D&D 5E Is the Default Playstyle of 5E "Monty Haul?"

Retreater

Legend
I'm sure most of you are familiar with the expression of the "Monty Haul" style game.
(In case you're not, here's a link to an article: Monty Haul)

Specifically, looking at the 1990 "Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide" definition: "a 'giveaway' campaign in which the players receive treasure and experience disproportionate to the dangers they overcome."

Is there any "danger" inherent in 5E? In my two groups currently playing 5E, I have the following:
  • A 3rd level party that functions around 7th level.
  • A 7th level party that functions around 14th level.

Any time I give them XP or treasure, it doesn't feel "earned." More importantly, it doesn't feel "needed."
  • Why worry about an extra +1 to hit when you already destroy anything the DM throws at you?
  • An extra 6 HP when you don't even drop to half health in a routine combat?
  • What incentive could there be for playing smart when every battle can be won with standard operating procedures? (It's not important to exploit a creature's weakness when you're going to be able to kill it with ease anyway.)
 

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prabe

Tension, apprension, and dissension have begun
Supporter
The PCs I'm running for--a party of six at 18th level, and a party of five at 13th level--punch well above their weight. I have had little problem actually threatening them, and have come close to wiping both parties more than once.

So, yes, there is at least some danger to the characters inherent in 5e.

The PCs have avoided some of the worst consequences by being relatively smart about things. In at least one instance, that has meant bailing on what they were trying to do.

That probably isn't helpful, except perhaps as a way of saying there are answers.
 

wedgeski

Adventurer
How experienced are your players? I agree that the default assumptions of 5E make for a relatively easy time of it, but a bunch of new players coming in at 3rd level are going to get their butts kicked by a 7th level encounter.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
It's nothing with no guidance & makes no effort at even urging players to even make efforts to get onboard with the GMs efforts.
 

Retreater

Legend
No, because it would imply that the DM is giving them items and experience disproportionate to the challenge.

IME, most DMs aren't doing that. However, its still very easy for PCs to punch above their weight. Its been discussed ad nauseum how the CR system doesn't work well and I think that's what you're experiencing here.
My experience (pun intended) is that most enemies fall into two camps.
1) monsters a party can eventually wear down (usually ones that affect a single character)
2) monsters that can one-shot numerous characters with a massive AoE attack (e.g. dragons).
It's not just the CR system that's off - the entirety of monster design seems wrong.
 

Oofta

Legend
I've run games for two groups simultaneously keeping them at the same level with the same options for builds and wealth. One group was significantly more effective than the other, it had nothing to do with what they were given it had everything to do with team dynamics and tactics.

The CR system is designed for 4 person party of inefficient newbies with no magic, feats or multiclassing. In addition the rankings are often misunderstood. Deadly doesn't mean a PC will die, it's that there's a high likelihood. Basically they shot for the low end of the spectrum and it will always be and has always been up to the DM to balance encounters depending on numerous factors including how good the group's tactics are.

A preponderance of magic item will increase the capability and can make people more reliant on magic items than the abilities associated with their class. Whether that's good or bad is a matter of personal preference. Personally I go with fewer magic items and fairly low amounts of gold.
 

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the expression of the "Monty Haul" style game.
(In case you're not, here's a link to an article: Monty Haul)

Specifically, looking at the 1990 "Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide" definition: "a 'giveaway' campaign in which the players receive treasure and experience disproportionate to the dangers they overcome."

Is there any "danger" inherent in 5E? In my two groups currently playing 5E, I have the following:
  • A 3rd level party that functions around 7th level.
  • A 7th level party that functions around 14th level.

Any time I give them XP or treasure, it doesn't feel "earned." More importantly, it doesn't feel "needed."
it depends... I have seen smart (or lucky) players build characters that hit WAY above what they are supposed to. Even before an optimized character though 5e is SUPER forgiving of biting off more then you can chew.

Worse still (especially if you don't customized to your characters) is a dungeon that would be a fun challenge to a party of 5 fighter, mage, cleric, rogue, third wheel (bard, barbarian ranger or paladin normally) can be deadly to party of 4 2 rouges 2 fighters and maybe unpassable to a party of 4 fighters... but be a super breeze to a party of 4 wizard (bladesinger) warlock (hexblade) cleric (war) druid (wildshape one).


  • Why worry about an extra +1 to hit when you already destroy anything the DM throws at you?
  • An extra 6 HP when you don't even drop to half health in a routine combat?
  • What incentive could there be for playing smart when every battle can be won with standard operating procedures? (It's not important to exploit a creature's weakness when you're going to be able to kill it with ease anyway.)
this hits home real hard for me... more then once I have thrown a +2 or +3 weapon into a treasure pile just to have a party member laugh "I guess I will hit 90% of the time instead of 80% of the time"... I also once had a campaign where I threw a dungeon where by XP every encounter was deadly+ level and I dropped 1 character in 1 fight, and bloodied 2 characters but in 2 different fights and at the end the wizard said "I don't think I took any damage at all".... ugh.
 

My experience (pun intended) is that most enemies fall into two camps.
1) monsters a party can eventually wear down (usually ones that affect a single character)
2) monsters that can one-shot numerous characters with a massive AoE attack (e.g. dragons).
It's not just the CR system that's off - the entirety of monster design seems wrong.
may i add 3) the low CR monster that has a way to kill other then hp damage and as such can hit WAY higher then there CR says...

the shadow is my go to example. 3 shadows are pittifully easy to slaughter at level 20... but if all three hit your melee combatant that needs str he loses 3d4 from his attack stat... if all three hit your dump stat str character it could kill them.
 

Jahydin

Hero
I don't think so.

For one, you don't need to hand out treasure all in this edition. In my games, I don't hand out magic armor for example.

Second, 5E isn't meant to be challenging to the left brain (tactically), it's meant to be challenging to the right brain (creatively). But more importantly, its focus is fun.

I've wasted too many years compiling and trying to "fix" D&D, but its success speaks for itself and it obviously has its fans, so decided to just switch to a system that does do what I want. Currently that's Pathfinder 2E and Castles and Crusades. To anyone in the same boat, please do yourself a favor and do the same!

I still run 5E for friends who want to play, but have learned not to take the system seriously and lean on the creativity aspect. If I design an encounter with two Hill Giants for example, who cares about combat math and tactics. Much more interesting to see how they approach diplomatically (outsmart or genuinely befriend them) or creatively, such as using magic to trick them into running away.
 

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