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D&D 5E Legendary Actions (from HotDQ download)

Samurai

Explorer
It seems that certain powerful creatures (dragons, vampires) get something called "Legendary Actions". Basically, they are 3 actions that they get to take each turn after an opponent finishes their turn. The dragons can Detect, tail slap, or wing buffet (costs 2 LA's), the vampire can move without drawing AoO, punch, or bite (costs 2 LA's). All Legendary Action points recharge at the start of the monster's turn.

So, an example as I understand it:

Monster gets his full turn.
Player 1 goes.
Monster gets Legendary Action.
Player 2 goes.
Monster gets Legendary Action.
Player 3 goes.
Monster gets Legendary Action (unless he used the "costs 2 LA's" option already).
Any other players go.
Monster gets full turn, and repeat.

Since he can only use 1 LA per enemy's turn, if he's only facing 1 opponent, he can only use 1 Legendary Action before it comes back to his turn again.

All the monsters in HotDQ get 3 LA's, but I could see varying that if it makes a battle too tough for the PCs... maybe only give the monster 1 or 2 LA's instead of 3 per turn.

What do people think of Legendary Actions? This is the 1st I'd heard of them, and they make boss monsters very scary IMO.
 

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heptat

Explorer
What do people think of Legendary Actions? This is the 1st I'd heard of them, and they make boss monsters very scary IMO.

How you describe it *seems* correct. Haven't had a chance to play it out yet...

And yes, *very* scary which is very cool :cool:
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I also read it in the same way.

I think it's a very interesting mechanic, only those actions aren't particularly "legendary" but rather simply additional attacks.

I think it would be more cool if they could take some more interesting actions such as spells or special abilities, but eventually they would be too powerful within this "3 per turn" mechanics. Had they built a "3 per encounter" mechanics it would have worked.
 

heptat

Explorer
I also read it in the same way.

I think it's a very interesting mechanic, only those actions aren't particularly "legendary" but rather simply additional attacks.

I think it would be more cool if they could take some more interesting actions such as spells or special abilities, but eventually they would be too powerful within this "3 per turn" mechanics. Had they built a "3 per encounter" mechanics it would have worked.

I understand what you're saying, but I like the LA mechanic because I suspect it'll be easier to DM (at least for me) because I can keep focus on those actions per turn, instead of worrying about when in the encounter to play one of the "big three". :)
 

MortalPlague

Adventurer
As someone who's been playtesting Tyranny of Dragons, the legendary actions are fantastic.

It really gives the dragons a dangerous feel. Monsters so potent can break the action economy, and it feels appropriately powerful. It does not, however, imbalance the game; rather, the legendary actions are considered to be a part of the monster's challenge.
 

Wolfskin

Explorer
I think it's an interesting mechanic- instead of giving the big monsters a bunch of multiple attacks, they can take their turn and take a number of additional actions spread out during the rest of the round. Makes sense to me.
 

Uchawi

First Post
It would be nice to have some meta-mechanic behind the scenes that grants legendary actions out based on monster level, so there is not a steep curve when they are granted. So certain creatures may start out with a single legendary action and go from there. It would help prevent legendary actions from appearing arbitrary just so the DM can present a challenge to the players. Overall, I would love a monster design guide to discuss how abilities are granted out when considering CR or experience.
 



Rod Staffwand

aka Ermlaspur Flormbator
I like the theory behind them. They seem like a natural outgrowth of late 4E solo design, which is the only time solos have really been done right IMO.

The best thing about the design of the Legendary Actions is that they are sprinkled throughout the combat round, keeping the solo active (and in the players' minds) for the full round and not merely on the solo's turn. Solos need to be a constant and surprising threat to be truly dramatic and interesting.
 

It seems that certain powerful creatures (dragons, vampires) get something called "Legendary Actions". Basically, they are 3 actions that they get to take each turn after an opponent finishes their turn. The dragons can Detect, tail slap, or wing buffet (costs 2 LA's), the vampire can move without drawing AoO, punch, or bite (costs 2 LA's). All Legendary Action points recharge at the start of the monster's turn.

So, an example as I understand it:

Monster gets his full turn.
Player 1 goes.
Monster gets Legendary Action.
Player 2 goes.
Monster gets Legendary Action.
Player 3 goes.
Monster gets Legendary Action (unless he used the "costs 2 LA's" option already).
Any other players go.
Monster gets full turn, and repeat.

Since he can only use 1 LA per enemy's turn, if he's only facing 1 opponent, he can only use 1 Legendary Action before it comes back to his turn again.

All the monsters in HotDQ get 3 LA's, but I could see varying that if it makes a battle too tough for the PCs... maybe only give the monster 1 or 2 LA's instead of 3 per turn.

What do people think of Legendary Actions? This is the 1st I'd heard of them, and they make boss monsters very scary IMO.

