log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Opportunity attacks : low vs high level consequences

MoutonRustique

Explorer
This thread got me thinking about low vs high level play with regards to mobility, "tanking" and opportunity attacks.

The thread illustrates something that's been obvious for a while : fighters gain most of their damage through multiple attacks while the individual attack damage itself increases moderately - but it just now kind of clicked for me to wonder what that will mean in high levels with regards to opportunity attacks.

At low levels, a single fighter attack is a very big deal to most creatures. As such, taking an OA is quite a dis-incentive to ignoring the metal-clad weapon wielder. Even if there are many creatures and the metal-dude only gets one OA per round, you could say that none want to go first and so no-one goes.

At higher levels, a single fighter attack is very much less of a big deal (three of them still hurts, but one is a good deal more acceptable). Ignoring that hard-to-hit metal-dude to go after softer targets seems like a much better plan then. This seems a strange evolution to me...

While I understand that "tanking" is mostly out, I'm wondering about some curious possible effects from the "single attack" AO and the "damage through multiple attacks" mechanics. Especially if other classes have melee capabilities that don't derive from multiple attacks - don't have the PHB, are there?

Am I the only one pondering on this? (Like the silence thing...)
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Pillsy

First Post
Am I the only one pondering on this? (Like the silence thing...)
No, I've been thinking about this a lot. The new edition really seems to limit the ability of characters to control space, as they're limited to a single reaction and a single attack.

The Sentinel feat (p.169 of the PHB) helps a little, in that it stops the target in its tracks. Battle Master maneuvers can make things a little better, too, because you add damage from superiority dice, can inflict statuses (like prone and frightened) that make it harder for the target to go about their business, and, by the RAW, can stack many maneuvers onto a single hit. In both cases, though, the single reaction is a major limitation.
 

MoutonRustique

Explorer
Thank you.

I guess we'll see if the higher levels actually see regular play (as opposed to previously) and if it comes up as something noteworthy.
 

Kaylos

First Post
I was thinking the same thing. I was coming from the angle that the real advantage of great weapons was the larger damage you could do with opportunity attacks. But after looking at it, I realized the same thing. It is very strong at the very beginning, but something easily ignored by higher level creatures where eating the damage could give them a real advantage. However with bounded accuracy, lower level monsters with lower HP totals may remain an issue in larger numbers for high level characters. Still though, the lack of scaling or even option for scaling for someone wanting to maintain a level of battlefield control seems odd.

The questions I suppose are, would it be worth house-ruling to maintain effectiveness? What would be unintended consequences of doing so? for instance, suppose you allow extra attacks on an opportunity attack. How much rolling could a fighter do before it is too much rolling? Would fighters do too much damage with multiple attack opportunity attacks since you could potentially fabricate situations that allowed them to get the effect, making encounters a matter of CC for fighter opportunity attack glory. Maybe there are other ways other than damage like Sentinel does, changing the stop movement of a OA into a 0 movement rest of turn. It is a very nice effect that is much more controlling than simple damage and it is already in there for the aspiring tank.
 

Eirikrautha

First Post
This thread got me thinking about low vs high level play with regards to mobility, "tanking" and opportunity attacks.

The thread illustrates something that's been obvious for a while : fighters gain most of their damage through multiple attacks while the individual attack damage itself increases moderately - but it just now kind of clicked for me to wonder what that will mean in high levels with regards to opportunity attacks.

At low levels, a single fighter attack is a very big deal to most creatures. As such, taking an OA is quite a dis-incentive to ignoring the metal-clad weapon wielder. Even if there are many creatures and the metal-dude only gets one OA per round, you could say that none want to go first and so no-one goes.

At higher levels, a single fighter attack is very much less of a big deal (three of them still hurts, but one is a good deal more acceptable). Ignoring that hard-to-hit metal-dude to go after softer targets seems like a much better plan then. This seems a strange evolution to me...

While I understand that "tanking" is mostly out, I'm wondering about some curious possible effects from the "single attack" AO and the "damage through multiple attacks" mechanics. Especially if other classes have melee capabilities that don't derive from multiple attacks - don't have the PHB, are there?

Am I the only one pondering on this? (Like the silence thing...)

