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

Azzy

KMF DM
That to me reads like, "everyone should like the same things,and if you don't it is your problem". Shouldn't the DM's enjoyment matter at least as much as everyone else?
Yes, it does. But when everyone else in the group is having fun, only not the DM. Perhaps the better option is the DM finding a like-minded group rather than trying to make things unfun for everyone else in their current group.
 

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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I'm sure that I missed at least a couple. Given Melisandre's questionable humanity & the value of BA it seemed fitting to quote the faith of R'hllor. :D
I am thinking some of those may be independent 5e issues not saying not issues but I am not thinking they map to bounded accuracy .... the encounters per adventuring day issue for instance could you focus fire how that one is BA related?

I mean potentially swingy encounters because the d20 has functionally twice or more times the impact compared to skills or player choices etc than a previous edition(s) has probably makes CR less reliable than it might have a chance to be.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
That to me reads like, "everyone should like the same things,and if you don't it is your problem". Shouldn't the DM's enjoyment matter at least as much as everyone else?

Shouldn't you be gaming with those that like the same things in the game that you do?

Maybe I'm spoiled, but my players and I are basically on the same page as to what we like in our gaming.

And for me, when I'm DMing, if everyone is engaged and having fun, then so am I. As @Jahydin said, it's one of the main reasons I DM.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'll point out that there's a strong ethos, both in fiction and the real world that works against this "No man left behind." "Devil take the hindmost" is not a position people are required to share, especially in a game where many of them think they're playing heroes.
:🤷: If they all want to heroically die instead of only having one heroically die so the others can esacpe, that's up to them. EDIT to add: And even the one left behind as the slowest runner is still heroically dying...or so the Bards will say later, anyway. :)

To me, though, survival of the party - as in, that there's at least one survivor such that the same party/story/quest/etc. can continue - is more important than survival of any one character.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Don't threaten me with a good time.
If characters are known by the players to be immortal then what's stopping them from wrecking the game by doing things that would otherwise be suicidal; and in so doing completely shattering any sort of believability?

Because there's no middle ground here - characters are either immortal and can't die or they're not, and can die. What this means is that someone can't legitimately say "Oh, I'll only kill them if they do something stupid"; because if they can die to that they can die to anything else that would logically kill them, whether or not it took stupidity to get them to that point.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
If characters are known by the players to be immortal then what's stopping them from wrecking the game by doing things that would otherwise be suicidal; and in so doing completely shattering any sort of believability?
Exactly! Things are going to get AWESOME.

Break out the electric, flame-shooting guitars! No need to pack pants, boys; where we're going, we won't need them! Rock and roll forever!
 


Jahydin

Adventurer
That to me reads like, "everyone should like the same things,and if you don't it is your problem". Shouldn't the DM's enjoyment matter at least as much as everyone else?
Hmmm, not what I was going for.

Every DM is going to have a different answer to "What if your players are having fun, but you're not?", so when I answered, I gave my personal opinion. That's all.

I remember finishing an 8 hour long 5e session and thinking to myself, "That was the worst game ever." Monsters were to easy, PCs figured out the NPC was plotting against them two sessions early, and the mage found a ring that trivialized my best trap. But then the next day, my phone was flooded with messages of how much fun everyone had. Oh, and their girlfriends heard about it too, and now they want to play. Also one of their little brothers is interested, what Starter Box should they buy...

Anyways, for me, that much happiness and excitement more than outweighs my thoughts on the game being "too easy". So as long as I can play PF2e, C&C, Hyperboria, or WWN regularly, I don't mind playing 5E on the side for those that want me too.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Hmmm, not what I was going for.

Every DM is going to have a different answer to "What if your players are having fun, but you're not?", so when I answered, I gave my personal opinion. That's all.

I remember finishing an 8 hour long 5e session and thinking to myself, "That was the worst game ever." Monsters were to easy, PCs figured out the NPC was plotting against them two sessions early, and the mage found a ring that trivialized my best trap. But then the next day, my phone was flooded with messages of how much fun everyone had. Oh, and their girlfriends heard about it too, and now they want to play. Also one of their little brothers is interested, what Starter Box should they buy...

