D&D 5E Mike Mearls Interview with the Escapist

Agamon

Adventurer
Yeah, if a player tries to be a rules lawyer and use the phrase, "and I quote," well, here's a DM quote for you: "Rocks fall, everyone dies." :)

I came to the same conclusion in the Hiding thread. Let people use their own ruling on how it works, rather than try to come up with the one final definitive rule. It's obvious that casual language rather than tech manual language was used for 5e. And I like that. Less referencing, more playing.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

drjones

Explorer
One player actually asked me since any effects that apply to you can apply to your mount, "can my mount also attack with smite spells (non-divine smite). I told him to just stop being ridiculous.

Yes your horse can cast smite, it can also wear your armor and romance the princess. In fact the rest of the party prefers to hang out with your horse and you get the feeling it has been telling unflattering stories about you behind your back.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Yes your horse can cast smite, it can also wear your armor and romance the princess. In fact the rest of the party prefers to hang out with your horse and you get the feeling it has been telling unflattering stories about you behind your back.

Reminds me of the recent premier of Dr. Who.

"I was talking to your horse."
 

variant

Adventurer
One player actually asked me since any effects that apply to you can apply to your mount, "can my mount also attack with smite spells (non-divine smite). I told him to just stop being ridiculous.

maximus.jpg
 
Last edited:

gyor

Legend
You mount can't smite because it has its own turn, which means when it attacks you can't use your bonus action to activate tue spell.

Still otherwise I'd have no problem with channeling a smite through its hooves during an attack.

You could on the other hand cast Divine Favour say on yourself and your mounts natural attacks would benifit, gaining a d4 radiant damage.

Haste is another great spell to share, both you and the mount get an extra attack, plus your mounts speed ends up insane.

Or the Fey Knight's Tree Stride, you and your horse teleporting between trees.
 

Libramarian

Adventurer
:confused:

News to me.

Since the game is an ongoing thing and no winner or loser, playing to find out what happens is what you have left to keep the experience engaging.

Good sandbox adventures may take a bit of experience to create but presenting opportunity and a scenario as opposed to a scripted series of events is quite natural. It doesn't take thick book of material to show someone new to tabletop gaming how that is done.

The Moldvay basic DM section, in only a few pages, describes how to construct a basic scenario, pair it with a setting, and fill in the details. I read that with no prior DMing experience at all as an 11 year old and it seemed fairly straightforward and not unnatural at all.
I mean everyone playing to find out what happens, including the DM (as opposed to the DM writing the story beforehand). I think the adventure design procedures in Moldvay's Basic D&D are the best yet written but would need to be expanded and recontextualized for 5e. Most new DMs today have a video game background and need to unlearn certain devices of video game scenario design in order to learn good tabletop scenario design. Mearls' fascination with "invisible" rules and following the zeitgeist concerns me. The classic Gygaxian style of adventure is on life support right now and could easily die depending on what extent the designers decide they don't want to "tell people what to do with D&D" anymore.

That being said I felt positive about other things mentioned in this interview.
That's not my experience. The first 20 or so published modules* I used (they weren't called adventures) presented locations, foes, NPCs, and maybe some environmental effects. The rest was up to me. It wasn't daunting or difficult. When PCs interact with monsters, NPCs, and dangerous environments, interesting things tend to happen. And for every published module I used, I made up one, using the same model of setting, maps, foes, and PCs and letting the story happen organically.

It wasn't until I bought the Rahasia module in 1984 that I saw the first scripted adventure. By then I had been DMing for five years and run dozens of published and homebrewed adventures. And Rahasia was like no other module I had ever seen. The story was already written! That seemed so :):):):)ed up. Even though I was still only in 15, and money was tight, I set aside Rahasia and never used it. When it became apparent that the scripted adventure was the new default model, I stopped buying published adventures altogether and made my own content. I didn't buy another published adventure for over a decade.

So if all you've ever seen is railroads, they may seen like the natural adventure mode. But they seemed like a unwelcome aberration to me the first time I came across one.

* Including In Search of the Unknown, White Plume Mountain, Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, The Caverns of Thracia, Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, and other modules now regarded as classics.

