, but had a boatload of useful casterific feats so combat casting over jut being careful with positioning combined with the knowledge of how vulnerable to melee attacks that "beginning of your turn in the round after you began casting the spell" made a caster. As a result combat casting was not always a given. To add weight to that, I pulled this from google about "useful feats for low level wizards", post4 mentions combat casting then post 5 & 6 trash the idea for various reasons.

@Garthanos we do seem to be after a lot of the same types of "handles" & frustrated by a lot of the same problems fighting 5e but your comment about fear in 5e having disasterous interactions with meaningful AoOs is a great example of one of those unforseen cascading ripples to putting in meaningful AoOs that I'd never considered before & a great example of why it's not so easy to "just add them" as people frequently suggest. 5e's lack of meaningful positioning rules you note is a huge gripe of mine too.

* @Cap'n Kobold hopefully that explains your question of why she would need to wait until then in 3.5? :D
 

In some ways you are getting hung up on mixing 5e mechanics into 3.5 a example. I covered it earlier, but the fenemy across the table & the archers don't need to ready an action to pop her if she casts a spell & it doesn't matter if she is casting defensively because...
View attachment 120503
In short, the fireball does not happen "at the end of her turn". Regardless of if they act before or after her, they will get a turn before "just before the beginning of [her] turn in the round after [she] began casting the spell."*

* @Cap'n Kobold hopefully that explains your question of why she would need to wait until then in 3.5? :D
I'm afraid it doesn't.
Fireball takes a standard action to cast so it goes off during your turn. Outside of readied actions or AoO its not going to be interrupted.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I find asking players to describe their attack/effect often works out like standing on the breaks going down the highway as they stop & try to suddenly switch gears or think of ways to game the fluff.
Oh another thing you can do is use a players make all the rolls variant that way they are still just describing an action so both of you are again part of the flow of the sequence. This works better if you enable quickly applicable situational benefits since often the game isn't generally written with this in mind it may be the DMs best friend +2 bonus or inspiration (gained position next round) or advantage or something similar.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
I'm afraid it doesn't.
Fireball takes a standard action to cast so it goes off during your turn. Outside of readied actions or AoO its not going to be interrupted.
oops your right. Layout is one of those areas where 3.5 could be pretty bad. This is from phb174
1586102174915.png

and this140
1586102230377.png

They aren't in conflict as they apply to different things, but the example with alice still runs into problems if she were to cast a more powerful spell with a 1 round cast time like...
antilife shell, Cal Lightning, Dominate animal/person, enthrall, firestorm, insect plague, modify memory, sleep, statue, summon monster & many more. More importantly there is a mechanic the gm can draw from , as soon as alice said "I'm going to cast fireball" they could say "this is a civil meeting you are at, that's going to be a full round casting in order to get your wand readied & body positioned to begin and finish casting so $frenemy is probably going to just interrupt you by throwing his wine glass in your face." A GM could even houserule that certain spells go from 1 action to 1 round at their table similar to all those threads we saw recently about removing offensive cantrips if they wanted the style of play we accidentally(maybe intentionally?) used back then.

In 5e there are too many safeguards like that & tactical combat/sane flanking & facing rules that were removed and/or defanged to the point of irrelevance & trying to add them back in or just build new ones leads to too many interactions that result in fighting the system like dmg251/252. The variant rule as written is obviously not even close to filling the needs of someone who wants meaningful tactical combat as garth pointed out earlier. Perhaps there was even an original version that did at one point & they noticed the same fear problems he pointed out earlier but rather than fix fear they stripped the variant's down & gave a half baked set of tactical combat rules.
 

Why does it need to be new? the point was I seem to recall that it is along ways from the triviality it gets cast as. And the examples the DMG presents in variants like flanking that obviously without some other components does not do what people who want flanking are after THEY had to know that its bad faith or bad service.
It doesn't need to be bad faith or bad service.

