D&D 5E No One Plays High Level?

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
In order to support High Level play, you need to have some kind of consensus of what High Level play is. If I'm an adventure writer, I have no idea what the capabilities of your party are. Do you have three Fighters and a Cleric? Three Wizards and a Bard? What spells do you have access to? Magic items?

What resources can you draw upon from the campaign? Do you only do dungeon crawls, or does a King owe you large favors? Do you own an airship, have access to Teleportation Circles, have sidekicks or your own golems? Do you actively have a base of operations? Is Simulacrum banned in your campaign?

Does your party have several thousand gold in funds to cast expensive spells, or are they dirt poor?

Do you set DC's assuming that characters have access to Guidance/Bardic Inspiration/Expertise (making them at least somewhat challenging if those are in play, and quite challenging if not)?

So right off the bat, you have to write for some "generic party" that only exists in your head. There are any number of unknown variables. Most of your adventure, then, is going to be composed of troubleshooting advice for when (not if) the adventure goes off the rails.

There are high-level campaigns that move away from mechanics and are more about dealing with high level NPC's, managing kingdoms and armies. There are high-level campaigns that exist in a super dungeon. And there's many more in between somewhere.

A book of high-level adventure seeds is more useful than an adventure. A book of high-level adventure advice might be completely useless to a given group, or it might be invaluable.

All someone writing such things can say is "this is what we think a high-level game looks like". But how useful is that, really, if your campaign consists of:

Uber-powerful characters beating up Gods on their home planes and rooting in their pockets for loose artifacts?

A cabal of influential figures guiding the destiny of an empire?

A group of hardened veterans preparing for a last stand in a world overrun by undead?

The denizens of a Tippyverse (tm)- a world that assumes that spellcasting is readily available and everyone is crafting magic items?

In my mind, the advice for dealing with a high-level game really starts at lower level- knowing how to plot out campaigns, identifying potential issues, knowing how to keep the game on track and knowing when to just let the player's actions define the campaign. Knowing what to do if the players are too strong or too weak. How to deal with problem players. How to make everyone feel like their character is equally important to the game. How to make fair rulings. When/How do you buff and when do you nerf things? Or should you do so at all?

If you help people master the fundamentals, that's going to be far more useful for helping them figure out what to do about levels 11 and up.

Because the real problem I've always had with high level play comes down to the feeling that I need to always top the previous adventure. Each new threat has to be bigger, badder, and have higher stakes in order to both challenge and excite the players. But eventually, this turns into a farce.

"Well, you beat the avatar of the dead god, what's next? The avatar of a living god...?"
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I make very few changes to the core rules, it works for me. I can only go by my experience though because other than changes to the game that alter it's very nature (e.g. mythic martial characters), the complaints are quite vague. I don't do hardcore dungeon crawls or mass minion waves. The settings and events change, but I don't make any fundamental changes to the play loop.

I have no idea why high level doesn't work for you, but it is absolutely not limited to the playstyles you list.
If you don't change the play loop then likely you are playing hardcore dungeon crawls. Maybe without the dungeon but its still dungeon crawls.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
The issues isn't "Cant" but "Doesn't"

It's like Epic Boons.
The DMG Epic Boons were half as....given a half effort.
And when they recognized this and retried in in the new playtest,, they still only gave a half effort.
The idea of Epic Boons isn't bad. The designers just don't care enough about it to do it right.

5e or a future edition could support multiple playstyles if the designers have the time, energy, and drive to do it.
Sure. Give me an example of anyone who has ever given full effort to your idea.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
"It doesn't work for my style of play and I'm unwilling to change my style of play" is not the same as broken.
That doesn't answer their question though. Does WotC 5e support multiple styles of play at high levels or not? Because it sounds like you have no issue because it supports your style.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
It's okay for playstyles to change at high levels.
It's not okay to support dramatically lower amount of playstyles in high levels than low levels.... for TEN YEARS!
Nah, you earn your criticism after 10 years of nothing.
I would argue longer, perhaps since 3e was released.
 

Oofta

Legend
If you don't change the play loop then likely you are playing hardcore dungeon crawls. Maybe without the dungeon but its still dungeon crawls.

