5.5E Little changes for 5.5


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Stalker0

Legend
Turning against balance is such a weird modern thing. It's like the whole 'tyranny of fun' thing.
I think its just a fear of change, which is a common human trait.

A lot of people like 5e, and therefore are fearful that "in the name of balance" certain elements of the game will be removed that will "diminish" the game in some way.

I think this fear grew stronger with 4e, which for many people was so different it was "not their dnd".

I can understand that concern. That said, if this is a true "5.5e" than to be worth a damn and not just a PR stunt, than we do need to take a deep look at 5e, and take a strong eye to what "is working well vs barely working".

I will use two classes as dichotomy to showcase the difference.

Barbarian
I consider the barb one of the best designed classes in 5e. Time and time again, I have watched typically cautious players try out a barbarian, and just go wild. The mechanics so perfectly encapsulate the flavor, that players just "get it". Every player who has tried a barbarian in my game (and there have been several) have come out of it a believer. One of my players who is a die hard spellcaster, gave it a shot....and said that is the most fun with a martial class they have ever had.

Sorceror
I have seen two sorcs in my game over several campaigns. And the players had fun, their characters both had interesting moments, loved the campaign as a whole. But both players when asked if they would play a sorc again both said "eh, probably not....it just felt like something was missing". The sorc wasn't "busted", they didn't feel useless or anything, just... incomplete.


That to me is the kind of thing we need to address in 5.5e. Even if a class is workable, doesn't mean its truly "working". I think the monk is the same way. At the end of day, a monk is absolutely playable and not as bad as some people think... but there is a reason that so many threads have popped up over the years around "monks sucking". There is just something missing about them, something incomplete, something that juuuuuust isn't quite hitting the mark.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Turning against balance is such a weird modern thing. It's like the whole 'tyranny of fun' thing.
back in the day there was a superhero D20 game called mutants and masterminds.

it was supposed to be balanced to have batman and superman in the same 'party'
in theory you made batman super hard to hit and a little tough... you did this by giving him the equivalent of a huge dex bonus. You make superman by ditching AC all together and being really hard to hurt. You have superman hit really strong/hard, and you have batman hit just right to do more damage...

this was pulled off with caps. You would set a power level (lets take 12) and as such AC bonus maxed at 12, to hit maxed at 12, damage bonus maxed at 12, tougness (negate damage) maxed at 12 and super powers (each had a rank) maxed at 12. However there were trade offs.

so in above example batman would trade 2 toughness max for 2 AC bonus max and have a 24AC and +10 toughness as max, then trade damage and attack also by 2 so max +14 to hit but max +10 to damage, and superman would do the reverse but even more so doing 5 for ac/tough and 3 for att/dam giving him a max AC of 17 and a max toughness of +17 a max attack of +9 a max damage of +15
Now remember those are max not what they have to start... but of course both will have different ways to get to AC attack and damage mods even the toughness... Superman has super str and invulnerability, batman has a high dex the equivalent of sneak attack and body armor... in world they could not be more diffrent...

BUT!!!!! Big But, they both start with same number of points, and yeah batman may spend more on skills (not nescarlary being a detective and being a reporter has a lot of overlap) but when they start they both could end up with batman having +4 to hit (+6 with flank/suprise) +3 damage (+5 with flank/suprise) and superman having +5 to hit and +4 to damage, batman having a 16 AC (dodgey and armor) and superman having a 16 AC (tough hide) and batman having +15 toughness (dodgy roll withit plus body armor) and superman having +15 toughness (invunrable) and both having +4 initative...

infact remove the flavor text and the two sheets MIGHT look almost identical, and even as they gain more pts would until the hit the maxs, and even then look similar.

THAT is over balanced. Infact it was during the 3.0-3.5 change over area, this COULD have been a canary in the cole mine for why 4e would not be received as well by the old guard.

now these two don't sound too bad right... I mean they are both JLA member so of course they are similar... try it with the avengers and you get Black widow deals similar damage to Hulk.

(IF you know the system this is a SUPER basic simplfication, and yes the invunrability and pericing traits helped and there are lots of little things that somewhat fix this, but at it's basic this is the orginal Mutants and Masterminds....also FYI my 2nd favorite SUperhero RPG is the more modern M&M, and I love 4e, so I mean no disrespect to either. )
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
not so glaring if they passed the playtest and went into print, are they?
Are you are saying that 7 years, literal millions of players, and countless surveys in incapable of uncovering something glaring that a year playtest that started incomplete in terms of the classes and subclasses and changed multiple times missed?

That seems to be rather myopic.
 
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Undrave

Hero
That to me is the kind of thing we need to address in 5.5e. Even if a class is workable, doesn't mean its truly "working". I think the monk is the same way. At the end of day, a monk is absolutely playable and not as bad as some people think... but there is a reason that so many threads have popped up over the years around "monks sucking". There is just something missing about them, something incomplete, something that juuuuuust isn't quite hitting the mark.
I think what the Monk is good at is just not what people who want to play a martial artist want to be good at.
 

