5E Is 5e the Least-Challenging Edition of D&D?

That all happened tonight in my game. They actually tried to short rest in a dicey spot after killing a bunch of orcs and knowing at least one escaped. They got POUNDED soon after and no short rest.
Not on topic - but I find I really dislike how "consequences" for players allowing an enemy to escape make them play. Turns them into bigger murder hobo's than they would otherwise be.
 
Sparse comments...

I think the issue is just a matter of CR calculation and counting action economy of enemies (XP multiplier) when players already have area spells and the like.
Maybe one reason why 5e is often perceived as "easy" could be that they were quite conservative with XP budgets. In addition, many DMs probably don't scale the encounters up when they have less than the suggested 6-8 per day. But I also think that MOST DMs definitely do not play monsters tactically as well as how the players play their PCs, and then just throw more badly-played monsters and then wonder why the PCs are levelling up so fast.

Actually, traps are a good example. Let me ask you this. Is the Tomb of Horrors challenging? Is it equally challenging if you know the answers to all the traps?

Do the wrong thing, die. Do the right thing, move on. The problem is, after you solve it, it is boring. Because you just repeat the same steps.

...

But "poison kills you if you fail a save" doesn't give the player a choice. What choice is there? Never get ambushed by a spider? You don't want to get ambushed anyways, so you are already trying to prevent that. Don't fail a save? You don't have a choice in that matter.

...

Thank all the dice gods that Vancian is nearly dead. I hate the idea of trying to predict how many times I need a spell.
I think traps are indeed a good example about how the rules are not what provides the challenge. Rules that reduce a trap to one or more dice roll remove the challenge from the player. I don't think there can be a ruleset that really makes traps as interesting and challenging as treating them "rulelessly" one by one.

Poison is one of those things that GAMERS demanded for years to be dumbed down to a mere extra damage bonus, so there is little surprise that now it's boring. You have to look for non-standard and narrative-driven poison to introduce possible choices. Once again, a ruleset just gets in the way.

With Vancian I disagree. Having to choose each slot WAS a challenge. But it was a challenge YOU (and many others) didn't enjoy. I was fine with that, but I am just as fine with 5e compensating with a smaller amount of prepared spells per day. What I only want to say is that in every ruleset or edition there are challenges that some people like and some hate. The designers remove challenges which they think they have more haters than lovers.

Death saving throws make it easier to kill characters for me.
I am still undecided on this, but I think I probably agree.

With 55% success on each DST, roughly you get 4 rounds on average to be saved by an ally. IIRC in 3e you lost 1 hp per round when negative, and died at -10, so maybe the average number of rounds to be saved was slightly longer.

But there are other things that matter, e.g. how easy it is to stabilise an ally, and how monsters can affect a dying PC.

I think the biggest issue I have with this thread is the suggestion that DMs just attack downed characters.

This doesn't sit right with me. Sure it makes the game more lethal but there's an element of antagonism here.
I never do that either. I prefer to default to a creature to move on to the remaining active threats rather than spending its actions on a currently disabled threat.

IMO, 4e has the most challenging battle system. It is the only version of D&D I have played that becomes significantly more challenging at high levels, not significantly less challenging.
I haven't really played 4e, but all editions I've played were MORE challenging at higher levels, because there were more possible kinds of threats/effects to face and a larger number of resources to manage.

There were also more possible "winning buttons" of course, but more likely to trivialize parts outside combat, such as travel, investigation or food. But with the exception of investigation which is a big deal to lose, other stuff was considered a nuisance by many groups who maybe expect more heroic deeds than worry about travel at high level.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
We had the situation come up tonight where a PC is down and someone uses an Action DC 10 to stabilize them. I really hate this rule. It's already hard enough to kill characters in 5e and the rules support bullshit where in 6 seconds you do something miraculous to end death saves. I think a healer's kit should be required to do that AND proficiency in Medicine. If you want to use magic to stop death saves, sure, but in the middle of a desperate combat all the player wants to do is roll higher than a 10.
Simple houserule answer: stabilizing is DC 10 in calm surroundings but make it much harder (DC 15? 20? 25?) in combat situations.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Not on topic - but I find I really dislike how "consequences" for players allowing an enemy to escape make them play. Turns them into bigger murder hobo's than they would otherwise be.
Situationally dependent.

If there's more enemies out there that an escapee can get to and alert then having those enemies take action once alerted only makes sense. If there aren't, the escapee is on its own but at least survives.

That said, containment is an often-overlooked tactic.
 

Nebulous

Hero
I think the biggest issue I have with this thread is the suggestion that DMs just attack downed characters.

This doesn't sit right with me. Sure it makes the game more lethal but there's an element of antagonism here.

I guess one way to address this would be to give monsters a 'ferocity rating' - (name not really important). This is basically like a save to see what the monster does if standing over a falling pc.

So basically a number between 1 and 20. A bullette might be say 3. Any roll over 3 and it will start trying to devour the downed pc.

A goblin might be 16. It's more worried about survival and therefore cares more about the other immediate threat right in front of it.

This introduces an element of objectivty, which feels more appropriate to me. (And it takes the GM deciding to kill the character out of the equation).
That's an interesting idea, giving monsters a ferocity rating and take the decision away from the DM because players get so pissed off when monsters attack them like that. On the purely mechanical flipside, attacking a downed PC is about the only way in 5e to legitimately threaten a character's life. That downed PC will be up to half hit points next round very easily, I've seen it happen countless times.
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
Why would the players be pissed off by monsters, especially intelligent ones, going for the downed PC? My players expect nothing less from the monsters. We eliminated the whack a mole syndrome a few years ago when I made the enemies react to the whack a mole. Now the players are avoiding to fall at all cost by using tactics such as dodge, disengage and other shenanigans to which they have access (such as misty step). I usually allow one recovery before the enemies react with attacking the downed PC.
 

