D&D 5E No One Plays High Level?

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
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.




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

I think that's a good deal faster than most tables, and also points to D&D not needing 20 levels.

If you're roaring through 20 levels in 4 months, and you play 1/week, that's a level per week, one level per session, one level per four hours or so of play time. I wonder how many monsters you get through in that time frame, how many dungeon rooms, how many class features or spells get used vs. how many sit gathering dust on the character sheet. In other words, how much content are you using?

If D&D just had 5 levels, and each level was a bigger jump in power, more focused on the content you use, how much smaller and cheaper could the core books be?

Of course, there ARE tables that use all that content in a small time frame, I'm sure, just as there are tables that use a much longer time frame to do the same. There's natural variance, which means there's a balance to strike between granular and chunky levels, to be sure. One where a fast table and a slow table are still getting good value from the same ruleset. My inclination is to say the balance is a little too much on the "granular" side today, that there's a lot of content that just doesn't get used, often because it takes too long in actual play for it to come up. I imagine going through levels faster would highlight that problem - there'd be fewer instances of more niche features and spells, overall, and a lot more unused content.

30 hrs on D&D a week is almost a full-time job. How many hours per week should D&D be made to play at its core? I don't think 30 (though, y'know, I don't think we need to abandon the 30+ hrs people, either). I think more like 4.

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.

I think this idea's got some legs, but I do think that the audience is limited. "Number gets bigger" is a compelling game mechanic, and you don't see that growth if you're starting at level 17. There's also a pretty significant amount of detail and complexity for high-level characters that is easier to handle if you see that character grow, and can be easily overwhelming if you just start the game that high. And then there's the sort of instinct to start at the beginning that's going to make "level 1" appealing regardless of how powerful in the world we define Level 1 to be.

If we wanted to start high-level campaigns, we might be better off defining what we want out of high-level campaigns (teleportation? big damage? dragon-slaying?) and making those more possible at lower levels. Or just getting some of those aesthetic elements in for a particular adventure and assuming the players start with them in that particular adventure.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
If you're roaring through 20 levels in 4 months, and you play 1/week, that's a level per week, one level per session, one level per four hours or so of play time. I wonder how many monsters you get through in that time frame,

If you play using XP and have medium encounters you will be in about 150 fights between 1st level and 20th level I think

Most of the games I play, including both of the 1-20 examples, are published adventures and we used milestone advancement. So however many rooms or maps or monsters it has between levels.

I can say going from level 5 to level 6 in a recent session involved a sewer with about 20 rooms. In that sewer our party of 5 had 9 fights fighting the following enemies:

2 Red Dragon Wyrmlings
Blue Dragon Wyrmling
2 Gold Dragon Wyrmlings
NPC Tiefling caster type (this was the BBEG, my guess based on spells and damage about equivalent to a 10th level Sorcerer)
4 cult fanatics
about 15 cultists
6 Minitaurs
4 Chain Ogres
Balgura
9 Specters
flameskull
Ghost
3 Ghasts
2 Basilisks
4 Poisionous Snake swarms


how many dungeon rooms, how many class features or spells get used vs. how many sit gathering dust on the character sheet. In other words, how much content are you using?

My Goblin Sorcerer-Wizard used all her spell slots, used her free cast of Shield, Dissonant Whispers and Misty step. Used Arcane recovery, used hypnotic gaze a bunch, used all her hit dice, used 1 potion of healing and 3 potions of greater healing. She did not use Fury of the Small.

Specific spells she cast:
Chill Touch (many times)
Booming Blade (many times)
Green Flame Blade (once)
Mage Hand (once)
Prestigitation (Many times - sewers! need to keep clean)
Sacred Flame (once)
Mage Armor (once)
Shield (once, free cast from Lunar Sorcerer)
Cause fear (twice at 2nd level)
Dissonant Whispers (several times including 1 free cast from Fey Touched)
Hold Person (twice I think, both upcast at 3rd level)
Flaming Sphere (once)
Misty Step (once, free cast from Fey Touched)
Tasha's Mind Whip (once)
Protection from Evil and Good (once)

Spells prepared and not used in that dungeon:
Friends
Catapult
Dragon's Breath
Disguise Self
Tasha's Hideous Laughter

Spells in book and not prepared or used:
Find Familiar (I actually had no money for incense to summon)
Comprehend Languages
Charm Person
Identify (I didn't have a pearl for it)


If D&D just had 5 levels, and each level was a bigger jump in power, more focused on the content you use, how much smaller and cheaper could the core books be?

