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Missed session catch-up XP

Xetheral

Explorer
[MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION]

I can fully accept that in your particular style of play, lower-level characters can still meaningfully contribute. However, I don't think that holds true for all styles of play. Here are some examples of playstyles where I suspect lower-level characters have a harder time contributing meaningfully:

  • Games with fewer, harder encounters. If an encounter is difficult enough that it has a decent probability of being fatal for a higher-level character, the odds of death skyrocket for a lower-level character. In an extreme case, the minimum damage roll for an opponent might be high enough to instantly kill the lower-level character by doing damage of greater than twice their HP.
  • Games without predesigned encounters. If encounters result mainly from extrapolating the results of the IC actions of the characters, rather than as the result of deliberate predesign by the DM, encounter parameters (number and strength of opposition, encounter terrain, presence of noncombatants, etc.) become much more variable. In such "organic" encounters low-level characters might find it harder to reliably adopt tactics to prevent becoming the target of an attack.
  • Games where combat tactics are part of roleplaying. The tactics you've described for low-level characters to survive/contribute (avoiding becoming a target, careful control of range, using Dodge and Help) may be OOC optimal, but will not be IC for all low-level PCs. As a simple example, a low-level Barbarian who has a backstory as a tribal champion isn't likely to IC adopt any of the tactics you've described. This is particularly true at tables with strict rules against metagaming where the character doesn't know they're lower-level. Sure, after a few rounds of combat a smart and adaptive low-level character can infer that they are outclassed in a particular encounter and switch to the tactics you suggest in place of their usual fighting style, but they might not survive long enough to gain that information IC.
 

iserith

Explorer
Games with fewer, harder encounters. If an encounter is difficult enough that it has a decent probability of being fatal for a higher-level character, the odds of death skyrocket for a lower-level character. In an extreme case, the minimum damage roll for an opponent might be high enough to instantly kill the lower-level character by doing damage of greater than twice their HP.
You're right to point out the "extreme" nature of that case you cite as an example as in my experience death by massive damage is practically impossible once the character has a couple levels, provided the player(s) employs a modicum of tactics. A game with fewer, harder encounters also means that the lower-level character is definitely leveling up very quickly, once or more per encounter even. If it is a problem, which I would say is debatable, it's a problem for a vanishingly small length of time.

Games without predesigned encounters. If encounters result mainly from extrapolating the results of the IC actions of the characters, rather than as the result of deliberate predesign by the DM, encounter parameters (number and strength of opposition, encounter terrain, presence of noncombatants, etc.) become much more variable. In such "organic" encounters low-level characters might find it harder to reliably adopt tactics to prevent becoming the target of an attack.
Knowing that, one can imagine the player acts accordingly to avoid an undesirable outcome.

Games where combat tactics are part of roleplaying. The tactics you've described for low-level characters to survive/contribute (avoiding becoming a target, careful control of range, using Dodge and Help) may be OOC optimal, but will not be IC for all low-level PCs. As a simple example, a low-level Barbarian who has a backstory as a tribal champion isn't likely to IC adopt any of the tactics you've described. This is particularly true at tables with strict rules against metagaming where the character doesn't know they're lower-level. Sure, after a few rounds of combat a smart and adaptive low-level character can infer that they are outclassed in a particular encounter and switch to the tactics you suggest in place of their usual fighting style, but they might not survive long enough to gain that information IC.
The character does what the player says it does for any reason the player establishes. And it is exceedingly easy to justify why a character of any stripe might do anything, leave alone do something that preserves its own life, which is a basic drive. "Your character wouldn't have done that! He would have rushed in to his death! My immersion is shattered!" is simply not a reasonable thing to say to someone else in my view.

I would add that the first two bullet points are not foreign to my "style of play" either and likely common to most people at least some of the time. Further, I'd encourage you to define what you mean by "meaningfully contribute" here as some appear to think that means doing the same damage as a higher-level character when that is only a single, narrow metric (and not, I would say, a reliable one even among same-level PCs).

Out of curiosity, do you have any practical experience with characters of disparate levels in D&D 5e?
 

