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5E Is 5e Heroic, or SUPER-heroic?

Coroc

Hero
Is Frodo flying through the air, firing disintegration beams out of his hands, after dealing with a nest of Beholders and Illithid monsters, and beating down Smaug bare handed?

Because that's just a standard adventuring day for his DnD counterparts.
Again, since you did not reply to my question concerning artifacts:

Frodo has the one ring, which in your translation might be just a weird ring of invisibility, but in fact is the mightiest object on middle earth.

And he bears the artefacts curse, which is much more of superhero than to fly through the air shooting laserbeams out of whatever.

Translated to D&D:

If e.g Frodo could not resist the one rings daily urges, by passing the appropriate saves and ability checks, or if he choses willfully to give in, he could become a godlike being. Or maybe not him, but remember that Gandalf as well as Galadriel refused to take the one ring because they could not resist its promise of power.
 

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Call it what you want to ;p. For me no D&D priest reads like a miraculous thing anymore than a magic missile (its way too character driven not god driven god offered). RuneQuest had some very maybe the god will give you what you want maybe something else game elements and maybe they wont and you had to really sacrifice to do big things that doesn't happen in D&D. It lacks authenticity AND does feel like super powers. OR super science with its reliability
I disagree. D&D allows the DM to decide how miraculous clerics are. I see no reason why a DM can't force clerics to make sacrifices to regains spells (I have in the past). What do you think the cleric is doing when he/she spends an hour preparing a new spell list?

"Oh, Aphrodite, please accept this murdered sheep as a token of my devotion and grant me the ability to close wounds and spout rays of light from my eyeballs."
 
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Scott Christian

Adventurer
No, it doesn't. Your anecdotal experiences dont match mine.
His evidence is anecdotal. But we can surmise most groups do not have four or five encounters each day. Here is why we can draw that conclusion:
  • There is no game at a convention that runs a "long adventuring day" outside of the "contest games" that are meant to be deadly (so right there, a percentage of the games played are not using long days)
  • The average game is four hours (see Roll20 data). It is impossible to finish four or five encounters in that time frame. How many finish two encounters in that time? Take that and ask how many DM's end one session in the middle of the day? How many finish two sessions in the middle of the day? The answer is logically, fewer rather than more. Why? Because humans like closure. It settles nicely with people.
  • At higher levels (heck, even at level 5 or 6, wizard's can cast Leomund's Tiny Hut or Mordekainen's Mansion and get a long rest in relatively safety. Unless of course you don't allow those spells. Which, if you do not, would make you a minority in the DM world. Thus, supporting Garthanos's premise.

There is nothing wrong with being in the minority. There is nothing wrong with your style of game play. It is just that most groups do not play that way. I realize there are a bunch of people that love to think everything is counter-intuitive and that the obvious perception or obvious look at the numbers is wrong. But, common sense from a time, observation, and ruleset look at the long adventuring day being a rarity rather than a common event.
 

Scott Christian

Adventurer
Im not talking about force; it just seems like you have a trouble player. Part of the DMs job is to teach the game (and that includes showing players how to not be bad players).
Completely agree with you. I was just responding to the "send an army after the character" phrase. And thank goodness, I have not had such players in a very long time.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
What makes a superhero a superhero?

The reason I ask this is because I probably define it differently than some people. First, they should be extraordinary. Batman may not have superpowers but he is the world's greatest detective, his super power is preparation and always having the right tool for the job.

But I also think that, while powers overlap a fair bit here and there, there's uniqueness. If everybody is super, nobody is. Someone that can move faster than humanly possible or fly is superpowered, right? Except then anyone that drives a car or flies a plane is super. That may have been true a couple hundred years ago, but not today.

So it's the same with D&D. If the PCs are the only ones in the entire world that can cast fireball or there are only a half-dozen opponents with the same capability ... maybe. But in most D&D campaigns (mine included) magic is relatively common. Upper tier is rare, but that's just the difference between driving a Camry vs driving a Ferrarri. It's just a matter of scale.

A PC using boots of flying while using magic weapons and armor isn't particularly super unless they invented (or took advantage of) items that never existed before.

Well, that and most superheroes that are strength based are far, far, stronger than any PC will ever be. Superheroes that fly, usually fly far faster and further than PCs. The Flash and other speedsters move at speeds near or faster than the speed of light. In general top tier superheroes a vast magnitude more powerful at their niche than PCs. There are, of course, significant difference in "superhero" power levels.

Ultimately though it's still just a different genre. I've been watching The Umbrella Academy for example. Most of them are not all that powerful on the superhero scale, but they are extraordinary because they can do things that are not humanly possible. But if magic exists and anyone with reasonable intelligence and the proper training can learn it then casting spells in that world is suddenly possible for most humans.
 