They offered rules for flanking, not for attacks of opportunity and 5-ft steps. Flanking never covered those aspects. They were separate rules. I think of it as similar to saying that spellcasting is broken because of how they handled magic item creation. Yes, the two are related, but they are separate rules.

What truly annoys me about Tetrasodium's rants, and perhaps your own position, is the idea that these knock-on rule effects are somehow an impossible hurdle to overcome, and they could never just alter the rules to do what they want because of X, Y, Z, F, H, and of course LMNOP.

But, the fact that changing a rule has ripple effects is not unique to 5e. And those ripple effects are generally pretty easy to see. Yes, giving everyone 1 AoO per turn makes Sentinel more powerful, it is a feat focused on AoO's after all. And yes, if you combine that with the Fear spell and then position so that the feared enemies run towards the person with Sentinel, it is a potent combination. Perhaps more powerful than you would like it to be.

You decided a fix by making the save more frequent from Fear. My fix is to allow the enemy more leeway in escaping from the Sentinel, treating them like a hazardous piece of terrain. Both may work. Neither may work. But figuring that out is part of the task of altering the rules. A lot of people complain that flanking gives too much advantage, weakening the other abilities that grant advantage too much, because of similiar knock-on effects. So, we started looking into rules changes that will address that.

I can understand and sympathize that the rules don't give you what you want. But if you refuse to take actions to change them, and instead want to blame the designers for not giving you what you wanted... I'm less sympathetic.


I totally agree with you about railroading. I run open sandbox games. The DM, to me... is an impartial judge or referee. The DM should be neutral and present the environment fairly and without bias. The DM isn't trying to kill the players, but also isn't trying to save them either. The DM should just provide a challenging environment and adjudicate the game fairly.
Not that I want to fully open that can of worms, but I do want to point out that Railroading has it's place.

Honestly, when I go to Gencon or Origins, I expect to be railroaded a bit. I paid money for a 4 hour game session, I'd much prefer to have a clear goal and clear set of rails to follow than some of the games I have experienced where we literally accomplished nothing, because it was an empty sandbox and there was nothing to accomplish.

And, I have had groups of players who are uncomfortable with the wide options of a sandbox. They get overwhelmed with possibilities and want me to narrow down their choices to two or three options. That just makes them more comfortable and feel more informed so they can relax and have fun.

So, there are pros and cons to either side. And each style has its own place.

It's thinking like this that caused most of the design train-wrecks in 3-4-5e.

I'd rather my players try to do things. As a neutral referee I'm not supposed to care if those attempts succeed or not, and making spells so much easier to cast is largely why casters got out of control. And 5e's fix, which is to nerf a whole lot of spells into the ground, is the wrong approach.

In a system where spells are easy to interrupt yes, there's going to be times - sometimes very frequently - when a caster's action for a round ends up negated or wasted or irrelevant. So what? There might even be entire combats when your contributions don't amount to a hill of beans even though you tried your best. And there'll be other combats that the party couldn't have won without you - it all evens out in the end.

And look at it this way: if the archer's shooting you to disrupt your spell it means she's not shooting someone else.
See, I don't think it all evens out in the end. Especially considering how much more powerful casters are supposed to be. I mean, in Shadowrun it is practically a rule "Gank the Mage".

And, I've been the on the receiving side (and seen a lot of my friends do similar) where nothing I do for an entire combat or an entire session fails. And it sucks, and it makes me bitter and angry, because I have good ideas of what I want to accomplish, and I'm just flailing around uselessly while my teammates get stomped.

Happens in 5e, happened in 4e with my Storm Sorcerer who pretty much always missed (I literally do not have a single memory of him making a big, successful attack on any opponent, despite being built as a massive damage dealer. And it was a 2 year game.)

So no. Players will try to do things all the time. And I'm fine with them failing, but I don't feel the need to throw more roadblocks in their way to make that harder.

Please tell me you mean characters here, not players!
;)
 

Mistwell

Legend
There are some baseline assumptions built into the game expectations (sometimes hard to find, sometimes implied) which, if used, make 5e not easy at all.