Oofta

Explorer
[MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION]

I can fully accept that in your particular style of play, lower-level characters can still meaningfully contribute. However, I don't think that holds true for all styles of play. Here are some examples of playstyles where I suspect lower-level characters have a harder time contributing meaningfully:

  • Games with fewer, harder encounters. If an encounter is difficult enough that it has a decent probability of being fatal for a higher-level character, the odds of death skyrocket for a lower-level character. In an extreme case, the minimum damage roll for an opponent might be high enough to instantly kill the lower-level character by doing damage of greater than twice their HP.
  • Games without predesigned encounters. If encounters result mainly from extrapolating the results of the IC actions of the characters, rather than as the result of deliberate predesign by the DM, encounter parameters (number and strength of opposition, encounter terrain, presence of noncombatants, etc.) become much more variable. In such "organic" encounters low-level characters might find it harder to reliably adopt tactics to prevent becoming the target of an attack.
  • Games where combat tactics are part of roleplaying. The tactics you've described for low-level characters to survive/contribute (avoiding becoming a target, careful control of range, using Dodge and Help) may be OOC optimal, but will not be IC for all low-level PCs. As a simple example, a low-level Barbarian who has a backstory as a tribal champion isn't likely to IC adopt any of the tactics you've described. This is particularly true at tables with strict rules against metagaming where the character doesn't know they're lower-level. Sure, after a few rounds of combat a smart and adaptive low-level character can infer that they are outclassed in a particular encounter and switch to the tactics you suggest in place of their usual fighting style, but they might not survive long enough to gain that information IC.
The other aspect is that outside of combat, using dice to resolve anything is pretty rare in my games. It's mostly role-playing, putting together information, solving the puzzle of what's really going on and where the team should go next.

On the other hand, there is a pretty big difference in combat capability. The odds of a 1st level character not dying in my mid-to-high level campaigns would be pretty slim because I don't believe in plot armor. It's just simple math. When a monster can do more than double the HP of a low level character with an AOE effect or a single hit, the odds of them dying are too high.

Well, that and I just don't see the point.
 

Xetheral

Explorer
[MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION]

If you'd like to discuss the specific examples I provided to illustrate my underlying claim that effectiveness of low-level characters depends on playstyle, that's fine--my responses are below. But I'm also interested in whether you agree or disagree with my broader claim, and why.

You're right to point out the "extreme" nature of that case you cite as an example as in my experience death by massive damage is practically impossible once the character has a couple levels, provided the player(s) employs a modicum of tactics. A game with fewer, harder encounters also means that the lower-level character is definitely leveling up very quickly, once or more per encounter even. If it is a problem, which I would say is debatable, it's a problem for a vanishingly small length of time.
Of course your experience is that death by massive damage is "practically impossible"--if your experience were otherwise I suspect you'd have a larger problem with lower-level characters being unable to meaningfully contribute. :) But other people with other playstyles may have different experiences.
[MENTION=6801845]Oofta[/MENTION], in the post above, reports that enemies in their mid-high level campaigns can kill 1st level characters from massive damage with AoE abilities. I note that you included the qualifier "once the character has a couple levels" which means your experience may not actually differ from Oofta's. But that qualifier undermines your point by acknowledging the possibility that characters without more than a couple levels are at risk from dying by massive damage. Similarly, your qualifer that death from massive damage is rare "provided the player [of a character with more than a couple levels] employs a modicum of tactics" supports my claim. You're implying that at tables that use a playstyle where a "modicum of tactics" can't be assumed, death by massive damage could be a danger for lower-level characters. At such tables, lower-level characters might have a hard time meaningfully contributing (because they're dead).

Knowing that, one can imagine the player acts accordingly to avoid an undesirable outcome.
This makes no sense to me. If unplanned combats are diverse enough that the characters have a hard time routinely relying on the tactics you've suggested that prevent them from being targeted, what other actions do you expect them to take to avoid "undesirable outcomes"?

The character does what the player says it does for any reason the player establishes. And it is exceedingly easy to justify why a character of any stripe might do anything, leave alone do something that preserves its own life, which is a basic drive. "Your character wouldn't have done that! He would have rushed in to his death! My immersion is shattered!" is simply not a reasonable thing to say to someone else in my view.
I entirely agree. But I don't think your point is relevant. I'm not saying the player of the tribal champion is forced into suicidal behavior by the expectations of the table. I'm saying the player of the tribal champion wants to have their character engage in their typical fighting style even knowing OOC that such actions are likely to be suicidal, because that's part of their conception of what it means to roleplay. More broadly, if a player isn't going to use the OOC knowledge that they are lower-level and plan tactics for their character accordingly, the odds of the character dying (and thus being unable to meaningfully contribute) go up beyond what you've observed at your table.