His evidence is anecdotal. But we can surmise most groups do not have four or five encounters each day. Here is why we can draw that conclusion:
  • There is no game at a convention that runs a "long adventuring day" outside of the "contest games" that are meant to be deadly (so right there, a percentage of the games played are not using long days)
  • The average game is four hours (see Roll20 data). It is impossible to finish four or five encounters in that time frame. How many finish two encounters in that time? Take that and ask how many DM's end one session in the middle of the day? How many finish two sessions in the middle of the day? The answer is logically, fewer rather than more. Why? Because humans like closure. It settles nicely with people.
  • At higher levels (heck, even at level 5 or 6, wizard's can cast Leomund's Tiny Hut or Mordekainen's Mansion and get a long rest in relatively safety. Unless of course you don't allow those spells. Which, if you do not, would make you a minority in the DM world. Thus, supporting Garthanos's premise.

There is nothing wrong with being in the minority. There is nothing wrong with your style of game play. It is just that most groups do not play that way. I realize there are a bunch of people that love to think everything is counter-intuitive and that the obvious perception or obvious look at the numbers is wrong. But, common sense from a time, observation, and ruleset look at the long adventuring day being a rarity rather than a common event.
Dungeon play is what the rules are based on, and under that model 4-5 encounters per adventuring day is both expected and reasonable. If that's how you play I have no doubt that you get your encounters in. But in every other situation, you are getting one, maybe two encounters per long rest. Lots of people play outside the dungeon and for them, the smaller number of encounters per day means novaing is definitely a thing.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Levels 1 to 2 - You aspire to greater things.
Levels 3 to 4 - You have the power to make a difference. I say the heroic levels start at 3.
Levels 5 to 10 - You're able to champion larger causes and make a real difference for a town or small area.
Levels 11 to 16 - You're able to participate on a national stage and make a difference on a huge level. I say the super heroic phases starts at 11.
Levels 17 up - You're able to make a difference on a planar level. You are on the cusp of being a Demi-God.
 

  • The average game is four hours (see Roll20 data). It is impossible to finish four or five encounters in that time frame.
The Adventuring Day IS NOT THE SAME THING as a Game session. No-where is it written you need 4-5 encounters in a game session.

And thanks for proving my point by the way. So many damn people conflate those two totally unrelated concepts.

It's so infuriating when people do this and it happens all the damn time. It's why I take Polls like that posted above (where even in the comments people were making the same mistake) with a grain of salt.
 

Contrariwise

Villager
My spouse and I were watching the New Legends of Monkey, a "Journey to the West" inspired action show. It's cheesy but entertaining. Lots of gods and legendary heroes.

... and those gods, those legendary heroes? They are like... level 7-9 characters?

It made me realize that D&D characters, especially at level 5 and above, are not heroes. They are super-heroes. And perhaps a big bold style is best suited for the game?

The gritty, grubby stuff should be reserved for other games (warhammer, older editions of D&D like B/x or a modern retroclone, the GLOG... And you could have these heroes be "reborn" or "ascended" as young "gods" in the world once they reach level 5 - they now have 5e powers and hit points, they are more colorful, they heal fast, they are hard to kill...

If you are playing with the "core assumptions" of any edition of DnD then, no, the game does not work well with a gritty theme. But that should be a moot point because gritty themes have never been central to DnD and have only become less so over time.

Though DnD does lend itself to wild, gonzo displays of power at the higher levels and characters can indeed resemble the strongest of superheroes, I disagree with OP's comment that gritty or grubby themed games aren't fitting to Dnd.

For Dnd simply combine the darker theme with the big, bold power. Much like comic series such as DC's Darkest Night and Batman who Laughs or Marvel's X-Men Apocalypse and Secret Empire.

I run multiple high level games using 3.PF and 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms and would certainly consider two of them as gritty.

That being said this is of course outside of the core assumptions of DnD and though 5e is certainly more difficult to adapt to a truly gritty feel than other editions it can definitely make for a great game if done well.
 
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pemerton

Legend
The Adventuring Day IS NOT THE SAME THING as a Game session. No-where is it written you need 4-5 encounters in a game session.
This is true as a point of logic.

But I believe that @Scott Christian is correct that many tables treat them as equivalent - ie that they begin each session as if a long rest had taken place.

Besides the preference for closure that Scott Christian mentioned, I think there is also a preference to avoid record keeping.

