D&D 5E Is Tasha's Broken?

Twilight Cleric is simply a bad design. First off, rolling the temp HP for every character, every round is hella annoying. It also increases the party resilience massively, and even more so if the enemies spread out their attacks. You simply cannot design encounters the same way to a party with a Twilight Cleric and one without. What could challenge the former would blenderise the latter. This to me is clearly broken. The only sensible tactic against a party with a twilight cleric is simply for all the enemies to focus fire on the cleric and hope to take them out. Doing this every time is not fun, enemies using varied tactics and attacking different characters is much more fun. And if the enemies are chosen to be able to threaten the characters even despite the twilight aura, then if the cleric goes down a TPK is highly probable. I don't know what the designers were thinking, to me it is clear that they dropped the ball with this, and if it is an indication of the future direction of the game, then I'm not interested.
 
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I've seen some bad characters in 5E. Newbsputting ability scores in the wrong places or multiclassing for concept vs something effective. 1d8+2 damage by level 9.

Added a rule along the lines of don't deliberately make a terrible character. Mostly because you're letting the rest of the group down. You don't need to powergamer either I prefer PCs not going for either extreme.
back pre covid (the only judge of time I have... was it 4 weeks or 4 years ago, I can't recall... but it was before my life got thrown for a loop and mask mandates) I joined a game at a gaming store and found what I think was the worst built character... and nobody was helping the poor kid make it more fun.

Game was rolled stats (a big clue to not careing about balance) and the kid had rolled a 17 and a 16 so he wasn't behind the curve on stats.

he was sorcerer. But he wanted to use a great sword. So he put his 17 in Str and 16 in dex... and a 12 in Cha. He then took 5 levels of sorcerer and took his feat as weapon prof. He spent the first 10ish sessions (long before I joined at 5th level) unable to hit because of non prof, and his spells all sucked. Other players openly made fun of him at the table. He was about to quit (and since this was his first game he hated it) when I suggested he be allowed to reconfigure his character... the DM said he had to die to reroll, so I talked to him about what he wanted... and we let his character die and remade it with the same concept. This time he rolled a little worse (3 15s but no 16s or 17s) I showed him eldritch knight and he went Str Con and Int 15 (well 16s he was a reg human) and become WAY happier and wasn't the butt of jokes anymore. he was like 16ish (I know he was old enough to be driven by his mom to teh store but going to get license and already had a permit so some late teen)


however I will add I have seen people who through 7 different edition/variations of the game do play against type and have fun. (a dwarven abjurer with mostly buff spells and a higher con/str then int, a wis based archer fighter, a warlord with an 9 str) however those are normally advance players who know what they are doing and are going out of there way to find loopholes.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
back pre covid (the only judge of time I have... was it 4 weeks or 4 years ago, I can't recall... but it was before my life got thrown for a loop and mask mandates) I joined a game at a gaming store and found what I think was the worst built character... and nobody was helping the poor kid make it more fun.

Game was rolled stats (a big clue to not careing about balance) and the kid had rolled a 17 and a 16 so he wasn't behind the curve on stats.

he was sorcerer. But he wanted to use a great sword. So he put his 17 in Str and 16 in dex... and a 12 in Cha. He then took 5 levels of sorcerer and took his feat as weapon prof. He spent the first 10ish sessions (long before I joined at 5th level) unable to hit because of non prof, and his spells all sucked. Other players openly made fun of him at the table. He was about to quit (and since this was his first game he hated it) when I suggested he be allowed to reconfigure his character... the DM said he had to die to reroll, so I talked to him about what he wanted... and we let his character die and remade it with the same concept. This time he rolled a little worse (3 15s but no 16s or 17s) I showed him eldritch knight and he went Str Con and Int 15 (well 16s he was a reg human) and become WAY happier and wasn't the butt of jokes anymore. he was like 16ish (I know he was old enough to be driven by his mom to teh store but going to get license and already had a permit so some late teen)


however I will add I have seen people who through 7 different edition/variations of the game do play against type and have fun. (a dwarven abjurer with mostly buff spells and a higher con/str then int, a wis based archer fighter, a warlord with an 9 str) however those are normally advance players who know what they are doing and are going out of there way to find loopholes.

That's fine but I've encountered newbs who do stuff like that ignore all advice and generally just screw things up for everyone else.

