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)?


Do you want the game to remain vague on what a miss is so that you'll be free to narrate however you please according to circumstance?
Yes, although I think by introducing Touch AC, it allows you to freely but accurately describe situations where missing or ineffectively hitting is important.

Would you prefer the game to have several types of misses and ways to figure out which one happened?
Just three states will do:
1) Miss (not make touch AC),
2) Ineffectively Hit (make touch AC but no AC), and
3) Effectively Hit (making AC).
This should be enough to cover issues such as contact poison, reaper damage, magically damaging touch and so on where isolating one of these three is logically important.

How do you represent an ability where you slowly but surely wear down a foe? Where even blocking it hurts you?
You separate physical wounds from everything else hit points represent (morale, turning a blow, luck, divine providence, skill etc.). Hit points then have the freedom to represent a reaper terrifyingly miss their opponent; the close call whiff - not making touch AC but taking away "morale" hit points. Alternatively you can wear them down by forcing them to block their blows (making touch AC but not their AC) and incurring a like number loss of hit points.

Wound points (for want of a better term) are used for physical damage. If a target has been reduced to zero hit points then the true reaper miss has no effect but the ineffective hit starts dealing strength mod. wound point damage. That is how I would deal with the reaper ability. [It also allows for warlord motivation, priestly blessings, and fighter heroics to increase allies hit points, but leave natural, mundane and divine healing to take care of wound points.]

3e had three different ACs and lethal and nonlethal damage (as well as negative levels to track) and 4e was happy to also split health into hit points, death saving throws failed, healing surges and healing surge values; and so I don't see the splitting of a character's health into hit points and wound points as being too many variables to keep track of based upon the most recent editions of the game. Certainly not too complicated for an alternative rules module anyway.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
And at level 16 I have few issues with the idea of one-shotting an ogre.
How much damage are your warrior types giving out on a swing?!

An Ogre should have, assuming it grew up big and strong like all the other Ogres, about 20-25 h.p. in 1e-2e, goddess-knows-how-many h.p. in 3e, and a reasonable number in 4e. No fighter in any edition is likely to one-shot that edition's average Ogre except - as I said earlier - on a spectacular critical.

Yet if you run into 4e Ogre minions and hit one, down it goes.

These minions remind me more of old-school illusions - big and rough and they can pack a punch, until you hit one and +poof+ it disappears.

Another question: does one ever run into a bunch of minions out for a stroll, without any "real monster" guardians? And if not, did realism just fly out the window?
YRUSirius said:
Wasn't Smaug... the DRAGON... one-shoted?
Yes, on a spectacular critical with a Dragonslayer arrow...

Lan-"one-hit-point monsters, now there's experience points on the hoof!"-efan
 


keterys

First Post
How much damage are your warrior types giving out on a swing?!

An Ogre should have, assuming it grew up big and strong like all the other Ogres, about 20-25 h.p. in 1e-2e, goddess-knows-how-many h.p. in 3e, and a reasonable number in 4e. No fighter in any edition is likely to one-shot that edition's average Ogre except - as I said earlier - on a spectacular critical.

Yet if you run into 4e Ogre minions and hit one, down it goes.
3e: 29 HP, which a 1st level character could do on a critical hit, and a higher level character could do with each single hit of their full attack.

90 HP in 4e at 6th level with average defense 18
1 HP at 16th with average defense 28
Note that it is very close to the same XP - almost as if it were the same ogre, but encountered 10 levels later.

A 4e 6th level rogue does about +13 attack, 3d8 + 10 damage, with the occasional extra die of damage, which means it takes them about 4 rounds to drop the ogre.

The same rogue against the 16th level ogre (which you'd never do, because it misses the narrative point) would take about 4 rounds to kill it.

It's not a perfect system by any means, but it served a very simple and focused purpose. For example, I can use them in high level adventures for handling hordes of enemies without unduly burdening the DM. Which is nice. If you didn't like them, it was easy to avoid them too - I dropped a few from another adventure that felt overused or insufficiently justified.
 

It's not a perfect system by any means, but it served a very simple and focused purpose.
True. It focused on expected screen time to determine hit points, rather than hit points to determine expected screen time. This focus on relating the world to the characters, rather than relating the characters to the world was one of the biggest changes our group experienced; a feature for some, a flaw for others.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise
 

Ridley's Cohort

First Post
In context, I find it perfectly realistic that some styles of fighting inevitably induce fatigue in the opponent. If that is the last 3 HP of the big monster, well, that monster looked like he was going to dodge clear, but he was so exhausted he mis-stepped and the axe landed.

Or the axe misses, but the reaper punched him right between the eyes.