If you drift from those baseline assumptions too far, you will need to adjust something else to make the game as challenging as it was with those assumptions being used.

If you don't make those adjustments, then the game can seem too easy. Because you removed some barriers and challenges it was assumed you would use, without replacing them with something else to compensate for the loss of challenge.

Some examples of baseline assumptions:
1) lots of encounters between short rests,
2) lots of wandering monsters to make taking a rest more difficult, including wandering monsters which will wait outside your secured resting area or resting spell and ambush you as soon as you are done resting,
3) the use of an array of challenge types between rests and the denial of player knowledge about monster strength (without a good knowledge roll) so they're unsure if each presented challenge is difficult or easy and they risk using resources on an easy encounter (this can include the assumption you will re-skin some creatures to look like something new the players have never seen),
4) the use of legendary monsters and legendary lairs with lair actions sometimes,
5) the use of traps and difficult terrain and terrain which the monsters are not encumbered by but the players do find challenging,
6) the risk of alerting monsters in another area that you're fighting monsters in this area such that you can have one or more encounters combine unexpectedly,
7) using monster intelligence and wisdom to go after more vulnerable members of the party first like the spellcasters,
8) foes continuing to attack fallen PCs after they go down to finish them off rather than moving on to the next PC and leaving someone unconscious instead of dead,
9) monsters running away to fight another day rather than always fighting to the death,
10) a DM understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the party and sometimes attacking their weaknesses.

There is nothing wrong with ignoring one or more of these assumptions, provided you replace that with something else. Like higher CR challenges.

But if you just ignore those assumptions, which are not well spelled out in the rules sometimes but instead are scattered throughout the rules and sometimes just implied by rules or published adventures, then you are going to have to find something else to replace that aspect of expected challenges.

And, as some of these are very old school assumptions which were not as prevalent in some more recent editions of the game, sometimes the more experience you have with 3e or 4e D&D, the harder it is to adjust to using these assumptions in your game as often as I think they were intended to be used. For instance, I think a lot of people ignore all those extensive wandering monster charts throughout the rules of 5e and the published adventures like they're wasted space. Or all those "this spell makes a thunderous noise" descriptions like they're just fluff. Or the Intelligence or Wisdom scores (and description of what they mean) of foes are treated as just an indication for saving throws as opposed to strategy and tactics (and morale). Or that the perception score for a foe is also to hear that thunderwave you just cast several rooms away, and their movement speed can be used to join that battle, perhaps from behind.
 
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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I really don't understand these "Is 5E the easiest edition" threads.

Is 5E the easiest to pick up and learn? Sure, I'll agree to that.

Is 5E the easiest to play and "win" at? Not really. No edition is, because the difficulty of encounters and play is determined by you DM (and some extent by your players if they like risks).

You can play a game of 5e that mimics Animal Crossing, with minimal combat, and mostly about making friends, gathering resources and building a community. Or you can play a game of 5E that is a constant combat grind through the layers of hell, with fights of CR that way overmatch your party's level.
 

In 5e however those archers are no particular threat & that sort of multilayered priorities in combat just doesn't work. The archers need to hit like a truck & ready an action to interrup. Not only that, there is a limit of 1 AoO/round with no meaningful AoO risk for moving around the battlefield.
I have to tell you you are completely wrong here. They are a threat, and a rather serious one. Sure, maybe they can't prevent you from casting, but getting hit by four different archers for 1d6+2 means about 20 damage on average. That's still 1/5 of the average health of a 10th level fighter. A mid-level mage might just drop from that.


Those are all reasons why people called casters squishy, the gm didn't need to hit them with a freight train like 5e to scare them because just getting plinked by an arrow & lmaybe losing their spellslot put the fear of god into them. As a result of that secondary but often more important risk they played up their squishiness & things like ring/bracer/etc of protection mage armor or whatever were super important. Those things stayed super important to them even if they expected to be staying far from the action since any little plink was enough. now in 5ethat plink needs to be a readied siege weapon or something.