I have run games (D&D, Rolemaster) that work on a "per in game day" recovery cycle since the mid-80s. And for most of that time (and very clearly since 1990) have separated the passage of in-game time from the real-world cycle of sessions. But that is demanding in terms of accurate record-keeping (of spells used, hit points lost, etc). I'm pretty sure my groups have always been at the more obsessive end when it comes to accurately recording this sort of information. A lot of what I read about games online makes me think that, at other tables, this sort of record keeping is not taking place.
 

This is true as a point of logic.

But I believe that @Scott Christian is correct that many tables treat them as equivalent - ie that they begin each session as if a long rest had taken place.

Besides the preference for closure that Scott Christian mentioned, I think there is also a preference to avoid record keeping.

I have run games (D&D, Rolemaster) that work on a "per in game day" recovery cycle since the mid-80s. And for most of that time (and very clearly since 1990) have separated the passage of in-game time from the real-world cycle of sessions. But that is demanding in terms of accurate record-keeping (of spells used, hit points lost, etc). I'm pretty sure my groups have always been at the more obsessive end when it comes to accurately recording this sort of information. A lot of what I read about games online makes me think that, at other tables, this sort of record keeping is not taking place.
Those tables are wrong. When not using the rules as advised, additional modifications are needed for them to function correctly.

Wondering why 5e doesn't work well with only 1-2 encounters per day is like wondering why your bathtub doesn't fly.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Those tables are wrong. When not using the rules as advised, additional modifications are needed for them to function correctly.

Wondering why 5e doesn't work well with only 1-2 encounters per day is like wondering why your bathtub doesn't fly.
The real question is, if your bathtub does fly are you a superhero? Or did your water heater just explode? :unsure:
 

This is true as a point of logic.

But I believe that @Scott Christian is correct that many tables treat them as equivalent - ie that they begin each session as if a long rest had taken place.

Besides the preference for closure that Scott Christian mentioned, I think there is also a preference to avoid record keeping.

I have run games (D&D, Rolemaster) that work on a "per in game day" recovery cycle since the mid-80s. And for most of that time (and very clearly since 1990) have separated the passage of in-game time from the real-world cycle of sessions. But that is demanding in terms of accurate record-keeping (of spells used, hit points lost, etc). I'm pretty sure my groups have always been at the more obsessive end when it comes to accurately recording this sort of information. A lot of what I read about games online makes me think that, at other tables, this sort of record keeping is not taking place.
And i have no issue with tables that want to do it that way, but if they're getting only 1 or 2 encounters per session, they should auto provide a short rest every session and a long rest every 3 sessions.

Then all you need to track is long rest reources.

I mean DND is a resource management game. Decisions you make around that resource management affect game play considerably.
 



Scott Christian

Adventurer
The Adventuring Day IS NOT THE SAME THING as a Game session. No-where is it written you need 4-5 encounters in a game session.

And thanks for proving my point by the way. So many damn people conflate those two totally unrelated concepts.

It's so infuriating when people do this and it happens all the damn time. It's why I take Polls like that posted above (where even in the comments people were making the same mistake) with a grain of salt.
I am not conflating the point. If you bothered to use the rest of my quote you would have understood the fact I was no conflating the two. So I will say it again:
The average session is four hours. A group (especially at higher levels) cannot possibly get through 4-5 encounters in four hours. (And here is the part you left out.) Most DM's do not finish in the middle of the day. No, people like closure - even in their D&D games. Most people play until they get somewhere safe.

Also, you failed to include the wizard spells which make having a long day over and over dubious at best.
 

I am not conflating the point. If you bothered to use the rest of my quote you would have understood the fact I was no conflating the two. So I will say it again:
The average session is four hours. A group (especially at higher levels) cannot possibly get through 4-5 encounters in four hours. (And here is the part you left out.) Most DM's do not finish in the middle of the day. No, people like closure - even in their D&D games. Most people play until they get somewhere safe.
You're conflating the point again! Session length has nothing to do with the adventuring day. The fact your group chooses to 'auto ping' a long rest at the end of your 4-5 hour sessions has nothing to do with what is going on inside the game world.

An adventuring day is 'the arbitrary period of in game time between long rest resource recharges.'

Ordinarily this is roughly once every 24 hours or so, after a successful 8 hour rest without combat or strenuous activity, but it could be a lot longer. In games featuring gritty realism rest variant, it could be several weeks of in game time.

If you must change the rules and grant rest related resource recharges at the end of sessions (instead of when the PCs rest in the game world for a period of time), and you're only getting 1-3 encounters per session, then why dont you just grant a Short rest recharge after every session, and a long rest recharge every 3 sessions.

The fact your group choose to auto grant a long rest after every session instead, has nothing to do with the adventuring day at all.

