D&D 5E Martials v Casters...I still don't *get* it.

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Aldarc

Legend
Damn right... After giving 4e a go for a few sessions.

Though you’ll notice I restricted my responses to 3e and 5e... that I’ve been playing since it’s inception.

Way to try gatekeep the conversation though.
That was not my intention, but if you wanna make veiled attacks, then there is little reason to continue discussing this. Have a nice day.
 

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DnD Warlord

Adventurer
I don’t think anyone would bregrudge someone coming up to our their own homebrew class.

From my point of view, I just don’t think it adds a weight to the idea that there is a Martial - Caster disparity.

One of several criticisms of 4e was that it homogenized all classes into the same kind of style and it didn’t feel materially different playing a wizard or a fighter. I can see that. You seem to see it as a feature though.
I can see why you don’t want the fighter as is taken away..... but a new class, warlord battle mind war blade sword sage what ever you want to call it could (by WoTC) fill this gap
 

Undrave

Hero
Here's my overall stance. Combat balance is not really an issue in 5e. The out of combat utility of most characters who are not spellcasters is more limited, but I view that as largely a side effect of bounded accuracy's impact on the skill system. A 15th level fighter is barely better at Athleticism than a first level one. Cannot really run faster, lift more, or meaningfully impose more force to anything except their blades. I think someone who is reliably facing down pit fiends should feel like that outside of combat.

On the flipside I feel like magic (especially "plot" disruptive magic) has been overly nerfed. I would like high level characters to actually feel like they are worthy of the sorts of adventures the game seems to want them to go on.
I wonder if the plan was to add an 'Epic Module' that went from lv 21 to lv 30 later on in the edition when modularity was still hyped up, but they then decided to give up on?
 

You’ve missed the point that anything your martial can conceive of doing is fair game. Topple a statue or bookcase onto your enemies? Rip down a curtain to entangle your foe? Pick up a handful of sand and fling it in your enemies eyes?

If you can’t do these at your table, the problem is your table.

Uhm, no it isn't. All your described actions fall squarely outside of existing mechanics, in the same way that jumping to the moon or lifting a castle do.

Their existence as 'options' is not equivalent to explicitly defined spells with mechanical support which take up half the book.
 

Oofta

Legend
There were two points I made: one, you must take the attack action to grapple or shove (so you’re still taking the attack action). Not important, just snark. If the argument is you don’t have to take the attack action, you can shove, well, technically that is still the attack action. Ha ha ha. Also: you can’t sub these for attacks gained via bonus actions, which sort of sucks in some cases. Probably necessary so opportunity attacks did not become stupid.

Two, Mark (as well as Cleaving Through Creatures) are not in the PHB and while I don’t know how widely used they are, I wouldn’t guess they are common.

And a third point: you have all of these at level 1, your options don’t change much.
Grapple and shove are attacks which can be part of your attack action should not be controversial at all.

Whether every fighter needs more options is an opinion I simply disagree with. If you want someone that slaps on armor and wades into the fight while casting spells or using supernatural abilities you have multiple options with subclasses, barbarians, paladins and so on. If you want maneuvers you can do that. Want to be better at being a defender? Take a cavalier so you can mark with polearm master and/or sentinel to maintain focus on your PC. Want to really make a mess of things? Multiclass. Want to talk endlessly about how awesome your PC is on a spreadsheet? Hexblade. ;)

You don't need complexity for every class. The label we put on classes is artificial anyway, if you didn't know what some classes were called people who aren't familiar with the system wouldn't know the difference. Put another way: if you open up more "tactical complexity" (whatever that means) than we already have to fighters I think you would have to change the structure of combat. That would have massive ripple effects throughout the system.
 

Undrave

Hero
You’ve missed the point that anything your martial can conceive of doing is fair game. Topple a statue or bookcase onto your enemies? Rip down a curtain to entangle your foe? Pick up a handful of sand and fling it in your enemies eyes?

If you can’t do these at your table, the problem is your table.
And we're back to 'DM may I?' while Spellcasters still have control over their options. A spellcaster can ALSO use Pocket Sand against anyone just as well. Heck, even better if they have Mage Hand to do it at range!

