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D&D 5E Is D&D combat fun?

(generally speaking) Is D&D combat in 5E "fun" ?


  • Total voters
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1. I can't believe this thread is still going!

2. The quote below makes me want to start a new poll asking "Is one turn really all that valuable that losing one to have to do anything but you'd most want to do is a bummer/unfun?"



This is building on the frequently expressed idea that "no one ever disengages because it wastes a turn."
Not all, but many player absolutely hate not doing something useful every turn. Like, a single turn where they don't attack is just a horrible thing that will ruin their entire week. They'd rather throw a rock for 1 point of damage than dash to get into melee. (This is often correlated with players who will must use their bonus action every turn, in my experience.)

But most players are okay with occasionally being less than useful. Everyone has a different limit, but un-fun monster/encounter design is frequently too much of things that shut a character down. (If it's not just things dragging out.)
 

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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I guess as a player I think of any given encounter - esp. with monsters/scenarios I have never encountered before - as an experiment. Any given choice I make may or may not work like I hoped and there may be several rounds of this kind of thing as we figure it out as a group. That just feels like a part of any encounter. It could be regarding an ability or defense I am unaware or even something as simple as not knowing if there are more orcs around the corner from which the one orc keeps sniping us.
 

This is where I stumble with monsters. It would seem that conditions and damage type (and associated resistances, immunities, vulnerabilities) are key design aspects of wotc editions (brought over from magic the gathering, as this article describes). Yet, bringing them into play, at least on the monster side, appears as unfun. That is, imposing a condition, or a monster that has immunity to certain damage types, renders characters "useless" at least for a round, and that is to be avoided. Yet, if you don't give monsters those types of abilities, they seem boring.
It would be a good way to design a game, but DnD doesn't go there for a specific reason:

Let's say you have a well-worked-out elemental rock-paper scissors system (a la Pokemon, but less detailed). Every monster has an optimized damage type to use against them: orc should be hit with acid, goblins with cold, gnolls with fire, etc. If you get good at descriptions (which boxed text can help with), you can make it a fun little puzzle to read the clues and figure out which to use. *

Then the wizard picks the right spell, the alchemist pulls out the right bottle, and the fighter selects the correct magic sword form his golf bag of magic swords, each doing a different type of damage.

And there's the problem: only spellcasters can natively engage with such a system, and most players would be reluctant to allow the fighter enough magic weapons to to have choices in damage type. Most people expect warrior-types to have one weapon they always use, which means that should almost always be useful.

Like I mentioned upthread, being shut down gets old very fast. One battle per tier of play where your weapons are useless is fine and fun and memorable, but if it's every level it's going to be frustrating, and if it's two-thirds of fights no one will stick with the Fighter class.

Since I also don't know how to have this cake while eating it, I agree with WotC's decision to not have damage type matter all that much.

* rolling a knowledge check to figure this out is a boring way to handle it, as is randomly guessing until you stumble into the right one. Trolls are annoying to run anyways, imagine trying to run every monster like this!
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It would be a good way to design a game, but DnD doesn't go there for a specific reason:

Let's say you have a well-worked-out elemental rock-paper scissors system (a la Pokemon, but less detailed). Every monster has an optimized damage type to use against them: orc should be hit with acid, goblins with cold, gnolls with fire, etc. If you get good at descriptions (which boxed text can help with), you can make it a fun little puzzle to read the clues and figure out which to use. *

Then the wizard picks the right spell, the alchemist pulls out the right bottle, and the fighter selects the correct magic sword form his golf bag of magic swords, each doing a different type of damage.

And there's the problem: only spellcasters can natively engage with such a system, and most players would be reluctant to allow the fighter enough magic weapons to to have choices in damage type. Most people expect warrior-types to have one weapon they always use, which means that should almost always be useful.
They can still be, if one gets away from equating "being useful" only with "dealing damage".

Fighter: "Crap, I can't touch this thing! You casters got anything?"
Caster: "Yeah, I do, but I can't cast if it's in my face!"
Fighter: "Get behind me - I'll hold it off as long as I can..."