Stalker0

Legend
now these two don't sound too bad right... I mean they are both JLA member so of course they are similar... try it with the avengers and you get Black widow deals similar damage to Hulk.
I think the best answer to this is in subsystems like what Buffy used.... the idea of drama or plot "points". Aka the strong characters are just better than the weaker ones....but the weaker ones get points that can change scenes, allowing them to pull off cool manuevers or daring escapes all their own.

I think it works because its intentionally asymmetric, trying to balance two cosmically imbalanced characters is just an exercise in failure, the better answer is not to try, but instead give them completely different schticks.
 



Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
yup even in the basic rules make the term "base AC" a defined term, something like your dex+armor+magic is your base and other things like sheilds and cover (or just make a shield count as lesser cover) add to it...
PHB, pg 14, in the creating a character section: "Without armor or a shield, your character's AC equals 10 + his or her Dexterity modifier. If your character wears armor, carries a shield, or both, calculate your AC using the rules in chapter 5."

You statement of "dex+armor+magic" isn't correct - it ignores the max dex of some armors, which is why wearing armor it refers you to those specific rules. It would be harmful to have conflicting rules put in.

remove the finesse property entirely. make all melee attacks use str or dex, and all range attack use dex or wis. Then make the thrown properity allow for str to damage but not to hit.
What is the point of Strength at that point beyond one skill and the ability to wear some heavy armors without a movement penalty?

Dex is usually considered the strongest of ability scores. Making it more applicable makes it more powerful - that's introducing more balance issues then you are fixing. In order to change the rules effectively, you must first understand them and their implications.
 

HammerMan

Legend
I think the best answer to this is in subsystems like what Buffy used.... the idea of drama or plot "points". Aka the strong characters are just better than the weaker ones....but the weaker ones get points that can change scenes, allowing them to pull off cool manuevers or daring escapes all their own.

I think it works because its intentionally asymmetric, trying to balance two cosmically imbalanced characters is just an exercise in failure, the better answer is not to try, but instead give them completely different schticks.
yes totally, and again I just totally did the most bare bone example, to give M&M the benfit they DO have things like that too...
 

HammerMan

Legend
PHB, pg 14, in the creating a character section: "Without armor or a shield, your character's AC equals 10 + his or her Dexterity modifier. If your character wears armor, carries a shield, or both, calculate your AC using the rules in chapter 5."

You statement of "dex+armor+magic" isn't correct - it ignores the max dex of some armors, which is why wearing armor it refers you to those specific rules. It would be harmful to have conflicting rules put in.
well my statement was an example of what it could be, since the term is not defined now, so I don't know how an example of what COULD be clarified can possible me WRONG?!?

what I am saying is the bark skin "Ac can't fall below 16" (wait is it 15?) works fine until you start putting situational modifiers on it... if base AC meant something (how tough you are to hit without situational bonuses) the spell would function better with less misunderstandings.

As it is now, if I have 14 AC (+2 dex, +1 ring of prot and +1 from padded or leather armor) and you have 14 AC (all dex) and the druid casts bark skin on me I have a 16 you have a 14. IF we both go behind partial cover I still have a 16 and you have a 16... or do I does that cover give me an 18? what about 3/4 cover +5 you have a 19, do I have a 19, or a 21?


What is the point of Strength at that point beyond one skill and the ability to wear some heavy armors without a movement penalty?

Dex is usually considered the strongest of ability scores. Making it more applicable makes it more powerful - that's introducing more balance issues then you are fixing. In order to change the rules effectively, you must first understand them and their implications.
1) I don't NEED to understand any of it to make suggestions, because as I have pointed out before NO ONE PAYS ME TO WRITE RULES
2) I would decouple Initiative and AC from dex to compensate. For Initiative I would give the better of Wis or Int and for AC I would just make it your best stat with armor restrictions of +2 medium and +0 heavy but I would make light max +5 (sounds useless until you remember things that up stats)

I agree Dex is too good right now adding to some attacks the biggest save and AC plus some of the most used skills

I would also go back to 3e/4e saves Ref Fort Will with choice of 2 stats to save (so Int or dex for Ref. Str or Con for Fort, and Cha or Wis for Will)

doing so also buffs the most useless stat (int)
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I'm very confused at how notoriously difficult to balance Superhero RPGs, which do have to deal with a canonical issue of street-levelers mixed with cosmic heroes mixed with creators pets like Batman having balance issues has anything to do with balance in Fantasy where the creators decide the relative power level of the classes.

Unless this is another 'Wizards ruin everything' issue where wizards are expected to be gods (like Batman) and parity with martials would threaten them.
 

