D&D 5E Poll on the Reaper: is damage on missed melee attack roll believable and balanced?

Is the Reaper believable and balanced (i.e. not overpowered)?



log in or register to remove this ad

Ahnehnois

First Post
It's pretty bad on both counts.

It's breaking the tenuous assumptions of how D&D combat works (that if you beat the AC, you hit and if you don't, you don't), but in a very obtuse way. If this were a game where attack and damage went hand in hand or AC was split into blocking and dodging, things would be different, but as it is, every character in the game, when he rolls below the target's AC hears a description about he failed to do anything, unless he has this one special ability. The descriptions I've seen for this ability are unconvincing and serve mainly to show how mind-bending and decidedly un-D&D-like it is.

From a balance perspective, damage on a miss can be game-breaking against high-AC, low-HP foes, or in a variety of special situations. The same problem as with cantrip magic missile. An absolute guarantee of damage is not a good thing from a gameplay perspective.

***

Suggestion that would make it better

Benefit: Whenever you attack and miss your opponent's AC by 1, you can reroll the attack roll. You must accept the result of the second roll, even if it is worse.

Still useful and serving a similar purpose, without all the problems above.
 

Dausuul

Legend
It's certainly not a balance concern. As far as believability... hmm. I can see ways to describe it, like "you're skilled enough to always score at least a glancing blow," that don't break the narrative. The explanation given in the text, however, is extremely weak. A "near miss" should not be doing hit point damage, because of this simple principle so often forgotten by 4E:

Anything that does hit point damage can kill you.

Period. No exceptions. If it does hit point damage, it can kill the mightiest storm giant under the right circumstances. The "near miss" explanation ignores this principle. An axe whistling an inch over your head might scare you, but it won't kill you*.

I think what really bothers me about the Reaper ability is that it stinks of something that was conceived as an abstract mechanic (fighter deals damage on a miss), then given a throwaway justification and put in the game. 3E had too much of that. 4E had way too much. I don't want to see it in D&DN.

[size=-2]*Yeah, yeah, the guy has a heart attack and dies of fright. Explanations like that are funny, but they get to sounding incredibly stupid when you have to apply them to four kobolds in succession. And we're not all looking for that kind of comedy, anyway.[/size]
 
Last edited:

eamon

Explorer
No option for 'It should be melee only.'
My intent was for the poll only to apply to melee damage on miss, but the poll options turned out too long.

Darn, I wish I had thought to stick it in the poll question.

I agree that the ranged story deserves its own consideration...
 

erleni

First Post
It's certainly not a balance concern. As far as believability... hmm. I can see ways to describe it, like "you're skilled enough to always score at least a glancing blow," that don't break the narrative. The explanation given in the text, however, is extremely weak. A "near miss" should not be doing hit point damage, because of this simple principle so often forgotten by 4E:

Anything that does hit point damage can kill you.

Period. No exceptions. If it does hit point damage, it can kill the mightiest storm giant under the right circumstances. The "near miss" explanation ignores this principle. An axe whistling an inch over your head might scare you, but it won't kill you*.

I think what really bothers me about the Reaper ability is that it stinks of something that was conceived as an abstract mechanic (fighter deals damage on a miss), then given a throwaway justification and put in the game. 3E had too much of that. 4E had way too much. I don't want to see it in D&DN.

[SIZE=-2]*Yeah, yeah, the guy has a heart attack and dies of fright. Explanations like that are funny, but they get to sounding incredibly stupid when you have to apply them to four kobolds in succession. And we're not all looking for that kind of comedy, anyway.[/SIZE]

I don't see a problem in "miss" damage killing an enemy. Nowhere in D&D I've seen a definition of "hit". As far as I can see, hitting just means delivering an amount of damage that reduces the enemy's HP pool (and HP are vague as well). Damage on a miss just means that your enemy will never avoid your attack without expending some resources, and killing on a miss means that your Reaper will never "miss" the chance to deliver a killing blow.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I don't see a problem in "miss" damage killing an enemy. Nowhere in D&D I've seen a definition of "hit". As far as I can see, hitting just means delivering an amount of damage that reduces the enemy's HP pool (and HP are vague as well). Damage on a miss just means that your enemy will never avoid your attack without expending some resources, and killing on a miss means that your Reaper will never "miss" the chance to deliver a killing blow.


Since xp are turned off, I'll just say I fully agree with this statement.
 

El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
IMO it's balanced (math-wise), but not believable. I understand what the designers see in it: a simple, mathematical mechanic to make the Fighter deal commensurate damage (commensurate with the idea of a Fighter being a bad ass)...but I believe that a mathematically balanced mechanic can also be made in a way that has a believable explanation (fluff). It takes more work, but it can be done...and in this case I do not believe the work was done as far as it should have been.

B-)
 

IMO it's balanced (math-wise), but not believable. I understand what the designers see in it: a simple, mathematical mechanic to make the Fighter deal commensurate damage (commensurate with the idea of a Fighter being a bad ass)...but I believe that a mathematically balanced mechanic can also be made in a way that has a believable explanation (fluff). It takes more work, but it can be done...and in this case I do not believe the work was done as far as it should have been.

B-)

In my opinion balance, playability and fluff can (and my preference is should) be achieved at the same time. There is no need to throw believability out the window to have balance. While I am impressed with much of Next I think wotc has a lot of recent history of, as you put it, not doing the work needed.
 

I don't like it at all...it wrecks my willful suspension of disbelief. In my brain, a miss means a failure to deal damage. If a creature takes damage (of any kind, for any reason, however it is defined), it somehow got hit. Therefore, the attack was not a miss. Therefore, my disbelief shatters.

Maybe I'm "doing it wrong." But that's how I'm always going to do it.

I'd XP you but that module seems to be down.

I have the same problem. The amount of damage isn't a big deal, but I have an issue dealing with a failure that is still a success. Rolling a "1" on a d20 should not inflict damage.
 


Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top