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

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I think all three of the reasons explain why it is much better to allow DM and their players to set the tone for their table rather than a one size fits all rule setting.

The issue is there is little guidance for genre based adjudication.

It would be a book I wrote if I had time.
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
This age old debate is pretty divisive. To the degree the people wanting to turn warriors into casters get what they want, they will force people like me out of their games.

What is divisive is framing this as "Them and Us", and casting yourself as a victim forced out of games. That's like saying you are "forced out" of a movie because you don't like one of the actors. Yes, the makers made choices, and you don't like the results, but there's no deliberate force being actively applied here to remove you from the tent. It isn't like, "Hey, let's cast Gilbert Gottfried! That'll really cheese off this Emerikol guy, and he'll have to leave the theater!"

Instead, we should see this as simply a result of how the world changes over time. If your wants and desires do not similarly change, that's okay, but you can't expect you and the game to go together forever.

Folks are not entitled to a D&D that meets their specific desires. So, no wrong is being done unto a person if what is produced isn't their cup of tea.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Sure. But wizards don’t need to get their hands dirty and can do it easier, so the ability to pull a curtain down on someone’s head isn’t that practical. Particularly if it involves standing next to the target.

As usual the argument relies on white room theory crafting not practical sense.

So martials get these awesome combat options but casters don't need to bother with them because "why should they get their hands dirty?" well OK.

Players aren't idiots. If they see the DM allowing good results on opposed checks they'll likely adapt. So the Wizard player will firebolt the curtain next to the baddie, dropping it on him and entangling to give the fighter optimal hitting chance (to pound the baddie into goo). And the Wizard didn't even get his hands dirty.

But this is the issue :

1. The opposed check mechanic (for fun results) is Ill defined and requires a DM both willing and able to implement it well. That's not a small hurdle ;

2. Assuming you have such a DM, casters can take full advantage of the mechanic too AND they have magic on top.
 

DnD Warlord

Adventurer
I will give you a new play his name is spelled M E for me.

I do not want to dm proof the game more teach fools how to do it properly as learning is hard when you do not get to game often.
and you still can't tell me why what I want is wrong, why should we have a more dynamic and interesting fighter?
I will see you and raise you my writing group

since for a year we have not seen each other (actually Over a year now) one of the guys who used to play d&d in late 70s and early 80s suggested we start a Roll20 game once a month... 3 of the 8 of us are already playing 5e... DM +1 more used to play pre 3e... of the three other players 1 has 0 rp expereince and 1 only larped WOD in 90s and 1 only played call of Cthulhu and she only did so once or twice a year at a writing con...

so we had (CoC player) playing a (now 2nd level hafling rouge) say “hey I have a torch in my off hand, I should light the ghoul on fire”. Half the players where excited that was going to be great... me and another who know 5e well shared a look...

the DM made him make a str attack (way less then the dex attack that dagger he had would have done) and he did hit... he then was told it would do 1d6 fire and the ghoul would take another d6 of fire every round(we all made a joke about keeping him warm the rest of his life).
The problem came when everyone realized what is 5e players already knew... 1d6 now and 1d6 next round and 1d6 is less over all then 1d4+4+1d6. As such a lot of people felt that made it a “punishment “ to try to do something that should have been awesome...

later that same night we fought a suit of animated armor. The teifling fighter said “wait it’s armor with no body in it can’t I just unlatch it and take it apart?” And sent the whole game into a 15 minute hold while the DM tried to come up with an answer...

Back in game 1 (at level 1) the Druid used speak with animals to pretty much solve the entire adventure...

this lead to in 2 levels of play over 3 1/2 sessions for multi new players to ask similar questions... why don’t fighters and rogues have special abilities that just work like a Druid or sorcerer. One longtime 5e player said at level 10+ the rouge will have expertise and reliable talent and the DM admired he didn’t think we would play much in double digit levels...
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
What is divisive is framing this as "Them and Us", and casting yourself as a victim forced out of games.
My primary point is that on this issue there isn't that much room for compromise. What one side wants the other hates. So it's divisive. That was the point. And when you change a game that is one way into a game that is the other way, you are "forcing" out those who consider the changes unacceptable. I don't see this as all that controversial a statement.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I will see you and raise you my writing group

since for a year we have not seen each other (actually Over a year now) one of the guys who used to play d&d in late 70s and early 80s suggested we start a Roll20 game once a month... 3 of the 8 of us are already playing 5e... DM +1 more used to play pre 3e... of the three other players 1 has 0 rp expereince and 1 only larped WOD in 90s and 1 only played call of Cthulhu and she only did so once or twice a year at a writing con...

so we had (CoC player) playing a (now 2nd level hafling rouge) say “hey I have a torch in my off hand, I should light the ghoul on fire”. Half the players where excited that was going to be great... me and another who know 5e well shared a look...

the DM made him make a str attack (way less then the dex attack that dagger he had would have done) and he did hit... he then was told it would do 1d6 fire and the ghoul would take another d6 of fire every round(we all made a joke about keeping him warm the rest of his life).
The problem came when everyone realized what is 5e players already knew... 1d6 now and 1d6 next round and 1d6 is less over all then 1d4+4+1d6. As such a lot of people felt that made it a “punishment “ to try to do something that should have been awesome...

later that same night we fought a suit of animated armor. The teifling fighter said “wait it’s armor with no body in it can’t I just unlatch it and take it apart?” And sent the whole game into a 15 minute hold while the DM tried to come up with an answer...