The baddies could just ready an action to thwart a caster all the time possibility falls into a similar bucket of "yes maybe you should not have kicked the gm's dog or whatever" bin as "the monsters could completely ignore the tanks & slaughter the squishies if the gm wills it", but it exposes another thing that is missing in 5e. Back in 3.5 ranged attackers didn't need to be especially frightening (ie skeletons were common for that). Because of the low hit chance, a skeleton could have lessened impact by simple things like mage armor, but spell slots were too precious to risk on a maybe so they party needed to juggle the tactical needs of:
  • engaging melee types so squishies didn't get flattened
  • deal with those ranged attackers so casters can do their thing if need be
  • do it while trying to avoid getting too beat up by AoOs for moving from one threatened square to another. Any monster that complicates that by simply existing like a rust monster or trog can dramatically raise the apparent difficulty without actually doing much to raise the risk
Mages still have low hp and AC, making protection items valuable.

Plink damage still gives you a concentration save, I've seen plenty of people fail the DC 10 check if they are getting attacked enough

Melee still wants to engage archers and deal with the other melee types to prevent them from targeting the back line.

And you still need to be careful about auras, AoO's ect.

Actually. Last night is a good example. My 4th level ranger was in a fight with some new monsters. I followed a group of fleeing monsters past an invisible wall and they turned to attack me. Luckily they missed half their attacks, only reducing me to a single hp.

I could have disengaged and ran, taking no attacks, but then they would have just followed me back out of the wall and finished me. So, I attacked at disadvantage with my bow, hoping to kill the single monster next to me so I could retreat, and hope enough of my allies had come back into the room to deal with the last monster. I had to burn a resource to succeed the roll, because I almost failed.

Now, I'm sure you can tell me all the things I did tactically wrong, all the ways that 3.5 would have been worse and my character would have died. But, it was an intense moment for my character. If I had failed that attack, I would have had to have risked the attack of opportunity. And if it had hit, with most of my allies not having seen the illusory wall, I would have likely died.

In fact, we took quite a few really nasty Attacks of Opportunity last session, because there was always a single monster we couldn't find a better way around. So, there are plenty of threats from AoO still around.


In some ways you are getting hung up on mixing 5e mechanics into 3.5 a example.

I covered it earlier, but the fenemy across the table & the archers don't need to ready an action to pop her if she casts a spell & it doesn't matter if she is casting defensively because...

In short, the fireball does not happen "at the end of her turn".

Regardless of if they act before or after her, they will get a turn before "just before the beginning of [her] turn in the round after [she] began casting the spell."*

That defensive casting check doesn't apply to the frenemy because you can't make an AoO while unarmed (monks & natural weapons aside).

That defensive casting check means that she would not be vulnerable to an AoO simply by casting a spell with a casting time of 1 action or more.

That AoO provoke is why spells that use a swift action were often worthwhile for not triggering an AoO despite lower damage.

Assuming unchecked math you are right about a 75% chance for alice to not trigger an AoO from a stealthed spearwielder "threatening" her on the battlefield if she casts a spell.

The archer plinking at her with a bow because she started to cast a spell needs much more than the defensive casting check though at 10+spell level+damage & her combat casting's +4 does not come into play.

the frenemy across the table was never relying on an AoO to throw the wineglass in her face any more than the archer was & she has no reason to defensively cast that fireball at the frenemy unless she was sitting next to/within 5 feet of someone already armed that was likely to stab her.

In 5e by comparison the frenemy has quite the opportunity cost to ready an action each turn for an interrupt attack if alice starts casting and needs to be capable of hitting her like a freighttrain for more than a dc10 concentration check.
My eyes were swimming for most of that, but let me see if I can tease out some actual points.

Looks like most of it doesn't matter because of the correction post, so I'll just move on to that.