Though Pocket Sand is a good item to keep if you're a Thief for your Bonus interaction!
 

Undrave

Hero
Grapple and shove are attacks which can be part of your attack action should not be controversial at all.

Whether every fighter needs more options is an opinion I simply disagree with. If you want someone that slaps on armor and wades into the fight while casting spells or using supernatural abilities you have multiple options with subclasses, barbarians, paladins and so on. If you want maneuvers you can do that. Want to be better at being a defender? Take a cavalier so you can mark with polearm master and/or sentinel to maintain focus on your PC. Want to really make a mess of things? Multiclass. Want to talk endlessly about how awesome your PC is on a spreadsheet? Hexblade. ;)

You don't need complexity for every class. The label we put on classes is artificial anyway, if you didn't know what some classes were called people who aren't familiar with the system wouldn't know the difference. Put another way: if you open up more "tactical complexity" (whatever that means) than we already have to fighters I think you would have to change the structure of combat. That would have massive ripple effects throughout the system.
I think the bigger problems is that most purely Martial characters don't get new options opening up at later level, they just get better at what they've been doing since early level. Maneuvers are great but ALL of them are available at level 3. Nothing develops as a reflection of the kind of threat high level characters can face whereas spellcasters get options to face new challenges.

I don't think we needed like, 9 levels of Maneuvers like with spells, but maybe two more tier would have been enough. Maneuvers that cost more Dice starting around lv 10 and then again around level 15, give or take. Probably a smaller selection than the level 3 list, mind you.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I think the bigger problems is that most purely Martial characters don't get new options opening up at later level, they just get better at what they've been doing since early level. Maneuvers are great but ALL of them are available at level 3. Nothing develops as a reflection of the kind of threat high level characters can face whereas spellcasters get options to face new challenges.

I don't think we needed like, 9 levels of Maneuvers like with spells, but maybe two more tier would have been enough. Maneuvers that cost more Dice starting around lv 10 and then again around level 15, give or take. Probably a smaller selection than the level 3 list, mind you.
Incidentally, Mike Mearls designed a "Ritual Warrior" class for Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved for the 3e d20 system. It was similar to the Battlemaster, except it had four tiers of combat maneuvers. So in some regards, it was more akin to a 1/3 caster, except these were all martial abilities.
 

One thing I don't understand about 6 encounters being a "slog" ... if they are then isn't the entire game a slog? I mean, presumably for each level, you have more than 6 encounters (after 1st), right? For every level you have between 6 and 16 encounters if you leveled based on XP according to this site.
Eh, I don’t think it is that cut and dried.

Some DMs cut down on encounters for verisimilitude reasons (your 7th level party investigating a small town just happens to come across 8 encounters CR 4 to 10).

Some DMs want to keep the story bits coming quick and snappy, so adding extra encounters to extend the arc is a negative.

Some DMs vary pacing during the campaign, but find that while the standard DMG pacing works for dungeons, it doesn’t work in other circumstances.

Some DMs might be great at creating fun dynamic encounters when they are only creating 3 or 4 of them, but ask them to make 8 in a row and the quality suffers.

In all those cases, holding the DMs to a 6 to 8 encounter adventuring day does lead to encounters that are slogs, while a lighter pacing schedule (that is still quicker than gritty realism) would lead to an improved game.

Also, if a 6 encounter, 2 short rest is your MEDIAN, you are still looking at several 9-10 encounter days.
 
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ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
You’ve missed the point that anything your martial can conceive of doing is fair game
At a table with that sort of flexibility, mage hand and invisibility, to say nothing of silent image and its upgrades are tremendously powerful. There's really no way around that.

The classes with better imagination tools built in have a massive edge at a table that allows that sort of stuff, and once again most martials fall behind.
 

Oofta

Legend
Eh, I don’t think it is that cut and dried.

Some DMs cut down on encounters for verisimilitude reasons (your 7th level party investigating a small town just happens to come across 8 encounters CR 4 to 10).

Some DMs want to keep the story bits coming quick and snappy, so adding extra encounters to extend the arc is a negative.