I think generally people like to level up often. I know I usually do. Sometimes it can get tedious, especially if playing with pen and paper, but most of the time I like leveling often.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I think this idea's got some legs, but I do think that the audience is limited. "Number gets bigger" is a compelling game mechanic, and you don't see that growth if you're starting at level 17. There's also a pretty significant amount of detail and complexity for high-level characters that is easier to handle if you see that character grow, and can be easily overwhelming if you just start the game that high. And then there's the sort of instinct to start at the beginning that's going to make "level 1" appealing regardless of how powerful in the world we define Level 1 to be.
I didn't say high level characters can't grow. Just that they should be easier to build and run.

Streamline the bonuses. Cut out the fat and outdated. A Level 17 5e wizard can have 22 spells prepared and has 38 spells in the spellbooks. Meaning if you start a campaign at level 17, you are telling someone to choose 38 spells then choose 22 of them to have on the ready. And clerics get even more in domain spells and warlocks more in domain spells?

Why? Especially when the lower ones are too weak for damage and waste brainpower of the new and nudge the vets to cheese buffs and utility.

Why isn't spells prepared capped?
Why aren't bonus spells from subclasses capped?
Why don't low level slots fade away since 5e has a core upcasting system?
Why isn't there an optional set of Tier 3 and 4 feats that quickly help you stat up a high level PC but are blatantly underpowered at Tier 1 & 2? Or straight unavailable at low level due to prereqs?

Make building and running high levels PCs as easy as building and running a barbarian or rogue but keeping all the shenanigans?
Roll scores and HP. Make like 5 core class class choices. And only have ~10 options to worry about.

What if there were premade sheets for level 11 PCs of each class. All one or two of the spells, ASI, and feats chosen.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
There are DM's who want the leveling process to be much slower than 5e's.
Surely that's an easy fix? Just use milestone leveling?

All I can say is that it has been my experience. I have never--not a single time--gotten XP for doing anything but killing things in 5e.
I believe you, but wow. I always award XP for overcoming obstacles, hitting plot points, etc. Am I really that unusual??
 

ECMO3

Hero
Why? Especially when the lower ones are too weak for damage and waste brainpower of the new and nudge the vets to cheese buffs and utility.

This is not true IMO. The best low level spells are not damaging spells to start with (or they have a control aspect in addition to the damage) and many of them upcast very well and many others remain potent, or even become more potent at high levels.

Protection from Evil and Good is a great spell at any level, but it is actually MORE powerful at high level than at low level.

Things like Shield, Absorb Elements and Silvery Barbs remain potent and useful at high levels.

Cause Fear is effective at all levels and upcasts really well. Dissonant Whispers and Command are both very effective still at high level (and command upcasts)

Also although people don't like to hear it, Sleep is actually good at high levels. It is better at tier 4 than at tier 2. Reason is it bypasses any save or hit roll. Get the BBEG whittled down in hit points and then cast sleep and legendaries are useless. No hit roll required! It is situational sure, but really good in those situations.

You could do a whole lot worse with some high level spell choices.
Why isn't there an optional set of Tier 3 and 4 feats that quickly help you stat up a high level PC but are blatantly underpowered at Tier 1 & 2? Or straight unavailable at low level due to prereqs?

Because feat chains or prereqs are not fun in most campaings. This style of play is great for 1-shots but horrible for campaings, especially story-driven camapaings where players want their character to grow based on the story.

A LOT of players don't want to "choose" their 12th level feat at 4th level. The want to take what they want (or alternatively what the story dictates) at 4th level and not worry about having the right prerequisite in place for something else down the road at a level they may not even get to or worse with a story that does not end up driving the character towards that feat they prepped for.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
his is not true IMO. The best low level spells are not damaging spells to start with (or they have a control aspect in addition to the damage) and many of them upcast very well and many others remain potent, or even become more potent at high levels.

Protection from Evil and Good is a great spell at any level, but it is actually MORE powerful at high level than at low level.

Things like Shield, Absorb Elements and Silvery Barbs remain potent and useful at high levels.