Fighter then proceeds to use her movement and actions to block and parry until the caster can finish it off.

Sounds like teamwork to me.
Like I mentioned upthread, being shut down gets old very fast. One battle per tier of play where your weapons are useless is fine and fun and memorable, but if it's every level it's going to be frustrating, and if it's two-thirds of fights no one will stick with the Fighter class.

Since I also don't know how to have this cake while eating it, I agree with WotC's decision to not have damage type matter all that much.
The compromise is to have the one damage type do normal (or double?) damage and all other types do half (or normal?).
 

They can still be, if one gets away from equating "being useful" only with "dealing damage".

Fighter: "Crap, I can't touch this thing! You casters got anything?"
Caster: "Yeah, I do, but I can't cast if it's in my face!"
Fighter: "Get behind me - I'll hold it off as long as I can..."

Fighter then proceeds to use her movement and actions to block and parry until the caster can finish it off.

Sounds like teamwork to me.
Works to a point; the fighter needs to be able to hold the monster in place. 5e doesn't do this well.
The compromise is to have the one damage type do normal (or double?) damage and all other types do half (or normal?).
You need a very careful balance - the effect need to be big enough to care but not so big it can't be powered through, except that it also needs to be hard to power through, but not too hard...

Basically, people need to be constantly arguing whether it matters. That's when you've hit the sweet spot.
 



tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Sure it does! It has the hold monster spell.

What's that, that's not a fighter thing? 😉

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Your post was in response to a statement made about something fighters & other martial characters previously had and should never have lost. Not only that, the example itself references one or two* problems casters previously but no longer have that probably should not have been lost either. Missing both of those things in order to make a sarcastic complaint that fighters don't also have caster abilities or that casters themselves have caster abilities is a bit silly.

With that said... hold monster is not an option either given the example conversation where the caster is saying "I can't cast if it's in my face!" that too is not an option even if the caster has it on their class list and has it known/prepared and has a suitable spell slot available to cast it with. Which goes back to the original point you avoided to complain that fighters don't have caster abilities too while someone was pointing out a martial character thing fighters should have as martial characters. That point is the fact that 5e fighters & other martial characters are not sticky like in past editions is just as serious as the fact that nobody in 5e feels squishy or really terrified of being in melee.

*edit: In the past a caster was terrified of being in melee with baddies because they tended to be squishy as hell due to low hp & low ac. 5e casters have much better ac much easier, much better HP, and frankly nobody is in any real danger of being killed due to how damage beyond zero just goes away with a bonus action healing word/healing light or any healing of at least 1hp.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Works to a point; the fighter needs to be able to hold the monster in place. 5e doesn't do this well.
If only there were some way fighters could carefully watch for enemy's movement as if they were a sentinel. ;)

Which doesn't help if you don't use feats, and the sentinel feat does take your reaction but it does make the fighter stickier.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
Works to a point; the fighter needs to be able to hold the monster in place. 5e doesn't do this well.

You need a very careful balance - the effect need to be big enough to care but not so big it can't be powered through, except that it also needs to be hard to power through, but not too hard...

Basically, people need to be constantly arguing whether it matters. That's when you've hit the sweet spot.

Not only does grapple reduce a creature's movement speed to 0 but the grappler can then move that creature around.
 

Imaro

Legend
*edit: In the past a caster was terrified of being in melee with baddies because they tended to be squishy as hell due to low hp & low ac. 5e casters have much better ac much easier, much better HP, and frankly nobody is in any real danger of being killed due to how damage beyond zero just goes away with a bonus action healing word/healing light or any healing of at least 1hp.

This has definitely not been my experience in 5e, casters are still squishy (Except for clerics/druids which, let's be honest, really have never been) and are easier to take down than the melee classes. The only exception to this I've seen is a caster purposefully built to be less squishy and have better AC... of course this comes with a hit to other areas.

As for no one being killed... purely on the DM, you want a more dangerous & death filled game have opponents finish off characters by attacking downed characters (this plus death saves will usually finish a character off in 1 - 2 rounds, sometimes less). Personally this isn't to my tastes but it's a rule and there to be used if you want.
 

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