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D&D 5E Looting during combat wtf ?

Necrofina

Villager
Hey guys, little new to DnD, about 6 months in and I need some advice. I play a warlock ( only caster in group ) and try to maximize my dmg and spare my party members from aoe attacks, as well as ‘spare the dying’ cantrip and my owl familiar as a healing potion deliverer. But even though I play for the group I’ve noticed lately the others are looting the fallen and chests while others are still in combat or unconscious…
Should I get greedy, start being careless with Fireballs n aoe’s … begin ‘searching the room’ while melee pc’s occupy the monsters?

One of our players also dm’s our other campaign and we rotate week to week.
 

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Esbee

Dungeon Master at large.
Your reaction to events is entirely your prerogative.

If your Warlock is the type to get offended by it, then call them out in character at the table. If you don't care, then so be it, let it slide.

This, of course, assumes reasonable players who get that you are role playing, and their actions are likewise deliberate character choices.

Some people get touchy about the whole PvP thing, so you need to make sure everyone is on the same page if you decide they deserve some well earned fireballs up their collective arses.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Hey guys, little new to DnD, about 6 months in and I need some advice. I play a warlock ( only caster in group ) and try to maximize my dmg and spare my party members from aoe attacks, as well as ‘spare the dying’ cantrip and my owl familiar as a healing potion deliverer. But even though I play for the group I’ve noticed lately the others are looting the fallen and chests while others are still in combat or unconscious…
Should I get greedy, start being careless with Fireballs n aoe’s … begin ‘searching the room’ while melee pc’s occupy the monsters?

One of our players also dm’s our other campaign and we rotate week to week.
This is one of those things where you shouldn't be dealing with an out of game problem with in game means. And this is out of game because it's behavior at the table you feel is breaking the (probably unspoken) social contract of play. I'd highly recommend you bring it up in discussion, and ask why this is happening and state that it bothers you. If the other players don't care, you kind of have an answer as to whether or not you should be playing at this table with these players. Usually, though the reasons may be something that can be easily worked out.

As a curiosity, what's the treasure sharing agreement for your group? Do you have one? If so, does discovering loot get you some extra share? Usually, behavior like this is incentivized in some way, and it can be as simple as fixing the incentive.
 


Stormonu

Legend
I've not seen that sort of behavior unless the threat to the group is relatively low. And the group is somehow dysfunctional.

I wouldn't advocate adding to the chaos by outright attacking others in the group, but if they're going to use their actions when revived to help themselves instead of the group, I believe I would have a frank discussion about doling out uses of spare the dying on them.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I've not seen that sort of behavior unless the threat to the group is relatively low. And the group is somehow dysfunctional.

I wouldn't advocate adding to the chaos by outright attacking others in the group, but if they're going to use their actions when revived to help themselves instead of the group, I believe I would have a frank discussion about doling out uses of spare the dying on them.
The only time I've ever looted during a fight was during 1e/2e when I didn't have a magic weapon or any other way to hurt the monsters, was not in any danger, and had some obvious loot like a chest or something. I would try to get it open in the hopes that the might be a magic weapon inside.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Yeah looting corpses during combat is either a unexperienced GM not reacting to distracted characters or indulging a dysfunctional player - either way bring it up with the GM to see what their thoughts are and then raise with the group.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
As noted above, unless its actually part of the encounter (find the key, the weapon, etc) its way tacky. And as noted, it should lead to some serious character harm. Maybe a TPK? Its that tacky.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
I've not seen that sort of behavior unless the threat to the group is relatively low. And the group is somehow dysfunctional.

I wouldn't advocate adding to the chaos by outright attacking others in the group, but if they're going to use their actions when revived to help themselves instead of the group, I believe I would have a frank discussion about doling out uses of spare the dying on them.
Spare the dying won’t let them take actions, though. It only stabilizes them (leaving them unconscious). The only way to get them back on their feet in combat is to actually heal them.

(This does mean characters who have been stabilized with spare the dead are still vulnerable to coup de grâce attacks. Although, if the DM isn’t targeting PCs while they’re looting, they probably aren’t being targeted while unconscious, either.)

My suggestion to @Necrofina:

Don’t worry about it. Instead, learn from it and, when you’re the one in the DM’s seat, make sure the PCs’ opponents won’t let themselves be ignored.
 

Amros

Villager
But even though I play for the group I’ve noticed lately the others are looting the fallen and chests while others are still in combat or unconscious… Should I get greedy, start being careless with Fireballs n aoe’s …
Clearly, this is upsetting you in some degree, or at least is not fun to you. But this is a problem you can only solve talking with the players, not with the characters, or taking actions in-game. So when it happens, stop the game and present your concerns.

This kind of issues can be avoided (or greatly mitigated) with a proper 'Session Zero', where you all set the boundaries and the social contract you agree upon. Even TCoE came with a section about Session Zero. It's not perfect, but a good starting point.

Not to late to do it now, I think.
 