Undrave

Hero
I'm very confused at how notoriously difficult to balance Superhero RPGs, which do have to deal with a canonical issue of street-levelers mixed with cosmic heroes mixed with creators pets like Batman having balance issues has anything to do with balance in Fantasy where the creators decide the relative power level of the classes.

Unless this is another 'Wizards ruin everything' issue where wizards are expected to be gods (like Batman) and parity with martials would threaten them.
It's ALWAYS the Wizards players who complain the most about balance. :rolleyes:
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
well my statement was an example of what it could be, since the term is not defined now, so I don't know how an example of what COULD be clarified can possible me WRONG?!?
Term is defined, I literally gave you the page in the PHB and the quote.

1) I don't NEED to understand any of it to make suggestions, because as I have pointed out before NO ONE PAYS ME TO WRITE RULES
You are posting in a public forum about rules changes, it's generally considered courteous to "understand any of it" before posting so you can present an informed opinion. If you would like to proclaim that you don't know what you are talking about because you aren't paid to do it, that's your perogative. It does give others an understanding of what weight to put on your suggested rules changes. Thanks for the heads up, I won't bother to discuss rules changes with you.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
ask the 1st level party who died to a fireball their wild sorc accidentally cast if everything is absolutely fine.

sorcs are playable but they still could use some love. And that’s not just forum goers saying it, Wotcs own polls have sorcs near the bottom
class breakdown.jpg

This is last year's from D&D Beyond. Sorcerer is "bottom" with 7% popularity, shared with four other classes including paladin and bard that are often considered in the top part of the power curve, and beating out the druid, also a class that people do not think is underpowered. It's within 1% of every class except Fighter, Rogue and Warlock.

My google-fu has not been able to bring back anything on results of class surveys, but it easily could be discussed in a video or somewhere else that wouldn't easily find it. Can you give a source that WotC surveys saying sorcerers are near the bottom?
 

Stalker0

Legend
My google-fu has not been able to bring back anything on results of class surveys, but it easily could be discussed in a video or somewhere else that wouldn't easily find it. Can you give a source that WotC surveys saying sorcerers are near the bottom?
I mean you just did give a survey that says Sorcs are near the bottom, so we are half way there:)

The trick then is in asking why that is the case. Is it mechanics, flavor, is that people just like playing the "core 4" (in which case poor clerics). Is it that paladins are too "lawful stupid" for most people. Is the fighter and rogue OP and that's why people like to play them etc etc.
 

I'm very confused at how notoriously difficult to balance Superhero RPGs, which do have to deal with a canonical issue of street-levelers mixed with cosmic heroes mixed with creators pets like Batman having balance issues has anything to do with balance in Fantasy where the creators decide the relative power level of the classes.

Unless this is another 'Wizards ruin everything' issue where wizards are expected to be gods (like Batman) and parity with martials would threaten them.
If you use the rules to represent in-universe power (like DnD usually does), it's basically impossible to balance street-level superheroes and god-level superheroes. If they were DnD characters, Thor would always be better than Hawkeye.

The games (and comics and movies) that pull it off do so by not trying to do that. They balance the narrative impact of the characters: it's not that Hawkeye's arrows do as much damage ad Mjollnir, but they have the same amount of effect on the overall battle. Hawkeye is just as useful as Thor - even if they're not even close in terms of power.

Sometimes this is tailoring the spotlight: if the task is "hit a very small thing far away without touching anything next to it" Hawkeye's your man. The other method is to just not be simulationist in the rules, a la Fate or PbtA which don't have you roll for the attack so much as roll for the section of battle overall.
 

I mean you just did give a survey that says Sorcs are near the bottom, so we are half way there:)

The trick then is in asking why that is the case. Is it mechanics, flavor, is that people just like playing the "core 4" (in which case poor clerics). Is it that paladins are too "lawful stupid" for most people. Is the fighter and rogue OP and that's why people like to play them etc etc.
The most popular full caster is the Warlock - not by a lot but it's the winner. Is that due to simplicity, customizability, having the best 'story' for the class, or just doing the best job representing that story? I for one don't know.
 

HammerMan

Legend
I'm very confused at how notoriously difficult to balance Superhero RPGs, which do have to deal with a canonical issue of street-levelers mixed with cosmic heroes mixed with creators pets like Batman having balance issues has anything to do with balance in Fantasy where the creators decide the relative power level of the classes.

Unless this is another 'Wizards ruin everything' issue where wizards are expected to be gods (like Batman) and parity with martials would threaten them.
it was an example of too much balance... in order to make a game (any game) you need to balance it to a point but have enough clear differences that things don't feel or look the same.

in my example even though the fluff said Superman and Batman were very diffrent, the sheets could look out of game very similar...and get the 'samey' complint.
 


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