Further, I'd encourage you to define what you mean by "meaningfully contribute" here as some appear to think that means doing the same damage as a higher-level character when that is only a single, narrow metric (and not, I would say, a reliable one even among same-level PCs).
I think what it means to meaningfully contribute itself probably varies between playstyles. If you agree, I think that's strong support for my claim that the ability of lower-level characters to hit that (moving) threshold of effectiveness depends on playstyle. That being said, in my examples I was trying to stick to the definition that I believe you are using: the ability to make a combat easier for the team via one's actions.

Out of curiosity, do you have any practical experience with characters of disparate levels in D&D 5e?
Yes, but I don't think it's particularly relevant to my point, and I don't think going into detail would provide useful support for my claim. I'm claiming that the ability of lower-level characters to meaningfully contribute likely depends on playstyle, and I don't have experience with a large-enough range of playstyles to have direct evidence for the claim. If you happen to have experience with such a large range and can assert that in all of them lower-level characters could still meaningfully contribute, that would be evidence weighing against my claim. But the experience you've described so far in this thread relates to a specific playstyle, which inherently can't support or undermine my claim about variation across playstyles.
 

Oofta

Explorer
[MENTION=6802765]Xetheral[/MENTION],
I honestly don't know how people do mid-to-high level combats without killing low level PCs, and no one has ever given me a good example except a scenario where the PC was never targeted. Or have weird parallel encounters. Or the low level PC stays home/half a mile away from combat because otherwise they're toast.

Then again I always have the bad guys do what I think they should do. If that means fireballing the intern, so be it. But I may never know since Iserith blocked me after I commented that he's more of a rules-first guy (making the story match the rules) and I'm a story-first (rules bend now and then to match the story). :uhoh:
 

iserith

Explorer
[MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION]

If you'd like to discuss the specific examples I provided to illustrate my underlying claim that effectiveness of low-level characters depends on playstyle, that's fine--my responses are below. But I'm also interested in whether you agree or disagree with my broader claim, and why.
My comments with regard to the specific playstyles you cite are in my previous post.

Of course your experience is that death by massive damage is "practically impossible"--if your experience were otherwise I suspect you'd have a larger problem with lower-level characters being unable to meaningfully contribute. :) But other people with other playstyles may have different experiences.

[MENTION=6801845]Oofta[/MENTION], in the post above, reports that enemies in their mid-high level campaigns can kill 1st level characters from massive damage with AoE abilities. I note that you included the qualifier "once the character has a couple levels" which means your experience may not actually differ from Oofta's. But that qualifier undermines your point by acknowledging the possibility that characters without more than a couple levels are at risk from dying by massive damage. Similarly, your qualifer that death from massive damage is rare "provided the player [of a character with more than a couple levels] employs a modicum of tactics" supports my claim. You're implying that at tables that use a playstyle where a "modicum of tactics" can't be assumed, death by massive damage could be a danger for lower-level characters. At such tables, lower-level characters might have a hard time meaningfully contributing (because they're dead).
That a low-level character can die from massive damage doesn't mean he or she will or that he or she cannot meaningfully contribute during play. And the level range at which a character is likely to die from massive damage is, as I said before, very small indeed. From a practical standpoint, it is just not a concern provided the player has some control over the sorts of situations in which the character finds itself and can act with agency to avoid or mitigate these kinds of results. I would say this is a theoretical issue, not one that is very likely to occur during play. It also completely ignores meaningful contributions in other pillars of the game.

As to the specific poster you mention, I have blocked him until this thread falls off the front page due to what I perceive as engaging in bad-faith discussion. So I can't really comment on posts that this poster made going forward.

This makes no sense to me. If unplanned combats are diverse enough that the characters have a hard time routinely relying on the tactics you've suggested that prevent them from being targeted, what other actions do you expect them to take to avoid "undesirable outcomes"?
Unless we're talking about the DM engaging in "gotchas" (which I would say is bad DMing), then the player has at least some say in being in the situation that leads to the combat. What you suggest, unless I'm reading you incorrectly, is that the player just doesn't have any real choices here, either before or during the encounter. I don't think that's the intended mode of play. It therefore couldn't really be laid at the feet of characters of disparate levels being unable to meaningfully contribute in my view.