Like that potential new player who thought 1d8+2 damage at level 9 mattered. He didn't join my game but the other 2 DMs both of them shot him down as well.

It's a team game at the end of the day. If you've got enough brains to put your highest score where it matters , skip feats and asi it to 18 or so you're fine in games.

Low stats and MCing missing your second attack and no spells above level 2 though .....
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
That's fine but I've encountered newbs who do stuff like that ignore all advice and generally just screw things up for everyone else.

Like that potential new player who thought 1d8+2 damage at level 9 mattered.
1d8+2 is pretty rough. I can almost see how a player might be like "eh, if I had 20 Strength I'd do, what, 3 more damage?" and maybe ignoring Dueling Style because +2 damage isn't as cool to them as +1 AC or the ability to impose disadvantage to enemy attacks...but yeah. I'd really be curious to know what they were going for if I saw a build like that.

I'm reminded of some of the companion characters you get in Kingmaker- really? A Tower Shield Fighter with 15 Strength, a bastard sword, and 19 Con? What were you thinking, Valerie?
 

That's fine but I've encountered newbs who do stuff like that ignore all advice and generally just screw things up for everyone else.
in this case the newbie didn't have any advice at all. He was told (as was the whole table) "just play concept what do you WANT to be" and a sorcerer with a big sword sounded cool... he even had a pop culture refrence (but one I ddin't get) for it
Like that potential new player who thought 1d8+2 damage at level 9 mattered.
I will take that and raise you the online game I am in now... where we started at level 1 got all our gear taken and now at level 4 still don't have our starting gear back. we have 2 main line fighters, a fighter (weapon master) and a Paladin (I think crown)... the paliden is an elf and went a dex build but the fighter went pure str. the weapons we have found have been a polearm that weapon master uses (1d10+4) and the long sword the paliden uses (1d8+1) mean while if the paliden could get a short sword he would deal 1d6+4... heck with a whip or dagger (I keep agreeing we should be able to make a make shift whip even stuck in ravenloft) he would deal 1d4+4 and hit more accurately.

then again our wizard is MORE SOL because she has not been able to learn or prep spells in 3 levels so even though she has 2nd level slots she doesn't know any 2nd level spells and only knows what she had prepped when we went to bed day 1 cause without a book she can't prep.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
in this case the newbie didn't have any advice at all. He was told (as was the whole table) "just play concept what do you WANT to be" and a sorcerer with a big sword sounded cool... he even had a pop culture refrence (but one I ddin't get) for it

I will take that and raise you the online game I am in now... where we started at level 1 got all our gear taken and now at level 4 still don't have our starting gear back. we have 2 main line fighters, a fighter (weapon master) and a Paladin (I think crown)... the paliden is an elf and went a dex build but the fighter went pure str. the weapons we have found have been a polearm that weapon master uses (1d10+4) and the long sword the paliden uses (1d8+1) mean while if the paliden could get a short sword he would deal 1d6+4... heck with a whip or dagger (I keep agreeing we should be able to make a make shift whip even stuck in ravenloft) he would deal 1d4+4 and hit more accurately.

then again our wizard is MORE SOL because she has not been able to learn or prep spells in 3 levels so even though she has 2nd level slots she doesn't know any 2nd level spells and only knows what she had prepped when we went to bed day 1 cause without a book she can't prep.
Uh...and this game is fun for everyone? I mean, I totally advocate there's no wrong way to play but...yikes. Not being able to use proper weapons or have access to new spells for multiple levels? I haven't had to deal with anything that grueling in over 20 years.
 

Uh...and this game is fun for everyone?
no...so far for no one (and we are a year of 1x month with some missed months) but we promised we would let this guy try to run a game... we are playing more out of trying to make him a better DM
I mean, I totally advocate there's no wrong way to play but...yikes.
I agree
Not being able to use proper weapons or have access to new spells for multiple levels? I haven't had to deal with anything that grueling in over 20 years.
last time this type of BS happened the guy DMing now wasn't alive yet (for me it was 2e)
 