Anyways, for me, that much happiness and excitement more than outweighs my thoughts on the game being "too easy". So as long as I can play PF2e, C&C, Hyperboria, or WWN regularly, I don't mind playing 5E on the side for those that want me too.
I get that, and I'm actually really happy for you. Unfortunately, I have no opportunity to play any other game with any regularity. It has be 5e for my fantasy fix (I may have a shot with a non-fantasy game, still working on that). To that end, I have made extensive modifications to make the game more palatable for me, while not alienating my players. This is why I use Level Up as my base. I'm very glad it exists, because WotC is taking 6e in entirely the opposite direction of what I want (doubling down on their simplicity axiom), so I know 2024 is a non-starter.
 


Retreater

Legend
Maybe part of the problem I'm running into with my 5e group is that we have short sessions. I regularly run for 2-3 hours on a VTT, just to fit everyone's schedules on a weeknight (since weekends aren't possible). That means that if I follow the guidelines for how many encounters in a day I'm supposed to have (according to the RAW), it can take us 4+ sessions to get through a single adventuring day. That severely bogs down play. It spaces out story beats in the campaign. It creates a long time IRL to recharge your character's cool abilities.
So I prefer more intense, concentrated battles than the fights that don't really matter to the campaign overall. A pack of giant rats that can nibble off 10% of the party's HP and other resources is not satisfying because it ends up expending around 50% of the players' time for the weekly session (after you account for placing tokens, putting things on a battlegrid, rolling and ordering Initiative, and managing "cleanup" among the characters after the fight.)
If I were playing weekly for 4-5 hours a session like I did when I was a college student - then yeah, I could run that kind of game. Now, it's more of a chore of meaningless tasks. I'd rather get into the story, exploration, and encounters that challenge the players and their characters while doing the double duty of advancing the plot or enriching their discovery of the campaign world.
So I need something more like an average of 3 fights per day.
Games that focus on resource attrition aren't fun when our real life most precious resource (time) erodes more quickly than the characters' spells, torches, and hit points.
 

Oofta

Legend
Maybe part of the problem I'm running into with my 5e group is that we have short sessions. I regularly run for 2-3 hours on a VTT, just to fit everyone's schedules on a weeknight (since weekends aren't possible). That means that if I follow the guidelines for how many encounters in a day I'm supposed to have (according to the RAW), it can take us 4+ sessions to get through a single adventuring day. That severely bogs down play. It spaces out story beats in the campaign. It creates a long time IRL to recharge your character's cool abilities.
So I prefer more intense, concentrated battles than the fights that don't really matter to the campaign overall. A pack of giant rats that can nibble off 10% of the party's HP and other resources is not satisfying because it ends up expending around 50% of the players' time for the weekly session (after you account for placing tokens, putting things on a battlegrid, rolling and ordering Initiative, and managing "cleanup" among the characters after the fight.)
If I were playing weekly for 4-5 hours a session like I did when I was a college student - then yeah, I could run that kind of game. Now, it's more of a chore of meaningless tasks. I'd rather get into the story, exploration, and encounters that challenge the players and their characters while doing the double duty of advancing the plot or enriching their discovery of the campaign world.
So I need something more like an average of 3 fights per day.
Games that focus on resource attrition aren't fun when our real life most precious resource (time) erodes more quickly than the characters' spells, torches, and hit points.
We rarely do a long rest at the end of every session for ongoing campaigns. You don’t have a lot of choice with AL games, but even in our ToA game we don't. If someone can't make it to a session we just kind of hand wave it.

We try not to break in middle of combat but never bother fitting all encounters into 1 session. It helps that we use DDB for tracking spell slots and HP, but I've done it for a long time long before we had an online system to track stats.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If characters are known by the players to be immortal then what's stopping them from wrecking the game by doing things that would otherwise be suicidal; and in so doing completely shattering any sort of believability?
Heh heh... I think what you say here is the exact fulcrum upon which both sides get separated.

In your case... characters that can't die shatter the believability of the game and thus the game is wrecked. Whereas on my side... all characters dying all the time wreck any sort of cohesive longterm narrative and story and thus the game is wrecked. With both sides absolutely correct in their opinions on the matter.

And thus never the twain shall meet. :)
 

jgsugden

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.)
When I see questions like this, it often turns out that the problem isn't what the original poster thinks it is. What is a victory for your PCs? What is a loss? I think those are the questions you need to readdress in order to get the quality of game you seek. It isn't that Monty Haul is a problem - it is that you're not experiencing a broad enough diversity in games.