Cause Fear is effective at all levels and upcasts really well. Dissonant Whispers and Command are both very effective still at high level (and command upcasts)

Also although people don't like to hear it, sleep is actually good at high levels. It is better at high level than at medium levels. Reason is it bypasses any save or hit roll. Get the BBEG whittled down in hit points and then cast sleep and his legendaries are useless. No hit roll required!

You could do a whole lot worse with some high level spell choices.
That's my point, bud.
That's been my whole point!

1st level spell slots are bad for damage at level 13. But you still have 4 of them. So vets and experts use them for control, defense, utility, or straight cheese.

But when I say "If people only use low level spells to cheese, remove them when you get to high level. They deal bad damage anyway and add to analysis paralysis.", fan say "No. I... I need them. I need to cast Shield 4 times or Silvery Barbs 4 times to make my turn take 20 minutes each. Plus Where do they go?"

That's what I mean.

D&D fans want rules and structures that make High Level harder to play, harder to run, take long as heck, and complex to use.
Then the same people complain about it being long, hard, and complex.
And if you dare suggest rules to make high level play faster, easier, or simpler, you meet resistance.

1703045724914.jpeg
 


EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I believe you, but wow. I always award XP for overcoming obstacles, hitting plot points, etc. Am I really that unusual??
I cannot say. I only know what I have played. And what I have played mires the experience in the first three levels for many weeks (assuming the game lasts long enough to get there.) It wouldn't hurt to give XP for the things you describe, that's for sure. I just didn't see people doing that in games where I was a player.

You'd think so, but I've still heard many complaints about the xp tables and how they just make for this rapid advancement that they don't care for.
Yep. Literally 100% of my experience of playing 5e is "wow, levels happen stupidly fast. We need to slow that down by a factor of two at least. Preferably 3-4." Whereas for me this is practically gaming torture; I already don't like playing low level (1st-3rd) 5e characters, who feel inept, fragile as hell, and limited. Forcing me to spend 8-12 sessions to merely reach level 4, let alone play it, is extremely off-putting. But, as stated, I find it nearly impossible to find games that start at anything higher than 1st level, so there's really no winning, especially when several campaigns have ended after the second or third session at 1st level produced a TPK.

Maybe I've just had nigh-miraculously horrible luck with 5e. It has always seemed to me to reflect the culture of play most folks describe when they speak highly of 5e on forums, though, so I don't think my issue is (solely) that I am become Job with the ashes of character sheets upon my head.
 

delericho

Legend
Yep. Literally 100% of my experience of playing 5e is "wow, levels happen stupidly fast. We need to slow that down by a factor of two at least. Preferably 3-4." Whereas for me this is practically gaming torture; I already don't like playing low level (1st-3rd) 5e characters, who feel inept, fragile as hell, and limited. Forcing me to spend 8-12 sessions to merely reach level 4, let alone play it, is extremely off-putting.
One of the smartest decisions they made with 5e was to set up the XP table so that levels 1 and 2 are intentionally much faster than the rest - they get parties into the "sweet spot" as fast as possible.

It sounds like your ideal would potentially be to leave those two levels alone and then slow the rate down. Or maybe not. :)
 

This is not true IMO. The best low level spells are not damaging spells to start with (or they have a control aspect in addition to the damage) and many of them upcast very well and many others remain potent, or even become more potent at high levels.

Protection from Evil and Good is a great spell at any level, but it is actually MORE powerful at high level than at low level.

Things like Shield, Absorb Elements and Silvery Barbs remain potent and useful at high levels.

Cause Fear is effective at all levels and upcasts really well. Dissonant Whispers and Command are both very effective still at high level (and command upcasts)

Also although people don't like to hear it, Sleep is actually good at high levels. It is better at tier 4 than at tier 2. Reason is it bypasses any save or hit roll. Get the BBEG whittled down in hit points and then cast sleep and legendaries are useless. No hit roll required! It is situational sure, but really good in those situations.
Web also gets better at high levels than low levels. At 3rd level, a creature making a Strength check to break out of your web has a decent chance of beating your save DC despite the fact that it doesn’t add its proficiency to the roll. Even strong characters have less than a 50% chance to beat a save DC of 18 or 19. And it’s a check not a save so it bypasses legendary resistances.

Not bad for a 2nd level multi-target spell!
 

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