5.5E Monsters of the Multiverse: the death of eldritch blast?

But if you're just throwing in some hobgoblins to fight there's a story reason for it isn't there? If it's just a random battle with hobgoblins what's the point? Unless, like I said, you're playing a dungeon crawl game where the attrition is the point - then the random battles are part of the story. The story of a hardscrabble group of adventurers who are trying to survive a dungeon complex to gather treasure or fight some foe supports random battles and requires attrition as a motivating factor for taking decisions. It may or may not be a very deep story, but dungeon survival is a great collaborative story that D&D supports well.

Once you get outside of that kind of survival story, the D&D attrition model makes a lot less sense to the game. Which is where the arguments about the 5 minute workday come into play - adventurers in a survival story can't have a 5 minute workday, while adventures in other fantasy situations can often easily do so.
Well, the combat system of D&D, despite significant changes over the years, has always been designed to support that story (even 4th ed, in its own way). I'm not sure it's even possible to change it in a way to make attrition less important while still allowing that play style, and if it is, it would feel like a very different game to me. Maybe too different.
 

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That just makes the adventuring day worse because now you're used up character is just plain going to suck for long periods of time. My intention is to get rid of 'long rest' stuff as much as possible.

I prefer to just have fun fights and find character death itself pointless in a game about building and playing a character you enjoy.
See, this is a conflict between character and plot (with worldbuilding trying to get a word in, as usual). Many of us feel that the story that forms out of the game is the goal, and playing a character you enjoy is still important, but secondary to that focus.
 

Not accepting that there are stakes other than death is a major problem n all mediums nowadays.

Sometimes, the methods and act is more important than the result.
Illustrative point: in the novel series The Wheel of Time (recently made into a TV show on Amazon), one of the issues people have with it, especially as it progresses, is the authors extreme reluctance to allow any character to actually die. It stretches the sense of grounding any story needs, and hurts immersion if you know everyone 's going to make it out no matter what happens.
 


Well, Witch Bolt is just a terrible spell in general. No doubt the warlock’s spell selection at first level sucks, but it gets much better at later levels.
Witch Bolt is my biggest spell dissapointment in the game. I want to feel like Palpatine when I cast it, dammit! Unlimited power my eye!
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Illustrative point: in the novel series The Wheel of Time (recently made into a TV show on Amazon), one of the issues people have with it, especially as it progresses, is the authors extreme reluctance to allow any character to actually die. It stretches the sense of grounding any story needs, and hurts immersion if you know everyone 's going to make it out no matter what happens.
Despite the fact that if someone you knew died at the rate the blood-hungry audience demands, they would need all the therapy.

Edit: And the fact that the series is named after a cycle of resurrection.
 


Remathilis

Legend
Illustrative point: in the novel series The Wheel of Time (recently made into a TV show on Amazon), one of the issues people have with it, especially as it progresses, is the authors extreme reluctance to allow any character to actually die. It stretches the sense of grounding any story needs, and hurts immersion if you know everyone 's going to make it out no matter what happens.
I don't think the price of failure should be death, but I don't think it should be off the table.

Plenty of genre media has heroes that can't die: Superman, Batman, the Doctor, etc. They still have stakes and a sense of loss even if they don't die (or permanently die). But it only works if your PC has something to lose: friends, allies, families, people under their protection, etc. Superman might not be physically challenged by many, but Lois and Metropolis are.

However, D&D isn't that kind of genre media. Thru aren't the defenders of a city, world, or galaxy. Some might be that kind of guardian, but they can be murderhobos with nothing they value except thier lives and their magical toys. Sometimes death is the only price.D&D could use a few more options between glory and death.
 

I don't think the price of failure should be death, but I don't think it should be off the table.

Plenty of genre media has heroes that can't die: Superman, Batman, the Doctor, etc. They still have stakes and a sense of loss even if they don't die (or permanently die). But it only works if your PC has something to lose: friends, allies, families, people under their protection, etc. Superman might not be physically challenged by many, but Lois and Metropolis are.

However, D&D isn't that kind of genre media. Thru aren't the defenders of a city, world, or galaxy. Some might be that kind of guardian, but they can be murderhobos with nothing they value except thier lives and their magical toys. Sometimes death is the only price.D&D could use a few more options between glory and death.
I agree. I just feel there are more than two options on that scale.
 

Despite the fact that if someone you knew died at the rate the blood-hungry audience demands, they would need all the therapy.

