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

There's also the fact that people are saying CR sixteen monsters are good for a level six party. That makes for big problems when the party is eight twelve or thirteen with dramatically more HP dramatically better capabilities & almost certainly at least some better gear that all compounds together.

That's what you get when you have bounded accuracy. If you want low level monsters that can affect high level PCs, you also get PCs that can affect monster with a much higher CR.
 

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Micah Sweet

Legend
Understandable, and you're not wrong. 5E feels like D&D to me at Levels 1-3. Then its "Avengers Assemble".

The important question is: are your players having fun? That's why I still play D&D. All of the positives you mention (tactical combat, resource management, demanding full engagement) are not positives for everyone. In fact, probably not most people.

If they're not having fun, then oh man, we can talk new systems all day. I'm certain there's something better out there for you! I mean, you really want to test your players, there is this game called Hackmaster...
What if your players are having fun, but you're not?
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
That's what you get when you have bounded accuracy. If you want low level monsters that can affect high level PCs, you also get PCs that can affect monster with a much higher CR.
I agree completely, the fact that wotc made BA a design goal doesn't change the fact that it only works at lower levels & the cons quickly outweigh the pros as levels advance. BA is right there woven into the root cause for way too many of 5e's issues.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Default 5e is definitely "easy mode", but when I was DMing for a group of very experienced players – many of whom were GMs in their own right – I was able to challenge them even while handing out substantial (and homebrew) treasure, even the Hand of Vecna. A few highlights...
  • I pitted the 5th level party against an eidolon (which does terrifying damage at that level) in an "escape the Indiana Jones-style temple" scenario, which nearly killed two of them.
  • I (modified) finger of death'ed a 9th level PC, who came back as a souped-up zombie attacking his allies.
  • I terrorized the 10th level party with a well-timed well-executed goblin ambush. It was so intense, they opted to explore tunnels with "ghoul track and sign" instead of facing the goblins again.
  • I had the 11th level party retreat from a pitched 3-way battle between Red Wizards, frost giants, and yuan-ti, retreating into a tomb. Of course, the Red Wizards tricked them into the false entrance, and attempted a delayed blast fireball + wall of force combo. The PCs narrowly escaped the trap, but definitely it was a stalemate and they were hurting.
  • I had a skeleton push a 12th level PC to their death in a lava pit.
There's definitely a paradigm shift and it does take some effort from the GM – though IME it shouldn't be exhaustive effort – to get a challenging older school feel to a 5e game. But it's absolutely possible and rewarding. I've done it.
The Tucker's Kobolds stratagem. Very nice!
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Look, I get it. There are game rules in the D&D combat "board game" that can work themselves out to making retreat seem impossible if we treat the game as nothing but a board game.

PC Disengages from the monster and Moves away 30 feet. Monster Moves 30 feet and makes an Attack. PC either Disengages again and Moves 30 feet (after which Monster Moves 30' and Attacks again ad infinitum)... or PC Moves and uses action to Dash for 60 feet, but the monster thus gets to make an Attack of Opportunity. Then the monster Moves 60 feet themselves to become adjacent to the PC again, at which time again it's either Disengage and Move, or Move and Dash (both of which result in a monster attack at some point.)

If this was purely a mechanical video game with no narrative or story attached to either the PC or the monster... yeah, eventually the PC would die (or finally just turn around to face off against the monster and just fight.) But the thing is... this isn't a video game! There IS narrative and story. And you as the DM can think of any number of reasons why the monsters would not chase after the players, even if the mechanics of the game assured you as the DM that your monster could always win. Because that would be you metagaming as the DM-- knowing that mechanically the board game rules don't allow the PC to get away if you just have the monsters continually chase after them and attack when both are the same Speed.

So sure... if you want to say the game rules "suck" because they allow you to metagame and kill off the PCs no matter what they do? Fine. They suck. And if you want to see this loophole of "impossible mechanical retreat" closed in the new game? Sure! I'd be okay with that. Put it in the survey when the time is right, and maybe WotC will change the rule to close the loophole.

BUT... don't act as though the game is forcing you do anything, or forcing the players to do anything. Anything that happens is still due to your choices and the player's choices. And even if the game mechanical loop says a retreating PC will eventually be killed if you just keep chasing and pressing the attack... you do not need to do that. You have a choice not to. For whatever reason you can think of. And if retreat is something you want your players to occasionally choose... then ya just don't smack 'em in the face every time they do just because the "rules let you".
If we're being reduced to using 'board game' and 'video game' as rhetorical insults, we're done here.