The only change I make to the play loop is to use the gritty rest rules and have at least 4 encounters for long rest in most cases. I don't do dungeons, much less dungeon crawls.

Stop telling me I can't do what I have successfully done or participated in multiple times.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
In order to support High Level play, you need to have some kind of consensus of what High Level play is. If I'm an adventure writer, I have no idea what the capabilities of your party are. Do you have three Fighters and a Cleric? Three Wizards and a Bard? What spells do you have access to? Magic items?

What resources can you draw upon from the campaign? Do you only do dungeon crawls, or does a King owe you large favors? Do you own an airship, have access to Teleportation Circles, have sidekicks or your own golems? Do you actively have a base of operations? Is Simulacrum banned in your campaign?

Does your party have several thousand gold in funds to cast expensive spells, or are they dirt poor?

Do you set DC's assuming that characters have access to Guidance/Bardic Inspiration/Expertise (making them at least somewhat challenging if those are in play, and quite challenging if not)?

So right off the bat, you have to write for some "generic party" that only exists in your head. There are any number of unknown variables. Most of your adventure, then, is going to be composed of troubleshooting advice for when (not if) the adventure goes off the rails.

There are high-level campaigns that move away from mechanics and are more about dealing with high level NPC's, managing kingdoms and armies. There are high-level campaigns that exist in a super dungeon. And there's many more in between somewhere.

A book of high-level adventure seeds is more useful than an adventure. A book of high-level adventure advice might be completely useless to a given group, or it might be invaluable.

All someone writing such things can say is "this is what we think a high-level game looks like". But how useful is that, really, if your campaign consists of:

Uber-powerful characters beating up Gods on their home planes and rooting in their pockets for loose artifacts?

A cabal of influential figures guiding the destiny of an empire?

A group of hardened veterans preparing for a last stand in a world overrun by undead?

The denizens of a Tippyverse (tm)- a world that assumes that spellcasting is readily available and everyone is crafting magic items?

In my mind, the advice for dealing with a high-level game really starts at lower level- knowing how to plot out campaigns, identifying potential issues, knowing how to keep the game on track and knowing when to just let the player's actions define the campaign. Knowing what to do if the players are too strong or too weak. How to deal with problem players. How to make everyone feel like their character is equally important to the game. How to make fair rulings. When/How do you buff and when do you nerf things? Or should you do so at all?

If you help people master the fundamentals, that's going to be far more useful for helping them figure out what to do about levels 11 and up.

Because the real problem I've always had with high level play comes down to the feeling that I need to always top the previous adventure. Each new threat has to be bigger, badder, and have higher stakes in order to both challenge and excite the players. But eventually, this turns into a farce.

"Well, you beat the avatar of the dead god, what's next? The avatar of a living god...?"
Or the avatars mom. It worked for Beowulf.
 

Oofta

Legend
That doesn't answer their question though. Does WotC 5e support multiple styles of play at high levels or not? Because it sounds like you have no issue because it supports your style.

I have no clue what other people's issues are when it comes to high level campaigns because all we ever get is vague assertions or "It doesn't support high level games because I want [insert mythic PCs, etc.]." All I can say is that the options are not limited to hardcore dungeon crawls or waves of minions because I do neither. Well, every once in a while I do waves of minions because variety is the spice of life. But always? Nah, they're the rare exception.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I have no clue what other people's issues are when it comes to high level campaigns because all we ever get is vague assertions or "It doesn't support high level games because I want [insert mythic PCs, etc.]." All I can say is that the options are not limited to hardcore dungeon crawls or waves of minions because I do neither. Well, every once in a while I do waves of minions because variety is the spice of life. But always? Nah, they're the rare exception.
So what do you do that isn't essentially a dungeon crawl or waves of minions, but maintains the lower level gameplay loop? Do you have any examples?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Sure. Give me an example of anyone who has ever given full effort to your idea.
There aren't any because like I said many D&D fans are selfish and those who ain't are rarely in the position to do it

So unless RPG was specifically designed for it, it is highly unlikely.

That doesn't mean it's impossible. It however requires a generation change. When 6e eventually does come out it likely won't be headed by AD&D fanboys.
 

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