Edit: And the fact that the series is named after a cycle of resurrection.
In order to resurrect, you have to die first. And everywhere except D&D, there's a little time between those two things.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
If character death needs to be a real risk, how can it also be "just a dumb thing"?
If the players are overly worried about their character dying at any moment, they are less likely to invest in the lives of the characters, their ambitions, the world setting around them. Death makes the game shallow − videogamey.

There is almost a Maslows Heirarchy at work. The lack of safety prevents the characters from self-actualizing.



But I feel there is a balance. The game becomes more visceral to the players, if the threat of death is real, thus more fun. Run the narrative like a movie. There is a place for action scenes. But there also needs to be a place for safety, confidence, comradery, achievement, and celebration. Also curiosity and playfulness. And challenges that are easy when the characters can show off.
 
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Vaalingrade

Legend
It's a matter of degree. It doesn't have to be Game of Thrones.
Audiences raised in a post-On Writing (the book that drastically hampered good modern writing because people don't understand genre and think everything a horror/thriller writer says can be applied to action adventure and sweet romance 1 for 1) world pretty much demand a death per book or season, usually occurring over the course of a month. Imagine if someone you knew (and cared enough to have some level of shock value to the audience because that's the point of character deaths at this point) died every single month.
 

Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
I feel there is a hard balance with character death. If there is no risk of death, it's just dull and feels low stakes. The party ends up acting like they're invulnerable and thinking everything has no consequences.

But if you go the other way and make life too fast and cheap, players can't get attached to their characters. Why write a backstory when they will be gone the next session?

Generally I prefer death's happening when they mean something. Such as when fighting an important bad guy. Rather than stepping on a random trap at lvl 2 and getting instigibbed.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Imagine if someone you knew (and cared enough to have some level of shock value to the audience because that's the point of character deaths at this point) died every single month.

I think that's called "being in the military during active combat" which would be the closest thing in modern parlance to adventuring.

Then again, I tend to see D&D closer to comic books; the only other major genre where death and resurrection is common. In a setting where death isn't the end, you just accept that.

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Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
I think that's called "being in the military during active combat" which would be the closest thing in modern parlance to adventuring.
Yep this. Adventuring isn't some peaceful and low risk recreational activity. Combat is dangerous, and that should be represented in game.

Irl soldiers in active warzones do lose people they know on a regular basis.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Comics could also learn a thing or two about not pointlessly killing characters for no good reason other than 'shock'.
If only out of shock fatigue. Death in comics should be a threat, but killing Batman did the nth time knowing he'll be Batman again in a year is tiring. However, I'd also hate to return to silver-age Superdickery when stakes were nonexistent.
 

Audiences raised in a post-On Writing (the book that drastically hampered good modern writing because people don't understand genre and think everything a horror/thriller writer says can be applied to action adventure and sweet romance 1 for 1) world pretty much demand a death per book or season, usually occurring over the course of a month. Imagine if someone you knew (and cared enough to have some level of shock value to the audience because that's the point of character deaths at this point) died every single month.
That would indeed suck, but to be fair, I'm in a far less dangerous profession, with far lower stakes. Surely we can agree that adventurers live very different, far more violent lives than most other people?
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
As DM, I intentionally include encounters that are way too difficult (that require the players to flee or think outside the box) and that are way too easy. ... Heh, and sometimes these happen unintentionally.

The unevenness creates uncertainty about the amount of danger, and adds more verisimilitude. Meanwhile, some encounters actually are deadly, while other encounters are cakewalks where the characters can show off.
 

South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
For myself, I favor the same approach as Yaarel, but I also try to stay conscious of the party I'm in and what it is they're looking for. Different people prefer different things for different reasons, right? Some people are highly risk-averse in life and play D&D in part as a way of escaping that aversion, so for them death, danger, and surprises are great. Some people are highly risk-averse in life and play D&D much as they live life: risk-averse. For them, the Tomb of Horrors is just a bad choice. Some people have seriously high-stress careers in life and play D&D as a way of escaping that, so for them a pressure cooker adventure might not be my best choice. Some have stressful lives and play D&D as a way of rehearsing all that stress and changing some of its outcomes to where they tackle and clobber their imaginary foes in a way they wish they could clobber certain co-workers. For them, combat-heavy adventures with lots of blood work great.

Naturally, only so much DM calibration to the party is possible when you've got six or seven players each with a very different personality, but usually when it's a bunch of longtime friends all around a table, there's some kind of temperamental consensus that I can find.
 

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