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D&D 5E Looting during combat wtf ?

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
If it is a low stakes fight, it doesn’t seem that weird. If it is a high stakes fight that is becoming a retreat, that may be the only way to get some of that loot.


Completely aside from when looting happens, loot division rules need to be clear.
 

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le Redoutable

Explorer
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 ot.
.
here I recall psionics and tolerance

Some of you are weak in defense, like
Intellect fortress vs ego whip
R
NoW,. I decide to simplify. Encounters type
Luck
Help
Jokes
Fight
Overriding
 

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).

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.
And others have mentioned similar.

But, Search is just an action. You don't lose your Bonus Action or Reaction or Movement when you Search. What other by-rule Actions would you ignore the rules about awareness to grant Advantage or Surprise to?
 

aco175

Legend
I remember in 2e having a thief that tried not to fight and was a bit of a coward. He would hide in combat and maybe loot chests and such, but always bought the party stuff with the loot like rooms and meals. I also had a thief/cleric that would help you make donations when he healed you if you were unconscious to make them yourself. These were character actions and not player actions like others are saying. It seems like your game is more a video game where coins fall out of bodies after they are killed and you can just pass over them to gain them. After several levels the thief did become more brave and start to help more. 5e has the problem that the game is designed to be 4-5 PCs and not 8ish where one could not fight and still the party could function.
 


aco175

Legend
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Looting during combat isn't the problem, and you never know whether the looters will find something that can help finish the fight.

The real problem exists if your party's treasury division system consists of "finders, keepers".

And - contrary to what seems like prevailing opinion here - I say that this in isolation is an in-character problem best solved in-character; either by establishing a fair treasury division system or by a few well-placed fireballs and some character turnover (or both!).

If the same players do this with their new PCs, then (and only then) it's time to take it out-of-game; because now the pattern shows it's a player issue.
 

And others have mentioned similar.

But, Search is just an action. You don't lose your Bonus Action or Reaction or Movement when you Search. What other by-rule Actions would you ignore the rules about awareness to grant Advantage or Surprise to?
NPCs attack the looting PC with advantage because the PC will be prone. I imagine most treasure chests, bags or other containers for loot are < 1 ft tall, so you'd have to kneel down to search them.
 


Lakesidefantasy

Adventurer
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)

View attachment 143041

(see more fun D&D illustrations in my webcomic Tales from the Gnomish Tarot )
This is an age-old tradition. I expect it, support it, and even do it sometimes.

If the thief isn't trying to hide gems up his nose, then what kind of thief is he?
 

D&D is turn based. if i declare my action as Search why would i remain prone when i have movement and reactions?
Fair point. So you'd just lose half your movement.

If you need to search for traps or pick a lock in combination with a search, then you can - by the rules - complete all those actions and stand up every time again. However, I think I would have a chat with you if I were the DM and my PC would try that. Especially if you do that only to make sure you get the loot instead of your party-member.
 

Mordhau

Explorer
I think picking a lock in a 6 second combat round is incredibly generous. Same with disarming traps.

In all honesty I don't think I'd have any interest as DM in resolving the lockpicking until the combat was finished. If the player finds that boring then they can do something else!

I really wouldn't let this happen. There's a combat to resolve. We can generally wait until later to find out what loot there is. (Unless the player is looking for something to help in the fight or making a snatch and grab for something they can clear see or have reason to know is there). I'm certainly not pausing the fight to give one player special attention.
 

akr71

Hero
And others have mentioned similar.

But, Search is just an action. You don't lose your Bonus Action or Reaction or Movement when you Search. What other by-rule Actions would you ignore the rules about awareness to grant Advantage or Surprise to?
What?

I said the opponents would gang up on the 'searching' character. I did not say anything about overriding a player's decisions or ignore rules.
 

jgsugden

Legend
It is a role playing game. There is a story going on. Handle this situation within the story.

How does your PC react to those PCs leaving others to be attacked while they loot? When a character makes a decision, handle it in the story if possible. That doesn't work for everything, of course, but making a selfish choice to loot while allies are in danger is something you can handle in character.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
It is a role playing game. There is a story going on. Handle this situation within the story.