Some DMs vary pacing during the campaign, but find that while the standard DMG pacing works for dungeons, it doesn’t work in other circumstances.

Some DMs might be great at creating fun dynamic encounters when they are only creating 3 or 4 of them, but ask them to make 8 in a row and the quality suffers.

In all those cases, holding the DMs to a 6 to 8 encounter adventuring day does lead to encounters that are slogs, while a lighter pacing schedule (that is still quicker than gritty realism) would lead to an improved game.

Also, if a 6 encounter, 2 short rest is your MEDIAN, you are still looking at several 9-10 encounter days.
There are multiple ways around the issues. The encounters don't even have to be particularly linked.

All I can say is I've been doing it since 5E was released. Ultimately I don't see it as an issue inherent to the system, it's an issue with DMs. There have to be some baseline assumptions on how the game works.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Just because 4e didn't do something correctly doesn't mean it can't be done.

In those other games, playing a wizard feels plenty different than playing a burglar. And if you want other examples of more "limited" wizard look at warhammer frpg 2nd ed, where wizard use "color" magic and specialize in one. If you are a fire wizard, you do fire magic... end of story. Gurps is another.

Anyway, what I was saying was not so much "do it like troika and fix D&D" Rather, I was pointing out that playing other systems will make you see the problem in D&D a lot more.

And finally, does a low level caster not feel like a caster in D&D? No. the problem only appears at mid and higher level. So the solution is simple - limit the number of spells a caster can have ready. That way no caster can fix everything.
5e already does that
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Except they don't need to wait till mid & high levels. Like driving a new car off the lot it starts the moment they hit level three. and continues to slow at level six eight & ten. You're suggesting a nerf to casters so you can address a hypothetical problem that only exists in a contrived whiteroom scenario that starts with a quantum spell list & any reason at all to prevent noncasters from using their skills rather than consuming a spell slot.
 
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There are multiple ways around the issues. The encounters don't even have to be particularly linked.

All I can say is I've been doing it since 5E was released. Ultimately I don't see it as an issue inherent to the system, it's an issue with DMs. There have to be some baseline assumptions on how the game works.
look rules are made to stop the worst of dm or player behaviour thus blaming it on dm's is not going to solve anything unless your willing to personally go and correct all these dm.
 

Oofta

Legend
look rules are made to stop the worst of dm or player behaviour thus blaming it on dm's is not going to solve anything unless your willing to personally go and correct all these dm.
So I can't state an opinion? I offer advice and what I do for this on a pretty regular basis.

The dev team had to make assumptions and compromises. No game is perfect but this particular issue is not that hard to work around.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
All I can say is I've been doing it since 5E was released. Ultimately I don't see it as an issue inherent to the system, it's an issue with DMs. There have to be some baseline assumptions on how the game works.
The system doesn't come ought and plainly say that deviating from the suggested rest schedule changes class balance - it should, and offer some alternative rest schedules or resource recovery schemes to maintain that balance for different games. Gritty Realism, for example, doesn't do much if there still happens to be 1-2 encounters per Long rest.
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
The system doesn't come ought and plainly say that deviating from the suggested rest schedule changes class balance - it should, and offer some alternative rest schedules or resource recovery schemes to maintain that balance for different games. Gritty Realism, for example, doesn't do much if there still happens to be 1-2 encounters per Long rest.
There is a section on changing how short as long rests work if you want to use them.
 

TheSword

Legend
Uhm, no it isn't. All your described actions fall squarely outside of existing mechanics, in the same way that jumping to the moon or lifting a castle do.

Their existence as 'options' is not equivalent to explicitly defined spells with mechanical support which take up half the book.
They are within existing mechanics. The PhB explicitly says grapple and shove are not exhaustive. Players can take skill or stat contests to achieve effects. That is in the rules of 5e

1E6FACD2-55D1-4D14-9975-6E6809EFC6ED.jpeg

It’s adjudicated by the DM, but so is everything in 5e.

If you’re frustrated that you don’t have options in combat first look and see if this is an element in your game. If it isn’t maybe think a bit more creatively.