I entirely agree. But I don't think your point is relevant. I'm not saying the player of the tribal champion is forced into suicidal behavior by the expectations of the table. I'm saying the player of the tribal champion wants to have their character engage in their typical fighting style even knowing OOC that such actions are likely to be suicidal, because that's part of their conception of what it means to roleplay. More broadly, if a player isn't going to use the OOC knowledge that they are lower-level and plan tactics for their character accordingly, the odds of the character dying (and thus being unable to meaningfully contribute) go up beyond what you've observed at your table.
I suppose nobody can stop a player from wanting to have the character commit suicide. That can be true at any level or in parties with same-level PCs. I don't see this as a problem of having characters of different levels in the party. I would say this whole matter could be set aside.

I think what it means to meaningfully contribute itself probably varies between playstyles. If you agree, I think that's strong support for my claim that the ability of lower-level characters to hit that (moving) threshold of effectiveness depends on playstyle. That being said, in my examples I was trying to stick to the definition that I believe you are using: the ability to make a combat easier for the team via one's actions.
In fact, I think meaningful contribution happens in all three pillars. That some folks have been focusing solely on combat is a mistake, perhaps even a willful oversight, in my view. That's not a great way to judge whether a character of lower-level can function alongside higher-level PCs as I see it.

Yes, but I don't think it's particularly relevant to my point, and I don't think going into detail would provide useful support for my claim. I'm claiming that the ability of lower-level characters to meaningfully contribute likely depends on playstyle, and I don't have experience with a large-enough range of playstyles to have direct evidence for the claim. If you happen to have experience with such a large range and can assert that in all of them lower-level characters could still meaningfully contribute, that would be evidence weighing against my claim. But the experience you've described so far in this thread relates to a specific playstyle, which inherently can't support or undermine my claim about variation across playstyles.
I would like for you to go into detail on your experience if you're willing to do so, as others have. As an interesting data point, if nothing else. If I remember correctly, most of the people in this thread who have practical experience with PCs of different levels think it works fine due to D&D 5e's design.

I would add that my "playstyle" is based on my understanding of the rules of the game. You would expect to see my playstyle change in some other game as those rules may create different expectations. My assertions or objections to the assertion that lower-level characters can't meaningfully contribute are based on that understanding. If someone has an approach that so diverges from the expectations that can be reasonably derived from the rules (perhaps said person plays the game as if it is some other game), then I would concede that in those kinds of games, yes, perhaps a lower-level character cannot meaningfully contribute. But even then, the only objections so far have been to the combat pillar which ignores other avenues of meaningful contribution. Further, the specific outcomes that were cited in previous examples can be due to many other factors outside of the ability of lower-level PCs to contribute and can also apply to parties of the same level. I would say that makes it insufficient to support the claim that lower-level PCs cannot meaningfully contribute in a party with higher-level PCs.

And as a matter of making sure I'm being understood, I will also mention again that none of what I'm saying is an argument for or against using XP or that anyone should have characters of different levels in the party. My argument is very narrowly aimed at assertions that characters of lower-level cannot meaningfully contribute in a party with higher-level PCs.
 

DM Dave1

Present
... It also completely ignores meaningful contributions in other pillars of the game

...
In fact, I think meaningful contribution happens in all three pillars. That some folks have been focusing solely on combat is a mistake, perhaps even a willful oversight, in my view. That's not a great way to judge whether a character of lower-level can function alongside higher-level PCs as I see it.
Yes to this.

Too often combat is the yardstick by which characters are measured. While true that it is one of the three pillars of the game, it really is just one form of conflict resolution. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some combat, but I really like when the players come up with alternative methods of conflict resolution once in a while. Another thread points out some great DM resources. Among them is this bit by the Angry GM:
http://theangrygm.com/three-shocking-things-you-wont-believe-about-dd-combat/
Whether you are an old or new DM (or player), it is recommended reading to up your game.
 

Oofta

Explorer
Yes to this.

Too often combat is the yardstick by which characters are measured. While true that it is one of the three pillars of the game, it really is just one form of conflict resolution. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some combat, but I really like when the players come up with alternative methods of conflict resolution once in a while. Another thread points out some great DM resources. Among them is this bit by the Angry GM:
http://theangrygm.com/three-shocking-things-you-wont-believe-about-dd-combat/
Whether you are an old or new DM (or player), it is recommended reading to up your game.
But even if you evenly distribute things, combat is still 1/3 of the game.

In other words, if the story is at that point where the team is infiltrating the keeps of the Storm Giants (who happen to have white dragon "pets") how well can a first level PC contribute if they're dead? Even a young white dragon is going to kill most PCs less than say 4th level on a failed save with 45 damage.