sorry, i'm not quite up on the terminology, what does 'it's just an elf game' mean? asking this genuinely.
It can be used in multiple ways. Sometimes 'you're being too serious about what is a frivolous activity (that we all love, but that doesn't change what it is) about fictional worlds.' Sometimes a response to insistence that D&D is supposed to be more realistic, more challenging, about optimization, never about optimization, and so on (in this case, an implied 'it's about whatever lets people enjoy playing it, as I see that as the actual primary goal'). Like any other cliched response, it can be anything from a hackneyed canard to perfectly apt for the situation, depending on the where and when it is used.
I find that to be a bit of a straw man. I don’t see anybody saying they can’t be effective with a 14, but rather that they like being more effective with a 16.
I tend to want to play characters who are extraordinary. If I play a warrior, I want him to be mighty. If I play a rogue, I want him to be incredibly quick and agile. Yeah, it’s shallow. If I were writing a novel with these characters it would be in the YT section, not classics & literature. I’m just not interested in playing joe average, or slightly above average.
It has nothing to do with beating the game, or comparing my character to others’ characters, or following a guide on the Internet.
Anecdotally, on reddit and other places I look that are not old fashioned forums, I've seen plenty of complaints that I'll summarize as 'I want to play my orc druid from WoW, but the game implies that's not what you should do.' That certainly leads me to think that many (no way to know what proportion with the information I have) gamers did want a change, and it wasn't specifically about optimization, needing the boost to survive, or anything else except a communicated norm about which races go with which classes and disliking the old model.

Part of the problem, what does being "broken" mean?
A pretty meaningless term without additional context, to be sure.
As DM, broken is when the features of a class make encounters too easy, which is precisely what @Clint_L describes. It is especially obvious when certain synergies between classes and features regarding two or more PCs allow them to really steamroll over challenges.
Twilight Cleric isn't broken so much in what it can do, it is broken in how strongly and often it can do it. Other class features (like the Bear Totem Barbarian having resistance to all but psychic damage) are broken in a similar way as well and should be nerfed IMO.
So, for me, broken isn't about stealing the spotlight from other players, it is about ruining the challenge of the game.
As loathe as I am to throw out 'can always send more dragons,' I think it applies here. The problem, therein, is that -- if you have to throw out extra dragons, and then the cleric quickly drops, will it be a TPK? That's my eternal fear about raising the strength on both sides of the scale--it turns fail states from merely failure to total catastrophe. I think the Twilight cleric is, if not at that level, absolutely skirting the edges of it. I don't know if it fits in the term broken for me, but it decidedly changes the way the game plays out (sufficient that I would rebalance challenges*). It's a literal game-changer.
*or since I'm running all sandboxes at the moment, adjust how I communicate the challenges of potential choices.

That said, so are dragging around skeleton archers, or polymorph, or plenty of the summons. The game already has plenty of minefields with regards to PCs suddenly (compared to the last party they ran) having a huge potential power spike. That's not a dismiss it, just that DMs have already had to be wary of such things.
 

Weiley31

Legend
Female Gnolls are larger than the male ones. Female black widows are also larger than the males too.

Mantis eats everybody's head though.
 

As loathe as I am to throw out 'can always send more dragons,' I think it applies here. The problem, therein, is that -- if you have to throw out extra dragons, and then the cleric quickly drops, will it be a TPK? That's my eternal fear about raising the strength on both sides of the scale--it turns fail states from merely failure to total catastrophe. I think the Twilight cleric is, if not at that level, absolutely skirting the edges of it. I don't know if it fits in the term broken for me, but it decidedly changes the way the game plays out (sufficient that I would rebalance challenges*). It's a literal game-changer.
*or since I'm running all sandboxes at the moment, adjust how I communicate the challenges of potential choices.

That said, so are dragging around skeleton archers, or polymorph, or plenty of the summons. The game already has plenty of minefields with regards to PCs suddenly (compared to the last party they ran) having a huge potential power spike. That's not a dismiss it, just that DMs have already had to be wary of such things.
True, but there is a difference between I chose a sub-class and put my highest Att in the main stat, and now the DM has to rebalance their encounters (Twilight cleric) and I canvassed the Internet for cheesy exploits that I hope the DM hasn’t come across (summon abuse, polymorph abuse, skeleton archers). In Polymorph’s case, the exploit only comes online at level 7!

Twilight clerics can unbalance the game by sheer accident, which seems rarer compared to the other examples. Plus, occasional AoE are a good way to clear out skeleton and animal minions, but counteracts the Twilight Cleric’s schtick for a single turn.
 

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