The sandbox adventure certainly can seem natural if it's supported by laser-focused rulebooks and 20 official adventures all in the same style, and those new to the game either have a background in wargaming or no gaming background at all (rather than a background with modern video games), but that hasn't been the case for a very long time. The first D&D adventure I ran was the Scourge of the Slavelords fixup "supermodule" and that was already past the sandbox era and into the era continuing today where every adventure must have a heroic quest even if the hook is obtuse and nobody at the table really cares much about it.

The problem with kids today (I realize how this sounds) is that they're coming to D&D quite certain that they know what an RPG is, from video games and MMORPGs. They need to unlearn some of these notions, which is always harder than learning from a blank slate, and they need to do so with less focused rulebooks and much less published adventure support, and with a guy running D&D who would rather they tell him what D&D should be like rather than he tell them.
 

The problem with kids today (I realize how this sounds) is that they're coming to D&D quite certain that they know what an RPG is, from video games and MMORPGs. They need to unlearn some of these notions, which is always harder than learning from a blank slate, and they need to do so with less focused rulebooks and much less published adventure support, and with a guy running D&D who would rather they tell him what D&D should be like rather than he tell them.

That may be true. But the massive success of Skyrim shows there's plenty of appetite out there for sandbox RPGs. WotC just needs to get ahead of the curve and stop chasing Paizo's model. One of the reasons adventure paths work so well with Pathfinder is the game itself is so crunchy and difficult to DM, that there's not much energy and mindspace left over for improvisation and sandbox play. With the plot and events completely handled by the AP author, a Pathfinder DM can focus all his energy on running the mechanics of the game (though it's worth noting that one of Paizo's most popular APs was Kingmaker, so maybe even Paizo fans want to hop off the rails now and then). With a lighter rules-set, 5E has more leeway to put adventure and campaign management in the hands of the DM.

And I don't think DMs need to be explicitly taught how to run a setting-based adventure. They just need top-notch examples of the format. That could mean updating classics (which the 5E playtest team has done already with Isle of Dread and other conversions). Even better would be to publish a new setting-based adventure that new players can make their own.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
This interview helped me twig to one of the things I'm not a fan of about the HP Threshold effect:

It assumes you're going to be fighting the things before you sleep 'em.

Meanwhile, those who want a more subtle application of the spell are a little out in the cold. Someone who just wants to sleep the ogre before they rush in? Nah. Sleep is a combat-ending spell, not a subtle spell for encounter evasion!

But the description of the spell like Flesh to Stone makes me think that this might be a more satisfying way to track it. So I whipped up this. It's not as elegant as FtS, but I think it captures the basic idea -- a spell you can cast from hiding to put a sentry to sleep.
 

This interview helped me twig to one of the things I'm not a fan of about the HP Threshold effect:

It assumes you're going to be fighting the things before you sleep 'em.

Meanwhile, those who want a more subtle application of the spell are a little out in the cold. Someone who just wants to sleep the ogre before they rush in? Nah. Sleep is a combat-ending spell, not a subtle spell for encounter evasion!
When you face the ogre as a tough scary fight or boss monster than a single spell from a single character shouldn't end the fight.
But when you face an ogre as a guard it's not likely to have boss monster hp, so it should be taken down with sleep. Casting sleep as a 3rd level spell should do it. At that point it's fine if one person takes him down.

The difference being in the one instance, sleep is still effective but requires the entire party working together first. Rather than sleep just not working on boss monsters.
 

Agamon

Adventurer
This interview helped me twig to one of the things I'm not a fan of about the HP Threshold effect:

It assumes you're going to be fighting the things before you sleep 'em.

Meanwhile, those who want a more subtle application of the spell are a little out in the cold. Someone who just wants to sleep the ogre before they rush in? Nah. Sleep is a combat-ending spell, not a subtle spell for encounter evasion!

Sure it is, just cast it at higher level, when bypassing an encounter with an ogre makes sense. Unless you think it's cool for a 1st level party to put to sleep any encounter they come across, regardless of how tough it is?
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top