Casters aren’t as good as martials at these abilities because generally they don’t have the athletics or acrobatics to perform them as well. Neither can the benefit from the follow up attacks you can take afterwards.

So the wizard uses mage hand to throw sand in the Orcs face (debatable as it could be considered an attack). Then what does he do to follow up? Go toe to toe with shocking grasp? Mage hand has a 10lb limit which seriously cramps your style when flipping a table.
 

It would be cool if the spells could be "re-skinned" as special abilities.

I've often wondered at preparing a curated spell list that could reasonably be under the umbrella of heroic abilities.
Didn’t Ashley Johnson from Critical Role play a character in SKT’s limited series of play throughs that was basically an artificer whose spells were skinned as little gizmos?
 

DnD Warlord

Adventurer
They are within existing mechanics. The PhB explicitly says grapple and shove are not exhaustive. Players can take skill or stat contests to achieve effects. That is in the rules of 5e

View attachment 137188
It’s adjudicated by the DM, but so is everything in 5e.

If you’re frustrated that you don’t have options in combat first look and see if this is an element in your game. If it isn’t maybe think a bit more creatively.

Casters aren’t as good as martials at these abilities because generally they don’t have the athletics or acrobatics to perform them as well. Neither can the benefit from the follow up attacks you can take afterwards.

So the wizard uses mage hand to throw sand in the Orcs face (debatable as it could be considered an attack). Then what does he do to follow up? Go toe to toe with shocking grasp? Mage hand has a 10lb limit which seriously cramps your style when flipping a table.
What makes a fighter better at athletics or acrobatics then a hexblade or a paliden or a war cleric or even a bald singer? I know rogues get expertise but that seems to not help the fighter much...

in fact many classes get bonus skills fighter don’t get athletics or acrobatics for free so isn’t even training in one a function of background?
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
5e already does that
Except they don't need to wait till mid & high levels. Like driving a new car off the lot it starts the moment they hit level three. and continues to slow at level six eight & ten. You're suggesting a nerf to casters so you can address a hypothetical problem that only exists in a contrived whiteroom scenario that starts with a quantum spell list & any reason at all to prevent noncasters from using their skills rather than consuming a spell slot.
But that's the number of slots, not the number of spell known.

Let's talk about a level 7 wizard. Let's asume that he has found some spells but not a ton (so, 1 per level). Level 7 is definitely "mid level" but it's where spellcasters start being pretty powerful so it's good point to look at. Let's also say he has 18 intelligence.

This wizard's spellbook will have 4 cantrips + 6 starting spells + 12 "level up" spells + 7 "found" spells, for a grand total of 29 spells. Each spell is a tool to fix a "problem" - some challenge or obstacle you can face in your adventures. Sure, the wizard can only prepare 11 of these... but 15 with cantrips. And they have ritual magic. Let's just assume they know 1 ritual per level, and this wizard now has NINETEEN TOOLS in his pockets to fix problems.

Let us make a spell list

Cantrips:
Ray of frost
Light
Minor illusion
Mage hand.

... maybe I should stop here? This loadout is already equal to some of Troika's! magic users! This PC can attack and slow down enemies, make light, make illusions, and pick up things at a distance. If you knew someone in real life with those powers, you would call them AN AWESOME WIZARD.

... but no, let us continue

Level 1
shield
Fog Cloud
disguise self
Ritual: detect magic

Level 2
invisibility
Suggestion
Misty step
Ritual

Level 3

fireball
dispel magic
Fly
Ritual Leomund's Tiny Hut
Ritual Water Breathing. (I decided to put 2 at level 3)

Level 4
wall of fire
Evard's Black Tentacle

Look at the number of things this guy can do! All the problems he can solve! He can fly, deal with magic, protect the camp at night, deal with water adventures, control areas and do damage, mess with the mind of people, pretend to be someone else, teleport short distances, protect himself with a magical shield. this isn't a "fire mage", this is a "do almost anything" mage. And there are still a few more spells in his books that are more "niche" but very useful to have on certain daies.

This isn't some kind of theoretical mage, this could be a real PC with a real spell list. Edit: it's probably not even the best spell list by far.
 
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