Get creative. It is no different than trying to figure out how the halfling with dagger in hand landed the killing blow on the cloud giant.
 

pemerton

Legend
David got a crit that KOed Goliath then went up and administered a coup de grace with Goliath's own sword.
A crit that KOs a monster looks like a one-shot to me.

I don't know the 3E numbers. In AD&D there aren't crit rules, and to the best of my mechanical recollection its almost impossible to one shot a giant with a sling. For example, a 10th level ranger with specialisation could do 7 (max damage on a sling bullet vs L) +2 (specialisation, assuming UA) +10 (level) +1 (sling of seeking) = 20 hp damage. A hill giant (from memory) is 8d8 +1d2 hp - Goliath, being a notorious giant, presumably has at least average hp, or 38.

Yes, on a spectacular critical with a Dragonslayer arrow
Again, I don't know the 3E numbers, but Smaug is a Huge, Ancient red dragon, which in AD&D gives him 88 hp. There is no way to do that much damage in 1st ed AD&D with a single arrow (an Arrow of Slaying just bypasses the hit mechanics altogether).

I know of two basic mechanical techniques to introduce these one-shot KOs and kills. One is the RM, RQ etc approach of critical hits. The other is the 4e approach of stripping away the plot protection.
 

How much damage are your warrior types giving out on a swing?!

Lots!

An Ogre should have, assuming it grew up big and strong like all the other Ogres, about 20-25 h.p. in 1e-2e,

OK. Let's run the maths on this.

Post Unearthed Arcana fighter (or 2e fighter - same difference). Weapon Mastery, level 9. Longsword and Shield (two handed sword would be even clearer). So far you're attacking twice/round and doing d12+3 damage to a large creature.

Assume you've done quite well for yourself and managed to get a +2 longsword and gauntlets of ogre power (it saves time as I don't then need to overwrite your strength score). That's a further +2 damage from the sword and +6 from the gauntlets - I don't think either of these are over the top for a level 9 PC? So right now you are doing d12+11 damage or are capable of one-shotting an ogre with a simple high damage roll. And you can always two-shot them.

Now, let's continue.

Your Ogre has an AC of either 7 or 5 (3 if in chain). Assume 5. Which means that working from memory your fighter needs 20 to hit -5 (AC), -9 (Fighter's level) - 3 (Str) - 3 (Weapon Mastery) - 2 (+2 weapon). In short he's comfortably hitting the ogre on a 2 (and can still hit the ogre on a 2 if the ogre's in chain I think). And has a decent chance of one-shotting the ogre - if he fails he has a second attack in the round.

Alternatively give the fighter a +2 greatsword. He's still hitting on a 2. But instead of d12+11 damage he's doing 3d6+11 damage I think. So he's attacking twice/round, each attack with an almost 50% chance to one shot the ogre. Killing two ogres from full health in a single round isn't that unlikely for the greatsword fighter.

goddess-knows-how-many h.p. in 3e, and a reasonable number in 4e. No fighter in any edition is likely to one-shot that edition's average Ogre except - as I said earlier - on a spectacular critical.

I think I've disproved that assertion above. And gauntlets of ogre strength and a +2 longsword or +2 greatsword aren't especially Monty Haul-ish for a 9th level fighter. Neither is weapon mastery from the weapon specialisation rules unlikely.

Yet if you run into 4e Ogre minions and hit one, down it goes.

You miss the second part out about the minion example. Minions get +8 to all defences if you keep XP constant. This is to more or less keep the odds constant. So our 2e greatweapon fighter instead of hitting on a 2 and then killing almost half the time would be hitting on about a ten - or one shotting around half the time (slightly more one-shots, far fewer badly wounded but still standing ogres - the ogres probably go down more slowly when push comes to shove).

This does interesting things to the wizard - if he fireballs minion ogres, it's save or die time. But with a 9d6 fireball the ogres are likely to be dead if they don't save anyway - and they are no longer badly battered if they do. The big winner, of course, is the thief who gets to join in the one-shotting although he has a much harder time hitting the ogres than the fighter does. And 1e magic missile is simply broken in such an environment.

Another question: does one ever run into a bunch of minions out for a stroll, without any "real monster" guardians? And if not, did realism just fly out the window?

You can run across a bunch of kids playing marbles at any level.
 


Emerikol

Adventurer
I would never allow the miss damage in my campaign. If it's in just one spot, I'll houserule it to something else.

My number one complaint though is that a 1st level fighter can always damage a 20th level fighter. I just don't believe that is the case 100% of the time. Not in any fantasy world I would imagine. Also hit point wise, I'm in the camp that it represents some physical damage though tiny when you have a lot of hit points. Contact is made and injury is sustained. Sometimes though it's a small cut or bruise.
 

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