How does your PC react to those PCs leaving others to be attacked while they loot? When a character makes a decision, handle it in the story if possible. That doesn't work for everything, of course, but making a selfish choice to loot while allies are in danger is something you can handle in character.
I strongly disagree with this given the OP, and here's why: the player is upset here, not the character. If the OP was asking for advice because their character was mad and they wanted input on how to portray that then this is good advice. Instead, the OP themself is upset about it. This needs to be handled at the table, not in the game.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I strongly disagree with this given the OP, and here's why: the player is upset here, not the character. If the OP was asking for advice because their character was mad and they wanted input on how to portray that then this is good advice. Instead, the OP themself is upset about it. This needs to be handled at the table, not in the game.
I'll strongly disagree right back. While there are clearly situations we need to deal with as players that are impacting the story, this is a situation where a solution should start in the game if at all possible - and it seems incredibly likely to me that it is as discussed below.

D&D is an RPG. A role playing game. Characters play a role in a story. Stories have ups and downs. As players, we get invested in the situation. That is a hallmark of a good game. We, as people, will be impacted by the game as our PCs face struggles - sometimes of their own making, sometimes from fellow PCs, often from NPCs or monsters. That does not mean that we should halt the story and revise the situation out of character every time the story impacts us as players in a negative way. The struggle to overcome negative situations is part of telling a good story. And it is desired.

Go look on your character sheet. What do you see right beneath Bonds? Flaws. Characters are meant to have flaws. Flaws are things that make them problematic. Look at the sample flaws in the PHB. Read them. PCs are intended to have some of these types of behaviors - to start. They'll have a chance to grow and evolve over these flaws.

This obviously has limits, and those limits are going to differ from table to table and situation to situation. So the DM and player need to make the call here if a player raises an issue. However, if you read the OP, the OP is talking about what the character should do - in game - to respond to the situation. The starting point for the player is in game, and I believe that if their first inclination is to address it in game, we are not over that threshold here.

For a further example of what I am discussing: Go back and look at Critical Role campaign 2 as another example where something similar took place. While the Mighty Nein broke into a politician's home to frame them (ahhh ... heroes), Caleb found some scrolls. While the group knew it was important not to leave a trace (which they'd already messed up), Caleb wanted the scrolls. It was part of his PC's personality and backstory to be desperate for power (at that point in time, at least). He took the scrolls, and his loyal ally Nott (who also needed him to become more powerful for selfish reasons) had his back. The rest of the PCs present were insistent that he leave them behind. Despite argument, he took them. This situation was handled by the PCs in the moment, discussed by the PCs in character down the road, and resulted in conflict that played a role in the development of the PCs. It was a fairly significant story development that forced them to consider what being in a group meant and triggered character growth.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I'll strongly disagree right back. While there are clearly situations we need to deal with as players that are impacting the story, this is a situation where a solution should start in the game if at all possible - and it seems incredibly likely to me that it is as discussed below.

D&D is an RPG. A role playing game. Characters play a role in a story. Stories have ups and downs. As players, we get invested in the situation. That is a hallmark of a good game. We, as people, will be impacted by the game as our PCs face struggles - sometimes of their own making, sometimes from fellow PCs, often from NPCs or monsters. That does not mean that we should halt the story and revise the situation out of character every time the story impacts us as players in a negative way. The struggle to overcome negative situations is part of telling a good story. And it is desired.

Go look on your character sheet. What do you see right beneath Bonds? Flaws. Characters are meant to have flaws. Flaws are things that make them problematic. Look at the sample flaws in the PHB. Read them. PCs are intended to have some of these types of behaviors - to start. They'll have a chance to grow and evolve over these flaws.

This obviously has limits, and those limits are going to differ from table to table and situation to situation. So the DM and player need to make the call here if a player raises an issue. However, if you read the OP, the OP is talking about what the character should do - in game - to respond to the situation. The starting point for the player is in game, and I believe that if their first inclination is to address it in game, we are not over that threshold here.