A lot - almost all it seems - of DMs seem to think every battle needs to be a life and death struggle that the PCs barely win. They think that PCs being effective and having magic items means the game has to be boring. This is a sign that the DM needs to look at those two questions I asked and start coming up with new answers.

Even when survivial of all PCs is a certainty, the DM can challenge the PCs by providing them goals other than survival. Save someone. Stop someone from escaping. Activate the MacGuffin in time. Stop the enemy from activiating the MacGuffin. Solve the puzzle. Figure out the secret information. Figure out why the two sides in the room are fighting and what to do about it. Escape the slowly activating trap/hazzard while enemies (who are also escaping) try to sabotage you.

In the end, your PCs are the heroes of the story. They're supposed to keep like heroes that can do amazing things. It should not be a problem if they're powerful - because we eat up stories about powerful heroes, right? Marvel movies seem to think we do.

All that being said, here are some ideas to make items feel more special (which can contribute to them feeling more appreciated and earned):

1.) Homebrew items. Half of the magic items I hand out do not originate in WotC books. Those homebrew are the most appreciated items, usually, because they're iconic to the PC.
2.) Intelligent items. A little intelligence on an otherwise plain magic item can be very intriguing for players, but only if the DM remembers it is there.
3.) Quest items. The item is broken and needs to be fixed, or to activate it you need to bring it somewhere ... these feel more earned as well.
 

Oofta

Legend
Heh heh... I think what you say here is the exact fulcrum upon which both sides get separated.

In your case... characters that can't die shatter the believability of the game and thus the game is wrecked. Whereas on my side... all characters dying all the time wreck any sort of cohesive longterm narrative and story and thus the game is wrecked. With both sides absolutely correct in their opinions on the matter.

And thus never the twain shall meet. :)
Yeah, @Lanefan runs a very different game than I ever have even going back to ye olden days. It's not that people can't die in my campaigns, death is always on the table. On the other hand I discuss rate of death in a session 0 and my default is that death is unlikely. Most people enjoy the character development over time.

I'm sure your PC surviving a dozen session being considered a campaign veteran works for some, it's just not the norm and I'm not sure it ever has been. Viva la difference.
 

Redwizard007

Adventurer
My 5 level 7 PCs light up like a Christmas tree if you Detect Magic. Most of those items are "very rare" or better. I still have no problem threatening them. Start building encounters a little north of "Deadly" and scale up until you find the right feel for your game.

Now is that the default? I don't know. I like using high level challenges, so I drop loot like it's candy on Halloween, but a campaign I'm playing in is quite light on magic items. It all seems to be very DM dependant.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I am thinking some of those may be independent 5e issues not saying not issues but I am not thinking they map to bounded accuracy .... the encounters per adventuring day issue for instance could you focus fire how that one is BA related?

I mean potentially swingy encounters because the d20 has functionally twice or more times the impact compared to skills or player choices etc than a previous edition(s) has probably makes CR less reliable than it might have a chance to be.
You aren't wrong that it's primarily a design choice to tune for that many combats. BA is linked to it through how tho vs supporting it actively create problems resisting efforts to shift the. Umber down. Magic items can't be withheld to force more resource expenditure because they aren't needed at all for example. Using tougher monsters works at low levels where BA is still working OK... At higher levels though players are so far past the expectations of BA that it just causes combat to slog from giant HP pools on monsters that aren't much of a threat and it still doesn't burn much.

Potentially swingy combat has always been a thing, but bounded accuracy ensures that rather than the old "what could we have done differently" of past editions where the players can think back over the last couple rounds & maybe a fight earlier in the session because all of the fights were pointless filler going back what could be 2-3+ sessions filled with useless monsters tuned for much weaker PCs. You wind up with a spectrum ranging from



d&d doesn't have anything pushing the PCs & players to hold back like all of the ties that superman & his world of cardboard has keeping him from just letting go to trigger snyder cut type repercussions or the genre deconstruction type stuff one punch man is focused on. 5e took that spectrum present through the editions and stripped out room for bad luck in a way that expanded the victory as a chore end all the way to the razor's edge where it immediately looks like failure by fiat.
 

ECMO3

Hero
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)
Some of them are,but it is a small minority. About 20% or so. Most of the campaigns I play characters can never even afford plate unless they pool their money to do it.
 

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