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messy's 5e newbie questions thread

MarkB

Hero
25. a ranger with a bow does d8+dex damage. at level 2 he can cast hunter's mark, increasing the damage to d8+dex+d6. at level 3 the colossus slayer ability increases damage to 2d8+dex+d6. with this capability, why do people think the ranger is underpowered?
Hunter's Mark is a spell, not a class feature, and Rangers can cast only a paltry number of spells per day.

It's also a Concentration spell, which means that (a) any Ranger who gets into combat is likely to lose it within a round or two, and (b) if they've got it running, they can't cast any other Concentration spell without losing it.

And a ridiculous proportion of the Ranger's spell list is made up of Concentration spells.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
2. why do we get stats for the underdark elf (drow) but not the underdark dwarf (duergar) or the underdark gnome (svirfneblin)?
They’re in a different book. I think the real question is why Drow are in the PHB instead of the EEPG, and I think the answer is Drizzt.

3. why isn't there a skill for constitution? it could be called stamina.
What would such a skill be used for?

4. i see there's different damage rolled when using a versatile weapon two-handed. does this mean the 1.5 strength bonus is no longer added to damage? as i recall, in 4e the damage bonus was a flat +1.
Correct.

5. what happened to the paladin's divine grace?
I’m not sure what you mean.

6. why do characters get an ability score improvement at level 19 rather than 20? is this an attempt to avoid dead levels?
I think it’s so that the classes can all have unique and interesting capstone abilities at 20.

7. why do fighters get 2 extra ability score improvements (at levels 6 and 14) and rogues get 1 extra (at level 10)?
...because those are features of those classes? I feel like I’m missing something that’s going into this question.

8. why are the sections on preparing and casting spells so complex? suddenly, i'm longing for the good old days of simple, vancian casting.
I’m guessing you played 3.5? Everyone is a sorcerer who can change their list of known spells every day.

9. why are there so many different ability-use systems (at will, regain after short rest, regain after short rest or long rest, point pool use, superiority dice, etc.)?
5th edition went through a pretty rigorous public play testing and survey process, and surveys revealed high demand for a variety of different resource systems.

10. can finesse weapons be used two-handed? would there be any benefit?
There’s nothing stopping you from wielding any weapon in two hands, but there is no special benefit for doing so unless it has the Versatile property. There are no weapons with both Finesse and Versatile in the PHB, nor are there any with both Finesse and Two-handed. Technically there’s no reason a DM couldn’t make up a custom weapon with either of those combinations of properties.

11. i'm a little confused about short rest healing. let's say bob the 8th level fighter takes a short rest. he can roll 8d10 healing during this rest, and these dice are replenished after a long rest. is that correct?
More or less. Bob has 8 of a resource called Hit Dice. On a short rest, Bob can spend any number of his Hit Dice. For each Hit Die Bob spends, he rolls a d8, adds his Constitution modifier to the result, and regains that many hit points. On a long rest, Bob regains all of his Hit points and 4 Hit Dice.

12. what's the math behind advantage/disadvantage? does it correspond to a simple +2/-2? or is it way more complicated than that?
Way more complicated. It works on a bell curve based on the number needed on the die to succeed. If you need a natural 10 or 11, Dis/Advantage is roughly equivalent to -/+5 If you need a natural 20 or 1, Dis/Advantage is worth a little less than -/+2 (I think).

13. why don't fear effects target charisma saves? one aspect of charisma is confidence, after all.
Because they target Wisdom saves. Why WotC decided to have them target Wisdom
Saves instead of Charisma is anyone’s guess. I think they wanted Dex, Con, and Wis saves to be more common than Str, Int, and Cha saves.

14. do critical hits need to be confirmed? i see no mention of this, so i really hope it was dropped...
Nope, it was dropped.

15. what's with all the omitted spells? no prismatic sphere?
They’re only “omitted” if you assume that Because a spell existed in a previous edition, it must exist in all subsequent editions.

16. i've heard there is a pdf of revised classes available for download somewhere. where can this be found?
I’ve never heard of that.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
23. multiclassing seems to follow the 3e model, but when leveling up in a new class you only gain proficiency in some of the new class' armor, weapons, skills. does this make multiclassing even weaker than it was?
Yes, intentionally so. It was felt that 3rd edition punished players for not multiclassing. The default in 5e is that the majority of characters will be single classed. Hence optional rule.