For a further example of what I am discussing: Go back and look at Critical Role campaign 2 as another example where something similar took place. While the Mighty Nein broke into a politician's home to frame them (ahhh ... heroes), Caleb found some scrolls. While the group knew it was important not to leave a trace (which they'd already messed up), Caleb wanted the scrolls. It was part of his PC's personality and backstory to be desperate for power (at that point in time, at least). He took the scrolls, and his loyal ally Nott (who also needed him to become more powerful for selfish reasons) had his back. The rest of the PCs present were insistent that he leave them behind. Despite argument, he took them. This situation was handled by the PCs in the moment, discussed by the PCs in character down the road, and resulted in conflict that played a role in the development of the PCs. It was a fairly significant story development that forced them to consider what being in a group meant and triggered character growth.
Look, it's pretty simple. If I, the person, am mad at another player, this shouldn't be handled in the game. Doing so is passive aggressive and likely to lead to further recriminations. I should, instead, recognize that I, the person, am upset with another real person and deal with it in the real world because the conflict is in the real world (I am mad at them).

If I think my character is mad at another character, then, yes, absolutely, role-playing game and do it in the game, because the conflict is in the game.

At NO point should the idea that we're pretending to be elves ever replace normal social interaction. Recognize where the conflict is and deal with it there.
 
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jgsugden

Legend
Look, it's pretty simple. If I, the person, is mad at another player, this shouldn't be handled in the game. Doing so is passive aggressive and likely to lead to further recriminations. I should, instead, recognize that I, the person, am upset with another real person and deal with it in the real world because the conflict is in the real world (I am mad at them).

If I think my character is mad at another character, then, yes, absolutely, role-playing game and do it in the game, because the conflict is in the game.

At NO point should the idea that we're pretending to be elves ever replace normal social interaction. Recognize where the conflict is and deal with it there.
Again, the points and examples I put above address this issue.

I'll go a step further and remind you that people have flaws as well. Sometimes the frustrated person may be in the wrong. Role playing, beyond being a core aspect of some great games, is also a therapeutic tool to deal with many things, including conflict resolution. Using role-playing to help us expand our tool set to deal with real world problems is a side benefit of D&D. It can help us learn (and teach) ways to deal with conflict.

In the end, when one player says, "Hey, I'm upset. You all have to change what you're doing because I'm upset," we have to consider the situation as a whole. We want to be inclusive, we want to be welcoming, and we want to be supportive - but that does not mean that the best answer is avoidance. There are a lot of ways to deal with the situation - even when a player is unhappy - and often they can be dealt with in the game.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Again, the points and examples I put above address this issue.

I'll go a step further and remind you that people have flaws as well. Sometimes the frustrated person may be in the wrong. Role playing, beyond being a core aspect of some great games, is also a therapeutic tool to deal with many things, including conflict resolution. Using role-playing to help us expand our tool set to deal with real world problems is a side benefit of D&D. It can help us learn (and teach) ways to deal with conflict.

In the end, when one player says, "Hey, I'm upset. You all have to change what you're doing because I'm upset," we have to consider the situation as a whole. We want to be inclusive, we want to be welcoming, and we want to be supportive - but that does not mean that the best answer is avoidance. There are a lot of ways to deal with the situation - even when a player is unhappy - and often they can be dealt with in the game.
You've badly mistaken me. I'm saying that the discussion should happen at the table rather than actions taken in the game, not who's right and wrong. And I think that shunting real life interpersonal interactions onto a game not a healthy approach.

Further, I think the idea that it's the GM's job to monitor the interactions of other adults and be the authority figure at the table is very unhealthy as well. Just because a person is willing to take on the GM's role in a game does not qualify them as the right person to handle interpersonal issues in real life. Nor should it obligate them to. I stridently believe that this blurring of authority from a game role to real life and the placing of the GM as the de facto authority for real life issues at the table is a primary cause of a lot of the dysfunction our hobby experiences. It disempowers players in the social group. It's quite simple to let everyone know that they have the ability and even duty to raise concerns at the table level about play, and to have a reasoned discussion without being told what will happen by the GM -- again, a person selected usually for reasons that have nothing to do with managing social situations.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Anybody in this forum guessing whether or not looting mid-combat is an in-character or out of character thing can't do anything but guess at it. So I think the best course for the OP is to ask the offending players why they're doing it out of character. But even if the answer is "It's what my character would do", that's still probably a caution flag. It's a standard response of the player rationalizing being a dick and it's very common among people relatively new to the hobby who haven't figured out they shouldn't be griefing their fellow players.
 

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