In general:
I agree that you should talk to the players. Personal preference is to do such talks at the start of a game. So, I would announce it to the DM that you need a little time at the start of a session.

Also, make sure you are not going to criticise your fellow players. Instead, describe a factual observation and how that makes you feel (as a player). If done well, that delivers the same message but does not push your fellow players into their trenches. ;)

But specifically, regarding looting during combat:
Holy wow, I agree with the sentiment in the thread that it's amazing that these PCs don't get stabbed in the back, literally. As a DM, I would definitely punish that with in-game consequences: I would have some monsters sneak up to them and have a go at them with advantage. Also, I'd trap the chests (investigate, unlock, open&grab is at least three actions, if not more).

And also, are you a team, or are you a bunch of convenient allies that all aspire individual wealth and power and will eventually murder each other to steal their stash?
 
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Mordhau

Explorer
I would just bring it up when they start doing it in combat.

Why are you looting the bodies when we're still in the fighter? A little help here.
I'm just playing my character.
And when I drop a fireball on you for risking my life by not joining the fight I'll be playing my character too.

I don't know if that will work, but if it doesn't probably nothing else will either.

This really sounds like immaturity and the only real cure for that is too stick em back in the oven for a few more years.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
Should I get greedy, start being careless with Fireballs n aoe’s … begin ‘searching the room’ while melee pc’s occupy the monsters?
I think you would be better off talking to them outside the game. At my table the treasure is split evenly. D&D is not normally a competitive game.
 

TheSword

Legend
I’d examine the reasons why it’s Happening.

Do you have a fair process for dividing loot or is it first come first served. The latter will drive people to start looting bodies the former makes it pointless.

Do you have an OOC convention about PvP, stealing from other players etc? If not, that incentives people to steal trinkets when no one is looking. If there isn’t one. Getting one will sort this right out.

Is is a player behavior/courtesy problem not something resolved by a DM attacking players. That won’t always be an option, and it just turns looting in combat into a risk/reward thing which putting the other elements I mentioned in place.

In my opinion these two things are essential for any successful party.
 

akr71

Hero
Yep, if that happened at my table, the monsters would focus their attention on the character(s) doing the looting. If a player complained, I would explain that 1) the monster knows you are distracted and an easy target; 2) if the opponents are even semi-intelligent they would be super offended by someone looting the still warm corpse of their comrade.

In fact, maybe the next time one of the party goes down, the monster would loot their body and run away.

I would talk to your DM first, then the rest of the party. Are you a band of adventurers working toward a common goal? If so, loot sharing should be the standard practice. Are you a bunch of cut-throat mercenaries who are looking for the most profit for themselves? If so, then carry on. Be stingy with those spare the dying and maybe rifle through their belongings and keep a few items for yourself before you heal them.
 

Tallifer

Hero
Perhaps ( I joke hopefully) the other players have played too many massively multi-player on-line roleplaying games: I know when I played Dark Age of Camelot years and years ago, looting during combat ( or at least in the brief pauses between combat) was necessary because the loot which the monsters dropped would disappear after a certain time.

On the other hand... <laughs> I will never forget when the thief in our AD&D game wandered off and started looting while the party desperately fought off the monsters. (I drew this picture of it for bonus XP)

Thief looting.jpg


(see more fun D&D illustrations in my webcomic Tales from the Gnomish Tarot )
 
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Dragonsbane

Proud Grognard
Try this:
As you reach down and begin to search the body, suddenly you see he was not quite dead. The attack roll catches you unaware, it has advantage and you get no Dexterity added to your AC.
 

I am surprised no one asked yet:

Is the campaign one where the characters are SUPPOSED to be selfish amoral aholes out for themselves first?

If so, you may be the one out of line with the group expectations.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
As others have said, this is not normal and likely behavior that's the result of people coming from an MMO background or because it's a "finders keepers" game when it comes to loot.

Talk to your DM offline. They should be the ones that bring this up with the group (although you may need to). If treasure is distributed evenly the players may not even realize it's an issue. If the treasure is not being divided evenly, that's a different issue. I'd still have a sidebar conversation with the rest of the group. If they don't change, explain that until you get your fair share you won't heal them and if they go down you'll take what you believe is your fair share of the treasure.

Do not give into the temptation to "accidentally" fireball the party unless you don't want to continue playing with these PCs and potentially players.

Last, but not least, there are times when a group just isn't a good fit. It can suck, but if nothing works you're going to have to decide if the good outweighs the bad. Good luck!
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Is this behavior occurs when there fight is still raging on or during the ''cleaning up''?

If its the later, you may also discuss at the table if the DM would be willing to wrap things up narratively if all that's left of the fight is a few mooks with 2-3 hp. If the players feels they can start looting because their injured companions are stabilized by you and there's no real threat remaining, that means that the combat has ended, even if there's still mechanically foes on the grid.

As always, if there's no risk of failure, skip it.
 

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