However, the caster level stacking is a bit more user friendly than 3rd edition.

24. is the battle master fighter the 5e equivalent of the 4e warlord?
It's intended to fill the same story niche. It is functionally different though. 5e is simplified over 4e and doesn't include some of the functionality.

25. a ranger with a bow does d8+dex damage. at level 2 he can cast hunter's mark, increasing the damage to d8+dex+d6. at level 3 the colossus slayer ability increases damage to 2d8+dex+d6. with this capability, why do people think the ranger is underpowered?
It's more a case of people missing their decent combat pets and strong favoured enemy buffs than a real weakness.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
23. multiclassing seems to follow the 3e model, but when leveling up in a new class you only gain proficiency in some of the new class' armor, weapons, skills. does this make multiclassing even weaker than it was?
This has been a trend since 3.5 stepped back a bit from multiclassing in D&D 3.0. A big problem is classes start with a bunch of initial abilities that any new character belonging to that class should have. Weapon proficiencies, armor proficiencies, and class core abilities. Anyone multiclassing into that class would get them all and in 3.0, a lot of class abilities were heavily front-loaded. 3.5 spread them out a bit more over initial levels so you couldn't get too much value out of a 1 level dip into the class. Star Wars Saga Edition took things a step further and multiclassing into a new class only got you one of the new class's starting feats rather than all of them.
So I'd say it's an ongoing trend - balancing multiclassing so that the sudden influx of a new class's level can't involve an outsized growth in a character's power, either as a spike or in breadth.
 

David Howery

Adventurer
I've read through the 5E PHB, and I have to admit that initiative seems perplexing to me... apparently, you roll a Dex check... and then what? And no one can ever tie? Why not?
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I've read through the 5E PHB, and I have to admit that initiative seems perplexing to me... apparently, you roll a Dex check... and then what? And no one can ever tie? Why not?
You're looking at page 189 in the PHB? That describes the procedure pretty clearly. But the general idea of avoiding a tie is so that there's no ambiguity about what happens when 2 competing (or even contradictory) actions happen at the same time. If ties are resolved away, there's always a particular order in which to adjudicate the result of actions.
 

David Howery

Adventurer
the part I'm not getting is the Dex check... AIUI, ability checks are done against a Difficulty Class... how does this work for initiative?
 

MarkB

Hero
the part I'm not getting is the Dex check... AIUI, ability checks are done against a Difficulty Class... how does this work for initiative?
Not all checks are done against a Difficulty Class. There are also opposed checks, where the number to beat is set by another character's skill check. Initiative is an opposed check in which every creature participating in the combat rolls. Once they've rolled, you write down their results and then resolve characters' turns in order, starting with whoever rolled the highest and working down.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Funny I was expecting this to be full of “How” questions, but it’s all “Why” questions. Or just straight up opinion.

Which doesn’t strike me as having much to do with being, or not being, a newbie.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
ah, the 'contest' rules. So, does it come down to 'roll a D20 and add your Dex modifier?'
Basically. There is a Feat that gives you +5 to Initiative, and I think there’s a couple subclass features that can give you Advantage on the check, but for the most part it’s just roll +Dex, take turns in descending order. Unless you use the optional Speed Factor rules from the DMG, but not many groups do that.
 

MarkB

Hero
Basically. There is a Feat that gives you +5 to Initiative, and I think there’s a couple subclass features that can give you Advantage on the check, but for the most part it’s just roll +Dex, take turns in descending order. Unless you use the optional Speed Factor rules from the DMG, but not many groups do that.
Also, the Bard's Jack of all Trades ability lets you add half your proficiency bonus to the roll, since it is an ability check.
 
24. is the battle master fighter the 5e equivalent of the 4e warlord?
The Battle Master can include warlords, but it is much broader than that in both crunch and fluff. Most of their abilities have nothing to do with assisting allies and are just direct personal combat tricks.

They are great at representing:
-Swashbuckler/Duelists. Maneuvers include parries, disarms, trips, mobility, etc
-Samurais (though there is now an official samurai in another book). Tool proficiency and the ability to size up an opponent.