I guess I just don't like compromises that shove "it's a game first" in your face if you have to have things like a side fight vs the cooking staff.
 

DM Dave1

Present
The infiltration of the keeps of the Storm Giants does not require everyone to be the same level, which seems to be your big sticking point. Maybe the first level character that is in tow with the mostly 6th level party is the key to overcoming some arcane locked door - only a fresh drop of their blood will open the door that gets the party to the McGuffin which is the goal of the infiltration. See what I did there? I came up with a fun way to include that player. The other PCs better do their best to protect their first level companion, or the quest will fail. Maybe that’s not your style of game, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be pulled off at most tables. The campaign can be long enough to give that PC a chance to shine in combat against tougher foes... if they survive... just like any other PC.
 

Iry

Villager
There are a few other complications that can come up. Like low level characters not having the funds to pay for decent armor and accessory equipment the way a higher level character might. This is absolutely not a problem if the rest of the party is willing to foot the bill or has the right equipment already, but at least in the early levels scraping together enough money for decent kit can be one or two less diamonds for revivify.
 

Oofta

Explorer
The infiltration of the keeps of the Storm Giants does not require everyone to be the same level, which seems to be your big sticking point. Maybe the first level character that is in tow with the mostly 6th level party is the key to overcoming some arcane locked door - only a fresh drop of their blood will open the door that gets the party to the McGuffin which is the goal of the infiltration. See what I did there? I came up with a fun way to include that player. The other PCs better do their best to protect their first level companion, or the quest will fail. Maybe that’s not your style of game, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be pulled off at most tables. The campaign can be long enough to give that PC a chance to shine in combat against tougher foes... if they survive... just like any other PC.
The storm giant's keep is one simple example. In others I've had PCs going into areas where they were expected to take on the leadership of the enemy army, or infiltrate the cult that had the power to transform into demons, etc. I gave a sample encounter for level 10 party a while back and explained why I didn't think a low level PC would survive. I can go back to my notes for the level 18 party that had to replace a PC after a heroic sacrifice if you want.

So if they just need that fresh drop of blood, great. But what happens when the flying nalfashne that likes to ignore the front line and go for the guy in the back (stated tactics in the MM) pops in? What happens when the invisible wizard casts chain lightning? There's little or nothing the group can do. In a post by he-who-does-not-want-to-acknowledge-my-existence-any-more, he talked about a low-level fighter in the back who eventually ran up to help. That's great. But why was that low level fighter never targeted with an attack? When I asked I got something about two PCs going full defensive (unless I missed a post but he refused to clarify). So? Two tanks are going full defensive. At best the low level fighter has a +2 to AC. If I were a PC in a game, I'd ignore the tanks and target the enemy I could hit. I may even provoke an opp attack to do it. Why would the enemy do any different?

Simply put, there's not much you can do to protect a low level PC short of having parallel encounters and plot armor especially once you throw in AOEs. If they're having parallel encounters and only joining up for social and exploration time, it feels like separate campaigns where I'm super-leveling the low level guy artificially just to get them to a point where they won't die. If I'm doing that, why bother?

I can re-post my sample encounters from a random level 10 game if you want. Tell me what the party would do to protect someone with a dozen hit points or less other than leave them home at the tavern. I would like to know because I keep hearing a lot of claims. Maybe there's just something I'm missing but 5E doesn't have a whole lot of ways to defend others from attacks other than plot armor.
 

Seramus

Explorer
I can re-post my sample encounters from a random level 10 game if you want. Tell me what the party would do to protect someone with a dozen hit points or less other than leave them home at the tavern. I would like to know because I keep hearing a lot of claims. Maybe there's just something I'm missing but 5E doesn't have a whole lot of ways to defend others from attacks other than plot armor.
Now I'm imagining a high level party paying for a bunch of Crown Paladins to protect their Level 1 Nephew for an entire adventure. :D
 

Oofta

Explorer
Now I'm imagining a high level party paying for a bunch of Crown Paladins to protect their Level 1 Nephew for an entire adventure. :D
Do they all wear dark colored suits, sunglasses and have their ear in their finger for no reason?
secret service.jpg
 

Oofta

Explorer
Okay ... so this is an interesting challenge. How would you protect the innocent?