There are also chase mechanics in the DMG that generally favor the PCs in my experience (in that PCs often have more options when it comes to dealing with obstacles and can hide better). If the players know that those rules exist, they may well act accordingly.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I agree wholeheartedly. And I do not see anything wrong with house ruling in mechanics you like, nor playing a different game if another one has rules you like better. I think those are the easiest and fastest ways to get what you want.

Honestly, retreating is a problem with a lot of games, because they don't really address ways to successfully do it, and the basic movement/combat mechanics don't really engage with it. Its why when people ask "Why don't people try to retreat more often", while there are multiple reasons that can apply, the easiest is "Because they think they'll fail, and a failed retreat is worse than just trying to fight to the bitter end."
 



5e doesn't seem to have those kind of experiences built into the game. It's assumed your party is going to win every fight without retreating. It's unnecessary to study a monster before facing it to develop tactics or to acquire special weapons or scrolls to win.
5e seems to me to be harder to TPK by mistake, but not harder to down or kill a PC. as a 2e 3e and 4e DM I never found my party to NEED to run but I also found many times that I could by mistake over do it.
 


Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I agree completely, the fact that wotc made BA a design goal doesn't change the fact that it only works at lower levels & the cons quickly outweigh the pros as levels advance. BA is right there woven into the root cause for way too many of 5e's issues.
The cons include some things that really annoy me - what examples are you reacting to?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Honestly, retreating is a problem with a lot of games, because they don't really address ways to successfully do it, and the basic movement/combat mechanics don't really engage with it. Its why when people ask "Why don't people try to retreat more often", while there are multiple reasons that can apply, the easiest is "Because they think they'll fail, and a failed retreat is worse than just trying to fight to the bitter end."
I found skill challenges a wonderful way to enable chases (its even one of the more interesting type of SC)
 

dave2008

Legend
There's also the fact that people are saying CR sixteen monsters are good for a level six party. That makes for big problems when the party is eight twelve or thirteen with dramatically more HP dramatically better capabilities & almost certainly at least some better gear that all compounds together.
The real point is monsters whose XP = a CR 16 monster. It doesn't have to be one monster.

And for solo monster fights it actually works well with the system as we have monsters going up to CR 30. If you check out How to Create Epic Encounters by DMDave, a CR 30 monster is a challenge for a lvl 20 party of 4 PCS. It seems to work as intended.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Simple answer. They split the party and kick in both doors at the same time triggering what were supposed to be two separate encounters. Then Bob, the guy that triggered the second encounter, turns invisible and runs away leaving my PC as the sole front line fighter but I can't complain because we're just here to have fun, right? I mean Bob is allowed to have fun even if it means my PC gets the *** beaten out of them yet again. Because "it's what his character would do". :mad:
Sounds about like SOP around here... :)
 


dave2008

Legend
I agree completely, the fact that wotc made BA a design goal doesn't change the fact that it only works at lower levels & the cons quickly outweigh the pros as levels advance. BA is right there woven into the root cause for way too many of 5e's issues.
I like BA conceptually and it works for our group, but I think it could be improved. What do you see as the flaws/cons that need to be addressed?

My personal thought is that the implementation / execution needs to be improved, but the concept is fine.
 


James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Uh yeah... if you treat monsters with the same modicum of reality and sense that players treat their PCs.

If you are a orc band that got attacked by these interlopers and they then ran off after you defended yourself... you don't need to go chasing after them. You let them run off, and then you pack up your gear and head off for safer pastures. Why continue a fight that you don't need to get into?

The problem you bring up... to me is based upon a "gaming" mentality that many people have of not treating the monsters as actual thinking beings, but rather just mechanical doo-dads that act in accordance to the "game rules" and the "encounter". Our thinking of this being a "game" tells us that these monsters will keep attacking PCs until PCs are dead or they are... that they will continue following us like Jason Vorhees until we or they are dead, and that they will remain here in this spot even after the PCs have retreated in order to be "cleaned up" after the party rests and returns. The monsters aren't real... they are just gaming roadblocks the party has to get past.

If a DM wishes to run their game that way... that's cool, more power to them... but that's not a written part of the rules. Monsters do not have to chase you. And more often than not, probably shouldn't.
Often, I see DM's claim that monsters should always target downed PC's because they know that they can easily be healed and brought back into the fight (despite the fact that, if you think about it, most NPC's don't have access to magical healing, mind). Now, extending this line of logic, allowing a weak or weakened group of foes to simply retreat means that you'll probably face them again, and they'll be stronger when you do. Better to deal with the threat sooner than later, right?
 

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