Nebulous

Hero
Why would the players be pissed off by monsters, especially intelligent ones, going for the downed PC? My players expect nothing less from the monsters. We eliminated the whack a mole syndrome a few years ago when I made the enemies react to the whack a mole. Now the players are avoiding to fall at all cost by using tactics such as dodge, disengage and other shenanigans to which they have access (such as misty step). I usually allow one recovery before the enemies react with attacking the downed PC.
They always, always argue that "there's a valid enemy PC still standing nearby in a threatening manner, and the monster would attack that person and not the debilitated unconscious one." In real life that is true. In the video game simulation of DnD, the downed hero will be standing within seconds with no lingering side effects unless actually dead.
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
1) There is no sports in life and death combat. Combat is war. If you're not prepared for war, stay at home.
2) Valid enemy... That is the reason why I wait for a PC to raise back up at full fighting capacity. This is what I call a "take no chances from here" by the part of the enemies. You down an enemy only to see the downed enemy get back up with a vengeance? I know that I would not give him/her a second chance at my life. I would decapitate, mutilate, do anything to make sure that I would stay safe. The same logic should apply to the players opponents.
 

Nebulous

Hero
1) There is no sports in life and death combat. Combat is war. If you're not prepared for war, stay at home.
2) Valid enemy... That is the reason why I wait for a PC to raise back up at full fighting capacity. This is what I call a "take no chances from here" by the part of the enemies. You down an enemy only to see the downed enemy get back up with a vengeance? I know that I would not give him/her a second chance at my life. I would decapitate, mutilate, do anything to make sure that I would stay safe. The same logic should apply to the players opponents.
Players don't worry about enemies standing back up. They hit zero hit points and they're dead forever. PCs, on the other hand, can easily be revived to full fighting capacity within seconds. Fifth edition goes way out it's way to ensure its heroes don't die. The rules support "not dying" in about every way imaginable, and I don't personally like it as DM because without the threat of death there's no drama. Sure, it can be houseruled away (and I do to some extent) but they still don't like attacking a downed foe. I think it is necessary to do so in the context of the rules the game has established to ensure tension.
 

fearsomepirate

Explorer
1) There is no sports in life and death combat. Combat is war. If you're not prepared for war, stay at home.
2) Valid enemy... That is the reason why I wait for a PC to raise back up at full fighting capacity. This is what I call a "take no chances from here" by the part of the enemies. You down an enemy only to see the downed enemy get back up with a vengeance? I know that I would not give him/her a second chance at my life. I would decapitate, mutilate, do anything to make sure that I would stay safe. The same logic should apply to the players opponents.
Your way isn't very sportsmanlike.

 

Helldritch

Adventurer
There is a way. But my players are not sure that they like it.
If you fall, you have to make a wisdom saving throw or become frightened when you get back up. The diffuculty is equal to 10 + half the damage that brought you down. So a character will fight with disadvantage for the rest of the fight. In addition, I added the following rule.
Whenever you are frigthened, enemies saves against your spells with advantage. So casters and martial characters alike hates to fall down.
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
I am currently trying the above with one of my groups. They do their utmost as to not fall. They feel it is even worse than getting killed... Either the rule is perfect, or it is a bit too extreme. I don't know yet.
 

Nebulous

Hero
I am currently trying the above with one of my groups. They do their utmost as to not fall. They feel it is even worse than getting killed... Either the rule is perfect, or it is a bit too extreme. I don't know yet.
I would say that is extreme. I just have them gain a level of Exhaustion if they stand back up. That's not so bad unless unless they get dropped and raised multiple times.
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
The frightened condition ends at the end of the combat. Exhaustion need a rest to remove. And after two or three whack a mole, you're at the same point as I. But my condition, as I said, ends at the end of combat. Not yours.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Why would the players be pissed off by monsters, especially intelligent ones, going for the downed PC? My players expect nothing less from the monsters. We eliminated the whack a mole syndrome a few years ago when I made the enemies react to the whack a mole. Now the players are avoiding to fall at all cost by using tactics such as dodge, disengage and other shenanigans to which they have access (such as misty step). I usually allow one recovery before the enemies react with attacking the downed PC.
Yeah, as long as you're up front about it I don't see an issue. We had a new person join (playing a cleric) last session and he wasn't going to heal someone that was down.

I just let him know what the consequence would be - that the PC would be dead when the next monster went. If it makes sense, the bad guys double tap.

Depends on player preference though ... I try to cater to what they will enjoy.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Players don't worry about enemies standing back up. They hit zero hit points and they're dead forever. PCs, on the other hand, can easily be revived to full fighting capacity within seconds. Fifth edition goes way out it's way to ensure its heroes don't die. The rules support "not dying" in about every way imaginable, and I don't personally like it as DM because without the threat of death there's no drama. Sure, it can be houseruled away (and I do to some extent) but they still don't like attacking a downed foe. I think it is necessary to do so in the context of the rules the game has established to ensure tension.
In my game if there is a cleric on team monster they can. It's always up to the DM whether or not monsters dies at 0, the rules just suggest that you do that for convenience.
 

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