They aren't in conflict as they apply to different things, but the example with alice still runs into problems if she were to cast a more powerful spell with a 1 round cast time like...

antilife shell, Cal Lightning, Dominate animal/person, enthrall, firestorm, insect plague, modify memory, sleep, statue, summon monster & many more.
Things she would obviously never do, so not going to discuss them.

She wouldn't cast "Conjure Elemental" (1 minute cast time in 5e) in the meeting either. Not if she wants a surprise attack

More importantly there is a mechanic the gm can draw from , as soon as alice said "I'm going to cast fireball" they could say "this is a civil meeting you are at, that's going to be a full round casting in order to get your wand readied & body positioned to begin and finish casting so $frenemy is probably going to just interrupt you by throwing his wine glass in your face."

A GM could even houserule that certain spells go from 1 action to 1 round at their table similar to all those threads we saw recently about removing offensive cantrips if they wanted the style of play we accidentally(maybe intentionally?) used back then.
Hmm, that bolded bit is interesting. Seems like you are saying you could houserule it to do what you feel is appropriate anyways.

5e DMs can do that too. Sure, we don't have different styles of casting speeds, but we do have initiative. And I have actually quite often seen a player pull a weapon or cast a spell at a tense negotiation, and then the guards and people we are negotiating with attacking. We then roll Inititiative to see who reacts faster. So, Alice could roll off against the frenemy. If she is faster, then she gets her spell. If the guards are faster, they charge her and start wailing on her with their swords, or shooting her with arrows. (I'm assuming this negotation is with someone important, and there is a reason that no one important goes to a meeting without at least two guards.)

And, we can even rule that her casting in this situation is a held action, so she has to make concentration checks or lose the spell, with the added bonus of knowing that if she wants to target the guards, she needs to target herself too.

And sure, maybe the wine glass won't be enough to break her concentration. Frenemy could just tackle her. But the point is, if you are okay changing the rules of 3.5 to make things less certain, then we can do the same to 5e.


In 5e there are too many safeguards like that & tactical combat/sane flanking & facing rules that were removed and/or defanged to the point of irrelevance & trying to add them back in or just build new ones leads to too many interactions that result in fighting the system like dmg251/252.

The variant rule as written is obviously not even close to filling the needs of someone who wants meaningful tactical combat as garth pointed out earlier.

Perhaps there was even an original version that did at one point & they noticed the same fear problems he pointed out earlier but rather than fix fear they stripped the variant's down & gave a half baked set of tactical combat rules.
As I told Garthanos, this is nothing new. Changing rules has always affected other rules. It did in 3.5, it did in 2e, it did in Chainmail, it does in chess, it does in monopoly.

Yes, if you change the rules there will be ripple effects.

So deal with them. Other people have. In fact, I bet if you approached discussions like this with an attitude of "Okay, if I add in everyone getting an AoO every turn, I think it makes sentinel too powerful. Anybody have any thoughts on fixing that part?" or "I want spells to trigger opportunity attacks again, but there should be some exceptions. Do you think that full action melee spells should be exempt, or only bonus action spells?" you would get a much more positive response.

Instead you say "THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FIX, LOOK AT ALL THESE PROBLEMS AND THEY GUTTED 3.5 AND THERE IS NO WAY TO PUT IT BACK TOGETHER" and of course, no one tries to help you, because you are just ranting and declaring it unsalvageable.

It is not effective.
 

Sadras

Hero
I really don't understand these "Is 5E the easiest edition" threads.

Is 5E the easiest to pick up and learn? Sure, I'll agree to that.

Is 5E the easiest to play and "win" at? Not really. No edition is, because the difficulty of encounters and play is determined by you DM (and some extent by your players if they like risks).

You can play a game of 5e that mimics Animal Crossing, with minimal combat, and mostly about making friends, gathering resources and building a community. Or you can play a game of 5E that is a constant combat grind through the layers of hell, with fights of CR that way overmatch your party's level.
Ceteris Paribus
 



Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
The question implies this. So this is examining/comparing the system alone, not the DM, the amount of risky players, the adventure...etc
Ah. I mean, I kind of implied this in my post, that 5e is fairly easy to pick up, learn, and get some abilities in the earlier levels.

