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5E Little rules changes that still trip you up

5E's been out for a while now, and I find there are still a few sneaky/hidden changes from earlier editions that still trip me (or my players) up. Small details that really aren't that complicated, but simply because they're different, I have a hard time remembering. Things like

*Natural 20 and natural 1 are no longer auto-success or auto-failure on saving throws.

*Casting a spell or firing a ranged weapon in melee range no longer draw opportunity attacks.

I'm sure I can't be the only one, so I'm curious what other tiny little rules details like this still make you guys stumble.
 

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ad_hoc

Hero
My players (and myself occaisionally) have a problem with the dynamic of ability checks.

I have trouble getting across that they don't have to declare skill use anymore. They just need to tell me what they're doing and I may or may not call for a check at some point.

I am looking forward to the time when we fully adjust and the game becomes more fluid. The major difference in design to me is that 3.x is simulationist whereas 5e is narrative.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
It happens a lot at my table with the Ready action.

It took like a dozen tries to ingrain the idea of "you ready a specific action in response to a specific trigger, and if it's an attack, you only get one."

Recently, it happened with the Ready action + spellcasting. You "cast the spell" on your Ready action, but hold it in concentration until the trigger, so readying a high-level spell is costly if that trigger never happens.

There's a lot of things that crop up on the reg, constantly reminding me that though 5e is probably the simplest form of the game in over a decade, it's still got a lot of complexity in it.
 


pukunui

Hero
Surprise. I know that there's technically no such thing as a surprise round anymore. Everyone's supposed to roll initiative no matter what. Being surprised just means you lose your first turn. I know all that. Yet I still find myself calling for initiative rolls *after* I've resolved any surprise attacks.
 

J.L. Duncan

First Post
Well, I suppose it's a little less difficult for me. I played up to 2e pretty regular. Then jumped off at 3e. I've read pretty much all the editions but it's a big difference playing them.

I play a lot of old school stuff (retro and neo clone) the toughest adjustment I've had to make is in relation to the power of casters (cantrips) for 5e. The natural 20 and 1 rolls was something I just noticed right off. We had a break recently and so our core players are currently tweaking the system.
 

l0lzero

First Post
Tool based ability checks - I never can remember to ask for specific instrument checks, and always ask for a performance check, or I'll ask for spot checks, or listen checks instead of perception checks. Basically, if there's a 3rd edition skill check to do something, I have a 50/50 chance of asking for the 3rd edition skill check... Makes me feel dumb too.

Also, spells. Can't remember what all spells got removed, so I'll go to look a spell up and not be able to find it (I miss tenser's transformation... like so much...).
 



Dualazi

First Post
5E's been out for a while now, and I find there are still a few sneaky/hidden changes from earlier editions that still trip me (or my players) up. Small details that really aren't that complicated, but simply because they're different, I have a hard time remembering. Things like

*Natural 20 and natural 1 are no longer auto-success or auto-failure on saving throws.

*Casting a spell or firing a ranged weapon in melee range no longer draw opportunity attacks.

I'm sure I can't be the only one, so I'm curious what other tiny little rules details like this still make you guys stumble.
The second one definitely got me the first time it cropped up, but it's one of the easier ones to adjust to.

The first one we hadn't bothered to look up because of how rare the exceptions to those would be. Most high-end saves seem to be in the 17-19 neighborhood, and I can't recall ever seeing a save DC below 10, so the nat one part is genuinely useless barring 3rd party supplements.
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
One I still see people having trouble with all the time is "If you cast a Bonus Action spell, you can only cast a cantrip with your Action that turn."
 

Croesus

Adventurer
*Natural 20 and natural 1 are no longer auto-success or auto-failure on saving throws.
Wow. We've been playing since the starter set came out and never noticed that.

The one that we have to constantly look up is Concentration. It's a save, not a check. That makes a difference in so many ways, yet I still find myself saying "Make a Concentration check."
 

akr71

Adventurer
Surprise. I know that there's technically no such thing as a surprise round anymore. Everyone's supposed to roll initiative no matter what. Being surprised just means you lose your first turn. I know all that. Yet I still find myself calling for initiative rolls *after* I've resolved any surprise attacks.
Yes, this is still a problem for me too.
 

Two things come to my mind.

The surprise round got us too. I had to explain how it works and I keep my self doing it old style time and time again... At least my players are putting me right back on track ;)

The auto 20/1 save/fail, I just missed out on that one. Checked it and I faced palm.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
One I still see people having trouble with all the time is "If you cast a Bonus Action spell, you can only cast a cantrip with your Action that turn."
The interesting corollary to this that took a while for me to digest: this doesn't prevent, say, an Eldritch Knight using Action Surge to cast two spells in a turn...unless it uses a bonus action spell.

pukunui said:
Surprise. I know that there's technically no such thing as a surprise round anymore. Everyone's supposed to roll initiative no matter what. Being surprised just means you lose your first turn. I know all that. Yet I still find myself calling for initiative rolls *after* I've resolved any surprise attacks.
This is so entwined with the ambiguity of "when combat starts." If someone is shot by an arrow from someone they didn't see and weren't aware of, does combat start BEFORE the arrow is fired? After the hit occurs? RAI seems to indicate the first, but that creates the (intentional?) weirdness of "monster gets a turn and is no longer surprised by the sniper attack that might now not happen because the creature is no longer surprised."

....it's real hard to wrap your mind around the idea that when the hidden assassin says "I stab the bugbear as it wanders close to me," you have to:
1) Roll initiative.
2) If the Bugbear wins, figure out what it is doing with its "turn" since it doesn't know it is threatened, but it is now not surprised?
3) the hidden assassin has a turn, and then can either stab the unsurprised bugbear, or...not..now?
4) Maybe the hidden assassin waits until the bugbear comes by again to stab it, hoping it rolls lower on init this time?

That kind of holds together, but it's real counter-intuitive!
 
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KahlessNestor

Explorer
Two things come to my mind.

The surprise round got us too. I had to explain how it works and I keep my self doing it old style time and time again... At least my players are putting me right back on track ;)

The auto 20/1 save/fail, I just missed out on that one. Checked it and I faced palm.
Where is the save rule again? I'm not finding it.

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ad_hoc

Hero
....it's real hard to wrap your mind around the idea that when the hidden assassin says "I stab the bugbear as it wanders close to me," you have to:
1) Roll initiative.
2) If the Bugbear wins, figure out what it is doing with its "turn" since it doesn't know it is threatened, but it is now not surprised?
3) the hidden assassin has a turn, and then can either stab the unsurprised bugbear, or...not..now?
4) Maybe the hidden assassin waits until the bugbear comes by again to stab it, hoping it rolls lower on init this time?

That kind of holds together, but it's real counter-intuitive!
It doesn't get to do anything on its turn because it was surprised. The only difference is that it can now take reactions.

As far as the assassin is concerned nothing has changed. The assassin will still attack as normal. The assassin doesn't know that the Bugbear won initiative.

The difference here is that the Bugbear will move at the last second, preventing the auto-critical. This is a very common trope in assassin/ninja stories. So much so that it would be weird if it weren't part of the game.
 

The_Gneech

First Post
It happens a lot at my table with the Ready action.

It took like a dozen tries to ingrain the idea of "you ready a specific action in response to a specific trigger, and if it's an attack, you only get one."
My players are still resisting that one. :p

-The Gneech
 

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