Options?
  • The Oath of the Crown could take the damage as a reaction, but you would frequently need multiple paladins for monsters that have multi-attack.
  • Warding bond would help, but that only lasts for an hour and my not be enough since it only reduces damage by half.
  • hamster ball globe of invulnerability them, but that only lasts a minute.
  • Sanctuary is a bonus action, but it doesn't help for AOEs, enemies still get a save and again only lasts a minute
  • Increase AC using things like Shield of Faith for 10 minutes.
  • Interposing yourself in front of the enemy for +2 to AC. Possibly block access from melee if you happen to be in 10 ft corridor.

Anything else? The oath paladin does it for 1 attack, nothing else buys all that much. Except for the hamster ball.
 

DM Dave1

Present
Simply put, there's not much you can do to protect a low level PC short of having parallel encounters and plot armor especially once you throw in AOEs. If they're having parallel encounters and only joining up for social and exploration time, it feels like separate campaigns where I'm super-leveling the low level guy artificially just to get them to a point where they won't die. If I'm doing that, why bother?.
You need neither plot armor or parallel encounters to make it work.

As a DM, I can think of many, many ways to kill any PC in a combat regardless if they are a mixed level group or a same-level group. A group of cooperating players can probably come up with many, many ways to all survive an encounter as well (and I see you have actually started to explore that in another post - good for you!)

It seems you are stuck in your paradigm of "all PCs must be the same level for the game to be fun". There really isn't anything wrong with that for your table if that means everyone is having fun. In that case you probably employ "catchup-XP" or else you only play when everyone can make it. I've done that at my table.

I'm saying that isn't the only way. You can play with a mixed level group of most any combo and still have fun. I've done that as well. We don't need the concept of "catchup-XP" for this style, nor do we need plot armor or parallel encounters. I will take it on good faith that you are not calling this type of play badwrongfun.
 

DM Dave1

Present
Okay ... so this is an interesting challenge. How would you protect the innocent?

Options?
  • The Oath of the Crown could take the damage as a reaction, but you would frequently need multiple paladins for monsters that have multi-attack.
  • Warding bond would help, but that only lasts for an hour and my not be enough since it only reduces damage by half.
  • hamster ball globe of invulnerability them, but that only lasts a minute.
  • Sanctuary is a bonus action, but it doesn't help for AOEs, enemies still get a save and again only lasts a minute
  • Increase AC using things like Shield of Faith for 10 minutes.
  • Interposing yourself in front of the enemy for +2 to AC. Possibly block access from melee if you happen to be in 10 ft corridor.

Anything else? The oath paladin does it for 1 attack, nothing else buys all that much. Except for the hamster ball.
Hide action
Invisibility
Rope Trick
Loading up the low level party member with the best defensive magic items
Revivify scrolls (juuuuuust in case)

These are just a handful of obvious things off the top of my head. My players never cease to surprise me with other creative ideas, too.
 

Oofta

Explorer
Hide action
Invisibility
Rope Trick
Loading up the low level party member with the best defensive magic items
Revivify scrolls (juuuuuust in case)

These are just a handful of obvious things off the top of my head. My players never cease to surprise me with other creative ideas, too.
I'm trying to be fair, but all of these seem like "the low level PC avoids all combat but still gains XP". Hide only works if there's warning, someplace to hide and the PC is good at it. Invisibility only lasts an hour. Rope trick is stationary and only lasts 8 hours.

The only solution that seems to work is revivify and I'd think that one would be a little iffy if the PC was immolated/squished/eaten but I guess that's a DM's call. [EDIT: it also assumes you can buy/make scrolls of revivify]

In other words, you might as well leave the low level PC back in the tavern and do a training montage with the high level PCs. [IMHO]

The thing is, I want the story to be appropriate and challenging for the majority of the group. In most cases in my campaigns it wouldn't make sense for the story for the group to be fighting dragons one day and goblins the next.

Anyway, I was just wondering if I missed something. I don't see it working for my campaign or DMing style because I put story first and no one has plot armor, the enemies don't care if a specific PC is supposed to survive, AOEs happen, and not every encounter is in a traditional "dungeon" with 10 ft wide corridors.

If I haven't said it often enough, I'll repeat it. It's OK if you run your campaign differently. If it's rules-first or plot armor or the guy hiding half a mile a way still gains XP because they're "part of the group". I just have a problem with the vague "you're a bad DM if you don't run the game like I would and allow a low level PC to survive all encounters" with no concrete examples of how to do it that some people who shall not be named kept repeating.
 
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