D&D 5E New Spellcasting Blocks for Monsters --- Why?!


It's just another example of how people are reading into the game and confusing common patterns with design intent. A lot of the core things that are upsetting a subset of players/DMs never actually existed. The adventuring day isn't broken because a table can't maintain the 6-8 average because that doesn't exist. The length of combat isn't supposed to be approximately three rounds because that is solely for calculating offensive CR. NPCs changing format isn't moving away from some underlining design paradigm because the vast majority of them are put together with a top/down approach meaning they start with theme, feel, and flavor and smooth out the the fit n finish until it's close enough. It's apparent because you can see it in the way NPCs glaring breaks in pattern from when they got to the end and realized it was off. Thanks to the fact they don't have anything solid to meet they just changed some numbers and called it good.
Thank you for responding, but that absolutely did not answer the question for me. Actually, I am bit more confused. However, that is OK. I should stop wandering into other people's conversations!

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But, hey, this is very, very far removed from the topic. So, can we drop this and move on?
Sure. I similarly feel that it is self-evident that 5e has largely left 4e on the cutting room floor, but we are not going to convince each other and there is no need to. I would rather work on my 4e, 5e, PF2e hybrid game!

One thing I will comment on (since you brought it up) is that healing surges in 4e were only partly about healing in combat. The more important part was that they limited healing. If you healed, by spell, magic item, or just by your damn self, you had to spend a healing surge. So there was a limit to the amount of healing in could have in a day. This very crucial and fundamental aspect of design was core to 4e and completely ignored in 5e. That is what I mean by 4e is largely left on the cutting room floor. 5e cut the most basic and unnecessary part of healing surges and didn't keep the core design idea of them.

And now I am done!:)

Thank you for responding, but that absolutely did not answer the question for me. Actually, I am bit more confused. However, that is OK. I should stop wandering into other people's conversations!
Basically they have been experimenting with npc blocks format changes every step of the way because they don't have any rules that preventing it and they are aware a large enough portion of their consumer base are dissatisfied. This doesn't devalue those who liked the previous format or don't think simplified blocks are helpful. it's just not some ultimate betrayal or a shift in design philosophy.
It's sticking to whats working which is reverse engineering table play. Instead of presenting a game system and telling players what is expected they are using feedback to tweak features and ideas to match table play. It's a radical change from any other edition so it's hard to grasp.


-- or even just stopped referring to editions at all and just regularly and "quietly" made changes like we are seeing.
They have already done that. From the beginning they have simple referred to 5e as "Dungeons and Dragons." There is no 5th edition to be seen on the books or really ever mentioned beyond when they say something like: "The fifth edition of the world's greatest role-playing game." And that phrase is really for 3PP to use more than WotC uses it on their own products.





Of note for minigiants complaint of novaing with slots versus the new format, a MotM devastator can fly and throw two fireballs and two lightning bolts in a fight/day. A Volo's slot based one can use his three third level slots and his one fourth slot among his prepared fireball, fly, lightning bolt, and ice storm spells. After those big guns the Volo's goes to scorching rays, magic missiles, and fire bolts at 7th caster level compared to the 21 damage MotM devastating bolt.

The new MotM format seems to roughly cut the listed spells in half and throw in more magical non-spell powers for their actual caster types

Basically all the lower spell slots were cut and replaced with a easier to read non-spell, psuedo-cantrip.

So after turn 6 when you run out of big guns (if the fight isn't over), the hobgoblin devastator shoots out a pair of devastating bolts instead of either firing out piddly magic missiles, a cantrip that has to be recalculated, or a traded out 1st level spell.

The new devastator doesn't have it's fly and fireball compete so it can go into a flying bomber at full offense. This reinforcing the idea of the airborne enemy wizard safely fireballing down on its own troops

So really it's cantrip and spells sharing slots vs nonspells not-cantrips and spells not sharing slots for a Tier 2 monster.

It's also consistent with the philosophy of "putting the power back in the hands of the DM" (which I personally think is malarky, but...): the DM doesn't need the statblock to know that Vecna can use mage hand; Vecna can use mage hand because the DM said so. Can the high priest animate the dead to terrorize the town, even if that particular spell is missing from his statblock? Of course he can. Why does a vampire need a special ability in-text to summon wolves...can't the DM just budget them in as part of the encounter?

Yes, the GM can just decide those things, but it is exactly this sort of fiat some people might want to avoid. I mean GM could decide everything, they could also just decide when the enemies are defeated, so why the statblocks need to have hit points?


We just got an A5E version of The Archlich (no copyrights were harmed in the making of this stat block), and once again I can't help but express my pleasure at their design.

The spells are easy to read, but the spell slot system is preserved and actually serves a game purpose (Touch of Death gets more powerful depending on the spell slots you expend while doing it). There's even a special trait that says that the Archlich can cast any Wizard spell as a ritual, which gives a DM so many opportunities!

I just don't understand how the Vecna block can come anywhere close to this in terms of interesting uses as well as ease of use.

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