I think this is intended. Remember comments by M. Mearls (I think it was him) that the team wanted to make lower CR monsters viable threats even at higher levels. The inability to "tank" really does help that be possible. A 4-on-4 fight at low level could be approached so that the squishy wizard faces at most one (and maybe no) attacks. But 12-on-4 several levels later will continue to be a threat because the squishies will not be able to avoid the combat as easily, and the martials will still be limited as to how many mooks they can kill per round. Plus, the Protection fighting style can help somewhat, keeping fighters quite relevant in these cases.

I think it's a feature, not a bug. I'd be willing to bet that this will change tactics for the better, and tone down the "glass cannons" in the long run...
 


Juriel

First Post
I think it's a feature, not a bug. I'd be willing to bet that this will change tactics for the better, and tone down the "glass cannons" in the long run...

Tactics with this: wolves form a conga line, as you can attack at any point of movement, and after the first one eats the Fighter's AoO, the rest just walk past him and each bite the Wizard in turn, then move out of the way of the next wolf.

Not sure if that's working as intended.
 

I think this is intended. Remember comments by M. Mearls (I think it was him) that the team wanted to make lower CR monsters viable threats even at higher levels. The inability to "tank" really does help that be possible. A 4-on-4 fight at low level could be approached so that the squishy wizard faces at most one (and maybe no) attacks. But 12-on-4 several levels later will continue to be a threat because the squishies will not be able to avoid the combat as easily, and the martials will still be limited as to how many mooks they can kill per round. Plus, the Protection fighting style can help somewhat, keeping fighters quite relevant in these cases.

I think it's a feature, not a bug. I'd be willing to bet that this will change tactics for the better, and tone down the "glass cannons" in the long run...

None of this is really true.

The "squishies" (presumably Wizards?) will get MUCH better at killing multiple low-CR opponents as they level up, with access to really serious AE damage and CC spells. They only get better at dealing with "many opponents" situations.

Equally, Fighters get better at dealing with multiple weak opponents, as do Rangers, as the level up. They can thin the field a great deal faster.

What changes is that Fighters (etc.) get much worse at controlling the battlefield whilst "squishies" get much BETTER at it. That does not seem to be "by design", and none of your arguments really seem to suggest that it is.

The idea that using your Reaction to impose Disadvantage once/round is going to "keep Fighters relevant" is pretty dodgy, imho. It requires the Fighter to use a 1h weapon (lowering his damage), right next to the victim (so you've already failed, in a sense) and is obviously inferior to actually preventing/dissuading the target from making the attack in the first place.
 

Kinak

First Post
Splitting damage out into a bunch of different attacks definitely decreases the usefulness of AoOs. In my Pathfinder homebrew, I've collapsed monsters down to one attack and it's very obvious in the way that players work to avoid AoOs.

Making tactics the most important at first level, when any one hit can knock you out, then pulling that back over time... seems weird to me. Why throw people in the deep end if you're not committed to making them swim?

In any case, if this is a big problem for your group, multiplying damage instead of making multiple attacks is a solid option. It also makes (dis)advantage work way more smoothly.

Cheers!
Kinak
 

Eirikrautha

First Post
Tactics with this: wolves form a conga line, as you can attack at any point of movement, and after the first one eats the Fighter's AoO, the rest just walk past him and each bite the Wizard in turn, then move out of the way of the next wolf.

Not sure if that's working as intended.

Sure it is. It works to establish that you need to find another table, since any DM that has animal-intelligence opponents concentrate on wizards and use advanced tactics is only looking to screw you over. So it helps you find a new DM. :]
 

Eirikrautha

First Post
None of this is really true.

The "squishies" (presumably Wizards?) will get MUCH better at killing multiple low-CR opponents as they level up, with access to really serious AE damage and CC spells. They only get better at dealing with "many opponents" situations.

Equally, Fighters get better at dealing with multiple weak opponents, as do Rangers, as the level up. They can thin the field a great deal faster.

What changes is that Fighters (etc.) get much worse at controlling the battlefield whilst "squishies" get much BETTER at it. That does not seem to be "by design", and none of your arguments really seem to suggest that it is.