I'm a huge fan. They exist to create "solo" monsters. The first monster we saw with Legendary Actions was a black dragon. I tested a monster like that in 4e, and concluded the monster should have a triggered action (at the start of a player's turn) instead. In either case, the monster has a Schrodinger's Actions trait, where the number of actions it gets is at least partly determined by the number of opponents it is facing. (There's a really weird 4e monster, the Colossus of Laarn, where this is explicitly part of the stat block. It rolls initiative once per opponent and gets a full turn per initiative roll.)
 

I'm a huge fan. They exist to create "solo" monsters. The first monster we saw with Legendary Actions was a black dragon. I tested a monster like that in 4e, and concluded the monster should have a triggered action (at the start of a player's turn) instead. In either case, the monster has a Schrodinger's Actions trait, where the number of actions it gets is at least partly determined by the number of opponents it is facing. (There's a really weird 4e monster, the Colossus of Laarn, where this is explicitly part of the stat block. It rolls initiative once per opponent and gets a full turn per initiative roll.)

Ditto. Although I balked at the design ethos and felt pretty confident that (along with several iteration movements, watching Mearls run the game as he intended it, and several designer statements) that this was not going to be a game I was going to run, there were a few system components that piqued my interest and had me mentally invested through the playtest. This didn't show until a fair stretch into things, but Legendary Creatures and their design implementation was certainly one of them.

High marks if it consistently manifests tactically and dramatically in play in a predictable (GM-side) fashion.
 

Savage Wombat

Adventurer
I'm betting this makes Beholders legendary critters, since the mechanism fits so well with the monster. Think the Beholder's CR will be higher than in the playtest, if it does?
 

Remathilis

Legend
I like this.

In my last Pathfinder game, the big bad of the dungeon was an Ogre magi. They all entered his throne room, bantered, and rolled initiative. The fight went something like this.

PC 1 acts; runs up to him (provoking AoO) and attacks.
Ogre Magi uses Cone of Cold on entire room.
PC 2 shoots the ogre magi.
PC 3 casts haste.
PC 4 burst heals
PC 5 moves in and attacks. (provokes AoO, it has combat reflexes)
Next Round
PC 1 attacks three times and crits once.
Ogre magi drops. regen doesn't do enough to bring it back up.
PC 2 shoots down oni to drop it further into negatives.
PC 3 acid orbs the oni to shock his regen.
PC 4 holds action
PC 5 Coup-de-gras downed oni.
End of Combat.

If not for the ogre magi's reach/AoO combo, his only action would have been cone of cold.

So yeah, I like the idea that that an epic creature can act out of turn and ignore some saves, make the PCs work more than 12 seconds to fight the final boss.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
As someone who's been playtesting Tyranny of Dragons, the legendary actions are fantastic.

It really gives the dragons a dangerous feel. Monsters so potent can break the action economy, and it feels appropriately powerful. It does not, however, imbalance the game; rather, the legendary actions are considered to be a part of the monster's challenge.

I agree completely. In playtesting, I ran an encounter against a White Dragon (I modified the Black Dragon WotC previewed during the playtest), and more recently I built and ran my own Bugbear God Avatar based on some of the other creatures in the newer released adventures.

Both encounters were dynamic and quite frightening for the PCs (I think the first one I ran was for 10th level PCs and the 2nd one I ran for 6th level PCs).

It is especially great if the Legendary action gives the creature a reaction along with possible actions. I'm not sure if I just made that up or if I was inspired by one of the stat blocks I saw. You should have seen the reaction from the fighter in my group who charged up to attack the Bugbear God Avatar only be get stomped by a huge foot before he could make his attack. Priceless.
 

Dannager

First Post
I think it's a very interesting mechanic, only those actions aren't particularly "legendary" but rather simply additional attacks.

I think "legendary actions" refers not to the fact that the actions themselves are legendary, but rather that these are bonus actions that only legendary creatures receive.
 

Stalker0

Legend
One question...does this make effects like stun even more powerful?

Do LAs allow you to attempt to shake these effects multiple times per round....or would a stun deny the solo his regular AND his 3 LAs that round?
 

Rod Staffwand

aka Ermlaspur Flormbator
One question...does this make effects like stun even more powerful?

Do LAs allow you to attempt to shake these effects multiple times per round....or would a stun deny the solo his regular AND his 3 LAs that round?

Stun/incapacitate would shut down legendary actions as well, unless there's a specific clause somewhere in the final rules that excludes them (I doubt it).

But of the three monsters with legendary actions presented, all three have a legendary resistance ability that gives them a 3/day automatic saving throw success (should they fail and elect to use it).

This also seems like a good ability, allowing PCs to "batter" through the solo's defenses to eventually affect it.
 

Kinak

First Post
One question...does this make effects like stun even more powerful?

Do LAs allow you to attempt to shake these effects multiple times per round....or would a stun deny the solo his regular AND his 3 LAs that round?
I think that's what the Legendary Resistance is for :)

But, yeah, once it runs out of resistance, stun should probably prevent LAs as well.

Cheers!
Kinak
 


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