WotC Jeremy Crawford Interview: High level play. By Christian Hoffer


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Stalker0

Legend
The problem I see is that if you never actually get to those levels, the aspirational benefit is just as false as games where you're told character death is on the table but no one ever actually dies.
If a player “feels” that their character has a risk of death, then character death is real. In a game of fantasy, it is the player imagination that makes the game “real”.

Only when that illusion is broken do you truly have a problem
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
If a player “feels” that their character has a risk of death, then character death is real. In a game of fantasy, it is the player imagination that makes the game “real”.

Only when that illusion is broken do you truly have a problem
After the third of fourth time it doesn't happen, that illusion starts to crack for me.
 

I have been a player 3 times for a 1-20 campaign. For my money, after 12th level the game gets really wonky. I mean, I had to actively abstain several times from ruining the DM's encounter he built. There was one time I had to abstain from ruining his entire dungeon. And he was a very good DM! It's just the game, the spells, and the safeguards placed in get wonky. And unless you are spending hours poring over your players' character sheets and simulating how they are going to mess with your encounter, then they can mess it up pretty easily. It also didn't help we had eight players!
As a DM, I have gone to 15th. It was difficult to find that balance. Often times, the encounters were either too easy, and other times, they were just right. Never had an encounter that was too difficult, but that just goes to show how many tricks a 13th or 14th level group has.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I have been a player 3 times for a 1-20 campaign. For my money, after 12th level the game gets really wonky. I mean, I had to actively abstain several times from ruining the DM's encounter he built. There was one time I had to abstain from ruining his entire dungeon. And he was a very good DM! It's just the game, the spells, and the safeguards placed in get wonky. And unless you are spending hours poring over your players' character sheets and simulating how they are going to mess with your encounter, then they can mess it up pretty easily. It also didn't help we had eight players!
As a DM, I have gone to 15th. It was difficult to find that balance. Often times, the encounters were either too easy, and other times, they were just right. Never had an encounter that was too difficult, but that just goes to show how many tricks a 13th or 14th level group has.
Nothing in the universe is more than a speed-bump to 8 5E PCs.
 
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Oofta

Legend
I have been a player 3 times for a 1-20 campaign. For my money, after 12th level the game gets really wonky. I mean, I had to actively abstain several times from ruining the DM's encounter he built. There was one time I had to abstain from ruining his entire dungeon. And he was a very good DM! It's just the game, the spells, and the safeguards placed in get wonky. And unless you are spending hours poring over your players' character sheets and simulating how they are going to mess with your encounter, then they can mess it up pretty easily. It also didn't help we had eight players!
As a DM, I have gone to 15th. It was difficult to find that balance. Often times, the encounters were either too easy, and other times, they were just right. Never had an encounter that was too difficult, but that just goes to show how many tricks a 13th or 14th level group has.

There's a couple of problems with your scenario. First, you had 8 players. Second, you had 8 players.

I just had a level 20 game and 1 PC died*, another was unconscious, several of the others were close to death at the end. PC spells included things like a meteor storm, a divine intervention and a paladin with holy avenger in the party giving everyone 1/2 damage from spells. I had planned on making the encounter a bit more difficult by having another wave, but probably good thing I didn't since it likely would have ended in a TPK. Would have been kind of a sad way to end the main campaign (we may revisit the PCs later).

*Admittedly they were revived, but that it was just luck that the cleric hadn't gone down as well and had the spell available. Perma-death has always been rare after a certain level in most D&D games.
 

darjr

I crit!
I have been a player 3 times for a 1-20 campaign. For my money, after 12th level the game gets really wonky. I mean, I had to actively abstain several times from ruining the DM's encounter he built. There was one time I had to abstain from ruining his entire dungeon. And he was a very good DM! It's just the game, the spells, and the safeguards placed in get wonky. And unless you are spending hours poring over your players' character sheets and simulating how they are going to mess with your encounter, then they can mess it up pretty easily. It also didn't help we had eight players!
As a DM, I have gone to 15th. It was difficult to find that balance. Often times, the encounters were either too easy, and other times, they were just right. Never had an encounter that was too difficult, but that just goes to show how many tricks a 13th or 14th level group has.
Consider.

Drop the balance once in a while and put a brick on the gas pedal. Run a combat that’s double or triple deadly.

Just make sure your players are up for it.

And hold on.
 
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