But that alone isn't going to make your game easy or hard, so the debate here seems a little pointless.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
8) foes continuing to attack fallen PCs after they go down to finish them off rather than moving on to the next PC and leaving someone unconscious instead of dead,
I'm not calling you out or anything. It's funny how often this baked in assumption of 5e is ignored by what are often the same people who rail against older d&d versions or OSR games being adversarial gm vrs player like came up earlier
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It doesn't need to be bad faith or bad service.
bad service is a pretty broad thing... and indeed subjective but it probably relates to what I expect out of a variant rule.
They offered rules for flanking, not for attacks of opportunity and 5-ft steps. Flanking never covered those aspects. They were separate rules. I think of it as similar to saying that spellcasting is broken because of how they handled magic item creation.
ok I will bite that example (almost) how about healing being broken because trivial magic item creation in 3e allowed far far too much healing... ever hear that criticism. Rules are part of "systems" if you arent treating them in concert you are doing them wrong. I expect the game designers to have more ability to see that than others.
Yes, the two are related, but they are separate rules.
Rules have purposes and its a very very narrow and non game designer view to treat them like you do not know the purpose and goal of particular rules it seems well deceptive ( for the game designers in my opinion ). It is presenting a cosmetic shadow that will not serve the purpose it fulfilled (like healing surges which do not limit healing). I would say variant rules should start with comments about what the goal of this rule is... and follow through with a rule variant to fulfil that.

The purpose of flanking was never to "give combatants a simple way to gain advantage on attack rolls against a common enemy". Advantage is pretty pervasive already IMO why would i want that...

It was a component of the rules to make position significant. Present a collection of rules if you must for the overarching purpose. Then show how the component
provides in this case "reward for position" creates incentive to offset other components that provide difficulties for achieving position.

While misnamed the 5e healing surges actually do accomplish what they are labelled to do ... not actually seeing a variant rule that even seems to try an implement how 4e limited every source of healing based on the internal awesome of the characters.
 

Sadras

Hero
Ah. I mean, I kind of implied this in my post, that 5e is fairly easy to pick up, learn, and get some abilities in the earlier levels.
But that is not necessarily the scope of the thread. It has mutated from the the rate of PC success (attack rolls, skill checks and saves) to the actual game play and lethality.

But that alone isn't going to make your game easy or hard, so the debate here seems a little pointless.
If you are going to apply that same standard to threads then many threads become pointless.
i.e. Is x ability OP, does alignment matter, is 6-8 encounters are realistic guideline...

If your DM, risky players and the type of adventure are always the case - then what is the point of discussing anything?
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
But that is not necessarily the scope of the thread. It has mutated from the the rate of PC success (attack rolls, skill checks and saves) to the actual game play and lethality.



If you are going to apply that same standard to threads then many threads become pointless.
i.e. Is x ability OP, does alignment matter, is 6-8 encounters are realistic guideline...

If your DM, risky players and the type of adventure are always the case - then what is the point of discussing anything?
I'm not going to drag other thread topics into this, but I'll reiterate that just because a game is easy to pick up and learn, doesn't make it's actually gameplay easy or hard.

Consider a game like Super Smash Bros. Is it hard to play? Not really. Is it hard to win a global tournament, in other terms master? Hell yeah.

I don't think anyone here can disagree that 5E is one of the easiest edition to pick up and play, and do a competent job from the outset.

But I think when people debate how "easy" or "hard" something is, they're thinking about it in levels of skill. If you're better as something that is "hard" you're the better player right? So if one edition is harder than another, players of one edition are better than players of another edition?

My point is that that above distinction (whether one edition's players are "better" at playing at D&D than another's edition) is always kind of pointless. And since that's usually what these debate devolve into, I think it's pointless.
 

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