They also fulfill a fluff-neutral role as a more complex fighter than the intentionally simple Champion.

A subclass that is more directly evocative of an inspiring warlord is the Purple Dragon Knight (setting specific name; the non-setting name is Banneret) in the Sword Coast Adventures Guide. I find that subclass very weak though.
 

Bolares

Explorer
For the question about variant classes... the only one to come out is the variant Ranger published as a playtest in Unearthed Arcana. Unearthed Arcana is non-official free document published (semi) regularly in WotC's website with some playtest rules. If you search DnD''s page for the Unearthed Arcana Artivles you will find this "Revised Ranger" an many more player options for free. Just remember they're playtest material and not always balanced.
 

David Howery

Adventurer
Basically. There is a Feat that gives you +5 to Initiative, and I think there’s a couple subclass features that can give you Advantage on the check, but for the most part it’s just roll +Dex, take turns in descending order. Unless you use the optional Speed Factor rules from the DMG, but not many groups do that.
okay. Ya know, this is one of those cases where it would have been simpler to say 'roll 1D20 and add your Dex modifier'. The problem with calling it an ability check is that it implies you can fail it... and how the heck do you fail initiative? Sure, you can lose and go last, but fail? I was picturing the DM saying, "Sorry, you failed initiative, so you can't do anything. Better luck next round." :)
 

Bolares

Explorer
okay. Ya know, this is one of those cases where it would have been simpler to say 'roll 1D20 and add your Dex modifier'. The problem with calling it an ability check is that it implies you can fail it... and how the heck do you fail initiative? Sure, you can lose and go last, but fail? I was picturing the DM saying, "Sorry, you failed initiative, so you can't do anything. Better luck next round." :)
But if they don't call it an ability check effects that care about ability check won't affect your initiative roles. One example is the bard's "Jack of all trades" ability. It gives you a bonus equal to half your proficiency bonus to non proficient ability checks, and Initiative is one of those.

Edit: If I understand your problem correctly the issue is that you misunderstoodhow ability checks work... they are not always against a set DC...
 

David Howery

Adventurer
Edit: If I understand your problem correctly the issue is that you misunderstoodhow ability checks work... they are not always against a set DC...
yeah, I went and looked through the appropriate pages, and it doesn't really make it clear that initiative is one of those 'contest' checks. I think I prefer the old method of 'each side rolls 1d6'... may not be as 'realistic', but dang, is it ever easier...
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
yeah, I went and looked through the appropriate pages, and it doesn't really make it clear that initiative is one of those 'contest' checks. I think I prefer the old method of 'each side rolls 1d6'... may not be as 'realistic', but dang, is it ever easier...
There’s nothing realistic about any initiative system.
 

ART!

Explorer
12. what's the math behind advantage/disadvantage? does it correspond to a simple +2/-2? or is it way more complicated than that?
There's math out there, and/or what others have posted here, but here's how I think about it:

Proficiency increases your numerical result, including the possibility of results above 20.

Advantage increases your chances of a desired numerical result by letting you roll twice, but your results will not be above 20 (assuming no other modifiers).

I see proficiency as an ability that is potentially super-normal, whereas advantage is just a knack for not failing.
 

messy

Explorer
let's call david's initiative question 26...

27. there seem to be three kinds of spellcasters:

wisdom-based/can prepare spell from a large list- cleric, druid, paladin, ranger.
charisma-based/can prepare from a small list the player chooses- bard, sorcerer, warlock.
intelligence-based/can prep from a personal spellbook- wizard.

why did they deviate from this with the arcane trickster and eldritch knight (intelligence-based/can prepare from a small list the player chooses)?

28. can a warlock with pact of the blade choose any weapon to create? so he/she could create a greatsword?

29. sleep doesn't seem to allow a saving throw to resist its effects. am i reading this right?

30. does the writing at the bottom of the (beautiful) tapestry on page 73 mean something? or is it gibberish?

31. while it's good to see that paladins aren't restricted to lawful good (or any other alignment), it seems that the tenets of all paladin oaths are geared toward good characters. am i missing something?

32. is there a fan-friendly spell list somewhere? flipping back and forth from spell lists to spell descriptions is a bit of a hassle.
 

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