Also, you failed to include the wizard spells which make having a long day over and over dubious at best.
No, they dont do anything of the sort. Spells like Magnificent mansion and Tiny Hut and Merge with Stone make long resting safer and that's it.

They dont affect the game world. The dont reset the doom clock. They dont stop the BBEG from simply abandoning the dungeon and taking the macguffin with him, or completing the ritual to summon the demon (that the players are there to stop) or scrying on the PCs and preparing an ambush, or the monsters calling in re-inforcements or a million other things from happening.

I dont know about your games, but my PCs are generally trying to achieve something. Stopping a BBEG from doing something nefarious, recovering or destroying a macguffin, working against a cult up to no good etc. My world is a living and breathing world that doesnt 'pause' simply because the PCs decide to.

Long resting in my games generally has negative story, tactical or strategic consequences for the PCs, just as it would have in real life.

Special forces soldiers dont assault a compound, blow all thier ammo in a single fire-fight, fall back and sleep the night, then assault the same compound the next day. It would be suicide at best, and any high priority targets (the macguffin they're there to find/ kill/ capture) would be long gone.
 

Scott Christian

Adventurer
You're conflating the point again! Session length has nothing to do with the adventuring day. The fact your group chooses to 'auto ping' a long rest at the end of your 4-5 hour sessions has nothing to do with what is going on inside the game world.

An adventuring day is 'the arbitrary period of in game time between long rest resource recharges.'

Ordinarily this is roughly once every 24 hours or so, after a successful 8 hour rest without combat or strenuous activity, but it could be a lot longer. In games featuring gritty realism rest variant, it could be several weeks of in game time.

If you must change the rules and grant rest related resource recharges at the end of sessions (instead of when the PCs rest in the game world for a period of time), and you're only getting 1-3 encounters per session, then why dont you just grant a Short rest recharge after every session, and a long rest recharge every 3 sessions.

The fact your group choose to auto grant a long rest after every session instead, has nothing to do with the adventuring day at all.
I'm not sure if we're reading each other's posts with intended tone. Maybe that is why it is difficult to see each other's viewpoints. I will rephrase my post. Maybe that will help. Session length has nothing to do with the adventuring day. Correct. Most groups (please notice, I am not talking about mine.) choose to combine session length with the adventuring day.

Please note the original point I was trying to prove with my words. That most groups do not have long adventuring days. They have one, two, sometimes three encounters and then they rest. That was the point I was making. I was countering the point that just as many groups have a long adventuring day (4-5 encounters plus exploration) as a short adventuring day (1-2 encounters with exploration).

This has nothing to do with my groups. It has to do with me explaining long adventuring days are rarer than short adventuring days.

No, they dont do anything of the sort. Spells like Magnificent mansion and Tiny Hut and Merge with Stone make long resting safer and that's it.

They dont affect the game world. The dont reset the doom clock. They dont stop the BBEG from simply abandoning the dungeon and taking the macguffin with him, or completing the ritual to summon the demon (that the players are there to stop) or scrying on the PCs and preparing an ambush, or the monsters calling in re-inforcements or a million other things from happening.

I dont know about your games, but my PCs are generally trying to achieve something. Stopping a BBEG from doing something nefarious, recovering or destroying a macguffin, working against a cult up to no good etc. My world is a living and breathing world that doesnt 'pause' simply because the PCs decide to.

Long resting in my games generally has negative story, tactical or strategic consequences for the PCs, just as it would have in real life.

Special forces soldiers dont assault a compound, blow all thier ammo in a single fire-fight, fall back and sleep the night, then assault the same compound the next day. It would be suicide at best, and any high priority targets (the macguffin they're there to find/ kill/ capture) would be long gone.
You are correct, in time sensitive dungeons or areas, those spells only provide a safe long rest, but it might also mean that the PC's don't "win." But, again, I would argue that time sensitivity is not the norm for a lot of groups. And that would push my original point - long adventuring days are rarer than short adventuring days.

The reason those spells are important is because it does precisely allow PC's to long rest - even in dangerous areas. There are more than those two spells: the ranger's ability to hide tracks, the ability to fly somewhere orcs and goblins can't reach then lower a rope, the charlatan background and their ability to disguise themselves (rent a room and hide from the guards), etc. My point is the abilities of the PC's as the rules are written encourages them to be creative and use long rests when they feel the need. Most DM's go along with this, not the other way around.

That again supports my claim that even the ruleset, when the abilities and powers of the PC's are included, lends itself to shorter adventuring days.

Last point, I am not saying it is wrong, better, etc. I am supporting the fact that shorter adventuring days are more common than long ones. Thanks for listening.
 

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