Back in game 1 (at level 1) the Druid used speak with animals to pretty much solve the entire adventure...

this lead to in 2 levels of play over 3 1/2 sessions for multi new players to ask similar questions... why don’t fighters and rogues have special abilities that just work like a Druid or sorcerer. One longtime 5e player said at level 10+ the rouge will have expertise and reliable talent and the DM admired he didn’t think we would play much in double digit levels...

Thanks for sharing an actual play experience! It's a nice counter to those calling this position white room nonsense.

As for reliable talent, assuming a group gets that far AND has a rogue with enough levels? It still runs into the problem of needing a permissive and flexible DM to be fully effective.

And on top of that there's a decently vocal crowd (judging from a thread a bit back) that feel reliable talent is just too good and needs to be nerfed (while completely ignoring that by that level casters are rocking 6th level, world changing, spells).
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
It's not about turning warriors into casters by default.

It's about giving martial characters options for certain groups or creating a separate class that does for those players.
Yes but these options often look like spells to me. They have limits on usage without any explanation in fiction. 5e's second wind for example and 4e's daily and encounter martial maneuvers. So when you use up some resource that without a magical explanation doesn't exist, it doesn't sit well with some portion of the playerbase.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Yes but these options often look like spells to me. They have limits on usage without any explanation in fiction. 5e's second wind for example and 4e's daily and encounter martial maneuvers. So when you use up some resource that without a magical explanation doesn't exist, it doesn't sit well with some portion of the playerbase.
Stamina.

It's Stamina.

D&D is one of the few major mainstream fantasy games without a stamina mechanic.
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
Stamina.

It's Stamina.

D&D is one of the few major mainstream fantasy games without a stamina mechanic.
That might, maybe, work for encounter "powers" though mapping powers to stamina still seems like a big fail to me in many cases. It doesn't work for daily powers though.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Yes but these options often look like spells to me. They have limits on usage without any explanation in fiction. 5e's second wind for example and 4e's daily and encounter martial maneuvers. So when you use up some resource that without a magical explanation doesn't exist, it doesn't sit well with some portion of the playerbase.

Whereas to me, second wind is a great non-Caster mechanic. It easily simulates taking a second to refocus and gain back some of your energy. And can't be done again (for in game benefit) without taking a longer moment to rest up (a short rest). Fits perfectly into the fiction for me.

But sure, I see how that's not a satisfactory answer to some people.
 

Oofta

Legend
This age old debate is pretty divisive. To the degree the people wanting to turn warriors into casters get what they want, they will force people like me out of their games. Despite what has been done to appease them in 5e, they aren't satisfied. 4e was perhaps the fruition of their philosophy. They want pure martials without any resort to magic to do things that the rest of us think can't be done without magic. We don't want spell like powers being performed by martials but everyone just winks and says it's possible without magic.
I agree with a lot of this. I want an option to have truly mundane PCs. Even if that means that in whiteroom spreadsheet analysis they are (GASP!!!!) 0.5 DPR less per round based on a specific set of assumptions

At this point, I don't really see how both groups can be happy with the same game. 5e has already pushed me out and it is unsatisfying to the other side. WotC is trying, somewhat successfully as 5e has been successful, to play both sides of the fence. The trend has been away from me and towards them but again it's never enough it seems until the differences between fighters and wizards is purely what things are named.

There has always been this dichotomy. It used to be worse - before 4E came along casters completely dominated the game at higher levels. In 4E (until essentials) they just gave everyone similar structure of AEDU powers and there was IMHO very little room to run a "mundane" PC.

With 5E the gap in power is less than it was, but there is no perfect solution. PCs that manipulate magic are always going to be different. Whether they're more powerful depends on too many factors, and to be honest I don't care. Casters don't completely dominate games I've been in or run (even up to 20th level).

There is no "martials vs casters" when I've played. It's a group with different strengths and weaknesses trying to overcome obstacles with whatever tools they have. The fighter may not be flashy, but they're the energizer bunny that frequently take the brunt of the attacks. Casters have the dazzle but without support they tend to be shooting stars that burn out quickly. Both support each other, they're a team competing against the monsters not each other.
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
the DM made him make a str attack (way less then the dex attack that dagger he had would have done) and he did hit... he then was told it would do 1d6 fire and the ghoul would take another d6 of fire every round(we all made a joke about keeping him warm the rest of his life).
The problem came when everyone realized what is 5e players already knew... 1d6 now and 1d6 next round and 1d6 is less over all then 1d4+4+1d6. As such a lot of people felt that made it a “punishment “ to try to do something that should have been awesome...
Was there a reason he thought a simple torch would be more effective than a sword/dagger. I'd understand if he was fighting a troll/twig blight/etc. But if he was fighting a creature with no innate vulnerability to fire, wouldn't it make sense that a stick with a relatively cool flame wouldn't do as much as a dagger expertly sliced into vulnerable areas?

