D&D 5E No One Plays High Level?

Oofta

Legend
I didn't read his comment as casting shade on DMs. I think that it hard to argue that DMing can require a big investment of time and attention and at some point most DMs will hit a limit on how much book keeping they want to do. The DM has to have fun too. I really enjoyed running my 5e campaign I just wrapped up, but I certainly introduced a lot more moving parts with stronghold rules, factions and reputation rules, downtime, creature component and alchemy rules, etc. It worked for me because I only run one session a month and it gives a between-session play-by-e‑mail side game of sorts. Some DMs just want to run simple games and there is nothing wrong with that, or with observing that this is the case for many DMs (I would guess most, but that's just a guess).
I just think there's a difference between a DM that makes the best decisions they can and DMs doing it because of ego or control reasons. For example I will never run a game wit evil PCs because that game wouldn't be fun for me. In the same way, I wouldn't want to run a game centered around domains because I likely wouldn't do a very good job with it.

Claiming that people do something because of ego, because they can't stand players being actually able to do things, is attributing their decisions to just about of the worst motivation possible. I give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they're just making the best decision possible to make the game fun for everyone at the table, including running a game they'll enjoy.

Maybe it's just a pet peeve but attributing DMs making a decision to restrict or not allow something to "ego" or wanting control of the game is a reason given far too often. 🤷‍♂️
 

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jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
Just because your Pinto didn’t explode doesn’t mean they weren’t broken.
With the car analogy: how do you tell the difference between a car that was designed in such a way that it will explode no matter what, and a car that only explodes if driven in certain ways? Would you say the people who drive it in such a way that it doesn't explode are driving it "wrong"?

My objection to the clickbait-y title of the video is that it is implying that 99% of people who attempt to drive the metaphorical Pinto will find that it explodes. Which is, IMVHO, nonsense.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
What do you think? Do you think high-level play is actually important to the game? Do you think it's just in the book for nostalgia or window-dressing for power gamers?
I think high-level is still played. More rarely, but it happens. And it'd maybe happen more if there was good support for it. And the reason there's not good support for it is because it's more rare. Chicken and egg, a bit.

I think "important to the game" is a more interesting question.

D&D, IMO, should be like a 10 level game. (I could see a case for 12/13 or maybe 15 if you're a coward, and for 5 if you're a madman. ;))

The main reason I think this is because I think the main reason high-level isn't more played is because people like to start at Level 1, and it takes more than a year of straight D&D play (at a typical pace of about 1 level / month) to see those high levels.

That does happen. But it's not common. Your group falls apart. You go on summer break. Nobody can get together in December. Someone has a baby. You get bored of the same characters and the same campaign. A new adventure catches your eye. You change DMs. Blah blah blah.

I also think it's weirdly better for D&D as a business if high-level play isn't common. The more you restart, the more character options and adventures you have. The more stuff WotC can sell you. It's a bit like a time slot for a TV show. If the D&D game is "one year long", then you fill that time slot with different characters and adventures each year. If the game is two years long, that's half the "new" content (and requires bigger, more expensive up-front costs for longer-lasting content - bigger adventures, more complex character options, etc.).

I think criticizing the power of high levels is kind of missing the mark. The power level is a little arbitrary. You can have weak characters with 12,000 levels because each level doesn't add much. You can have zero-to-hero with 5 levels because each level jumps you up a whole friggin' tier. And gaining lots of ability to impact the world is fun and narratively satisfying and yeah, it's fun to be powerful, it's fun to gain power over time, growth is a fun mechanic, "number get big" is compelling game design.

But I do think that D&D is very time intensive as a hobby, and practically speaking, there's only so much time your average person can invest in getting bigger numbers before they fall off for one reason or another. You only get about 80 of these years if you're lucky, and probably about 60 of them where you can play D&D functionally. That's only 30 two-year 1-20 campaigns. Most of us are going to get a lot less than that, in practice. It takes work to get that. If the game was only 1-5 or 1-10, you could get a LOT more reps in.

I also think the historical reason D&D has 20 levels is another interesting question, but I've babbled on long enough for one post. :) I don't think it's JUST fantasy wish fulfillment, though I also don't think it's a problem if it's about 80% fantasy wish fulfillment. ;)
 

ECMO3

Hero
The main reason I think this is because I think the main reason high-level isn't more played is because people like to start at Level 1, and it takes more than a year of straight D&D play (at a typical pace of about 1 level / month) to see those high levels.

Some groups play a lot faster than that. The main group I play with did a 1-20 campaign is about 3-4 months. We finished the campaign (Moonshae Adventures) the end of October, that campaign started in July I believe. Tonight will be the 5th session on the next 1-20 campaign (Dragonlance Unity of Shadows) that we started in November and we are currently level 6.

I think we completed all of Dragonlance SODQ, start to finish, in 7 sessions.

Another group I played with started a 1-20 campaign (Doomed Forgotten Realms) in February and finished in July. We followed that with Storm King's Thunder which went 1-10, we finished that campaign in September and started another 1-20 (Shattered Stars) and are currently level 13 in that campaign and will probably finish in late January or early February I imagine

I will say high level play starts to drag for me and levels 15-20, so if it took a month to gain a level I think it would disintigrate.


But I do think that D&D is very time intensive as a hobby, and practically speaking, there's only so much time your average person can invest in getting bigger numbers before they fall off for one reason or another.

Between planning, playing and DMing I spend about 30 hours a week on D&D. 'That does not include time on this forum.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I will say high level play starts to drag for me and levels 15-20, so if it took a month to gain a level I think it would disintigrate.
Every 5e game I've played has made it take about that much time just to reach level 2 (apart from the two games that didn't start at level 1.) No exaggeration. Easily a dozen games where just reaching level 2 takes 12-16 hours of play. All of them with different DMs and players.

I've never seen any of those games reach level 3.
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
Every 5e game I've played has made it take about that much time just to reach level 2 (apart from the two games that didn't start at level 1.) No exaggeration. Easily a dozen games where just reaching level 2 takes 12-16 hours of play. All of them with different DMs and players.

I've never seen any of those games reach level 3.
This is incredible. I think it’s about 3 encounters to level 2?

(Edit: I may be underestimating but 4 sounds right).
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I also think it's weirdly better for D&D as a business if high-level play isn't common. The more you restart, the more character options and adventures you have. The more stuff WotC can sell you. It's a bit like a time slot for a TV show. If the D&D game is "one year long", then you fill that time slot with different characters and adventures each year. If the game is two years long, that's half the "new" content (and requires bigger, more expensive up-front costs for longer-lasting content - bigger adventures, more complex character options, etc.).
It would be better for business if players could easily start higher level campaigns.

WOTC could dump out a brunch of feats, items, and subclasses and payers can start a new campaign with a bunch of them.
 


Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
I'm aware of what it's (allegedly) supposed to be. I have yet to see it.
Based on normal party size…

I realize different groups do different things. What was stated was just so far outside of what I have seen I commented.

At level one in particular spell selection is small, bonus actions few and number of attacks is usually one. I have found combat encounters fly by 🤷

I can see how social encounters/travel would be a lot more variable of course and I know some groups are weighted more in those areas.
 

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