The idea that using your Reaction to impose Disadvantage once/round is going to "keep Fighters relevant" is pretty dodgy, imho. It requires the Fighter to use a 1h weapon (lowering his damage), right next to the victim (so you've already failed, in a sense) and is obviously inferior to actually preventing/dissuading the target from making the attack in the first place.

I'm not sure whether you are agreeing with me or arguing in the first part. My contention is that 5e is purposely reducing the "crowd-control" aspect of tactics that grew up out of 3e and grid-based combat. While all classes do rise in power, bounded accuracy and other systems still restrain their ability to roflstomp low-level threats. From Mike Mearls, himself: "So things like Orcs and Ogres are still viable threats at higher levels: You just fight more of them." (www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/tabletop/11554-Inside-the-Launch-of-the-New-Dungeons-Dragons-With-Designer-Mike.3). So while a wizard might be able to fireball a group of mooks, that doesn't eliminate the threat of some getting to him.

Battlefield "control" is a relatively new concept (I think I'll start a thread about this later), partly based on the return to grid combat as default and partly because of the influence of MMOs. Compare "Dig" in 1e or 2e to "Create Pit," the original was far more useful as a way to shape the battlefield before an engagement than as an in-combat mechanic. Likewise, the only "opportunity attack" from 1e and 2e require the opponent to be fleeing from melee. Repositioning to another melee combatant within the melee gained no such free attacks (RAW). So the rules to allow players to force mobs away from squishies pretty much are recent inventions (2e did allow an adjacent ally to block for a withdrawing character... but that's a far cry from battlefield control).

Once again, this is an intended change. The primary restraint on 1e and 2e casters were their limited number of spells and the danger of casting in combat (their fragility). Later rules both increased the number and efficacy of spells, as well as allowed martial characters to funnel mooks away from the casters. Both of these exacerbated the LFQW problem. Note that 5e has reestablished both of the features of earlier D&Ds: fewer spells (with cantrips to keep the players engaged and having fun) and the reduction of crowd control. I don't see how you can say that this is not the intended outcome...
 

So while a wizard might be able to fireball a group of mooks, that doesn't eliminate the threat of some getting to him.

Sure it does. Dead things can't hit you. The idea that CC is "new" is violently wrong. It's name is new. The concept is as old as war.

The idea that AoOs in 3E made LFQW worse is practically 1984-style doublespeak! :D I applaud you, sir!
 
Last edited:


Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Tactics with this: wolves form a conga line, as you can attack at any point of movement, and after the first one eats the Fighter's AoO, the rest just walk past him and each bite the Wizard in turn, then move out of the way of the next wolf.

Not sure if that's working as intended.

If it's an open field, sure that can still work. But if it's a narrow corridor they are going by, doesn't work so well as moving through your allies space is now difficult terrain.
 


The ability of martials to shield wizards from the threat of melee makes wizards even more powerful (as they can be glass cannons with impunity). This is not a difficult concept.

It's pee in the ocean, and truly ludicrous to bring up. 4E has no LFQW and by far the best defensive Fighters, too.
 

Pillsy

First Post
It's pee in the ocean, and truly ludicrous to bring up.
It's not obvious to me why it's ludicrous. The wizard will be spending slots and/or actions on shields, thunderwaves and misty steps if they're getting mobbed more often, which does constrain their effectiveness. The fact that it's a different design approach from 4E doesn't really address the issue, IMO.
 

It's not obvious to me why it's ludicrous. The wizard will be spending slots and/or actions on shields, thunderwaves and misty steps if they're getting mobbed more often, which does constrain their effectiveness. The fact that it's a different design approach from 4E doesn't really address the issue, IMO.

I was discussing the idea that it mattered to LFQW in 3E as was asserted. In 5E it's very low on the list of LFQW-influencers. Pee in the pool instead of the ocean. :)
 


Juriel

First Post
It's not obvious to me why it's ludicrous. The wizard will be spending slots and/or actions on shields, thunderwaves and misty steps if they're getting mobbed more often, which does constrain their effectiveness. The fact that it's a different design approach from 4E doesn't really address the issue, IMO.

It's actually more likely they'll spend slots on making their alpha strike even better, making them more of glass cannons...

Because it's unlikely they can withstand the conga line of beat-ass that any enemy party can bring against them (let alone if they have ranged attacks).
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top