Regardless, its still enough to kill a commoner guaranteed, but its not enough to kill a ghoul who isn't specifically weak to flames.
 

Not going to engage with ridiculousness. If you are equating pulling a curtain down on someone’s head and flying to the moon, you’re not looking to understand but ridicule.

Spells have always been very specifically described. When you are altering the laws of physics it helps to be very precise. That’s why spells only do precisely what they say they do. It’s also the reason why there the 76 pages that you get so hung up. You don’t have to read them you know.

There are about a dozen actions a fighter can take in combat. The designers sensibly didn’t try to do what pathfinder did and game out every single possible action because they have GMs. Then they expressly encouraged GMs to use skill contests to adjudicate these.
"Most spells can be mimicked through other means with enough time and effort"

"There are about a dozen actions a fighter can take in combat."

"When you are altering the laws of physics it helps to be very precise."

why??

You’ve clearly established that spells are not so different from what martials can do, and that nonspecific DM adjudication is adequate to address anything a martial might attempt. If spells are so similar, why do they need special treatment?
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
There is no "martials vs casters" when I've played. It's a group with different strengths and weaknesses trying to overcome obstacles with whatever tools they have. The fighter may not be flashy, but they're the energizer bunny that frequently take the brunt of the attacks. Casters have the dazzle but without support they tend to be shooting stars that burn out quickly. Both support each other, they're a team competing against the monsters not each other.
What is funny to me is that it is my fighter players that hated 4e the most. It wasn't the wizards trying to keep the fighters down. For my flavor of game, it is the people who play those classes that are martials that object.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
That might, maybe, work for encounter "powers" though mapping powers to stamina still seems like a big fail to me in many cases. It doesn't work for daily powers though.
The question is who wanted daily martial abilities?

I feel like only the 4e designers wanted that. Many 4e fans would trade them for encounter powers.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
The question is who wanted daily martial abilities?

I feel like only the 4e designers wanted that. Many 4e fans would trade them for encounter powers.

I think a lot of us would trade them for sufficiently awesome at will stuff. Speaking personally I find 2d20 Conan stuff sufficiently awesome as well as Pathfinder Second Edition stuff. I just want martial characters that are interesting to play and feel like they are capable of really contending with the sort of adversaries the game pits them up against. Daily or encounter resource rationing is not required.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
I feel like only the 4e designers wanted that. Many 4e fans would trade them for encounter powers.
I think encounter powers (and at will stuff) are more interesting for a martial combatant, sure. However: this will, indirectly, lead back to the short/long rest ratio. Which, in a way, echos 40 year old debates about Prepared Slots/Vancian casting and Spell Points (PSPs).

The occasional long recharge technique isn't too bad (stab through self to hit grappling enemy, that sort of thing), but that doesn't need to be a daily power to be rarely used - it can just do damage.
 

DnD Warlord

Adventurer
Was there a reason he thought a simple torch would be more effective than a sword/dagger. I'd understand if he was fighting a troll/twig blight/etc. But if he was fighting a creature with no innate vulnerability to fire, wouldn't it make sense that a stick with a relatively cool flame wouldn't do as much as a dagger expertly sliced into vulnerable areas?

Regardless, its still enough to kill a commoner guaranteed, but its not enough to kill a ghoul who isn't specifically weak to flames.
Well he doesn’t know what is and is not vunrable to fire (new to game) and thought dead body in rotted dry cloths would burn easy.

edit: the WOD larper freaked when they learned about paralyzing claws... and the new players where all super shocked

even the 5e vet that I am forgot elves where immune until I read the Roll20 chat on the claw attack
 

DnD Warlord

Adventurer
I think encounter powers (and at will stuff) are more interesting for a martial combatant, sure. However: this will, indirectly, lead back to the short/long rest ratio. Which, in a way, echos 40 year old debates about Prepared Slots/Vancian casting and Spell Points (PSPs).

The occasional long recharge technique isn't too bad (stab through self to hit grappling enemy, that sort of thing), but that doesn't need to be a daily power to be rarely used - it can just do damage.
I am big on the warlock chaise just refilled and reworked

get 2 short rest “martial exploits” but know a small handful known from a large list that is level locked (maybe not like spells but like prerequisite 5th level on some and 11th level on some and 15 or 17th level some really big ones) a few at will abilities and choices (like invocation) that give you static bonuses or new at wills or new encounter or maybe even a supernatural power or two

at level 11+ daily big world changing supernatural absolutes and a 3rd use of the short rest abilities.

Ex. Cleave and tide of iron from 4e as at wills a super leap or a monkey climb invocation and something like 3.5 mountain hammer as one of those short rest abilities.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
Well, in a way the Hexblade already sort of does this (short rest slots for smite or for being hard to hit as a technique), but you've got a bunch of re-flavoring to do so eldritch smite and crown of stars feel martial. Well, and utterly replacing the specter - what an awful level 6 feature.
 

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