RPG Theory- The Limits of My Language are the Limits of My World

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I think the attrition model in 5e is pretty much uniquely unsuited to scene based play, even the more linear sort used by most Vampire GMs. It absolutely can be done, but if you care about reaching the point where the game's systems feel tense you absolutely have to orchestrate it or at the very least design scenarios to it. My personal experience is that even Pathfinder First Edition (if you ban fighters or just let natural selection take its course) handles scene based play somewhat better because you can still make single fight days feel pretty damn intense.

Of course a lot of people will not see the issue because reaching the system's tension points is not something they particularly care about or even really desire. A lot of 5e play does not even come close to the tension point built into the game pretty much ever. That's part of the appeal for some people. I have seen a fair number of 5e players try games like Pathfinder Second Edition, Exalted Third Edition, or L5R Fifth Edition with me and not enjoy the scene based play specifically because of the level of tension in the encounters.

That's fine by the way guys. Not everyone is into the sort of uncertainty I am.
 

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hawkeyefan

Legend
I feel like 5e could be GMed with a more story now approach. I don't think it's strongly suited for it. I think the adventuring day "budget" and the short rest/long rest recharges are where the strongest opposition would be.

But I don't think it's something that can't be done. I feel like I've GMed with this general goal in mind in a campaign my group was playing that went on hold at the start of the pandemic. I'm sure if I could look back over a transcript of play, there would be points that clearly failed the sniff test, but I don't think it might be as many as would be typical in 5e.

I think if the GM and the players are approaching play with this mindset, then it's possible.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I feel like 5e could be GMed with a more story now approach. I don't think it's strongly suited for it. I think the adventuring day "budget" and the short rest/long rest recharges are where the strongest opposition would be.

But I don't think it's something that can't be done. I feel like I've GMed with this general goal in mind in a campaign my group was playing that went on hold at the start of the pandemic. I'm sure if I could look back over a transcript of play, there would be points that clearly failed the sniff test, but I don't think it might be as many as would be typical in 5e.

I think if the GM and the players are approaching play with this mindset, then it's possible.
I think another important part of this is the actual make-up of the party. The amount of magic and the potentially competing rest mechanics change the picture a lot. I also think this is much more doable at lower adventuring tiers when the party as a whole has less on-tap resources.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I feel like 5e could be GMed with a more story now approach. I don't think it's strongly suited for it. I think the adventuring day "budget" and the short rest/long rest recharges are where the strongest opposition would be.

But I don't think it's something that can't be done. I feel like I've GMed with this general goal in mind in a campaign my group was playing that went on hold at the start of the pandemic. I'm sure if I could look back over a transcript of play, there would be points that clearly failed the sniff test, but I don't think it might be as many as would be typical in 5e.

I think if the GM and the players are approaching play with this mindset, then it's possible.
"More" is doing work here, and in saying you could do it "more" story now, I don't think I could disagree. There are places you can do it "more," but you can't just run it story now. Not without serious revisions. I mean, I've absolutely used skill challenge frameworks that were situation-framed and they work. But, overall, it's still very GM directed, and has to be, if you aren't ignoring large parts of the system in play.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
A lot of 5e play does not even come close to the tension point built into the game pretty much ever.

I'm currently playing in a game and this is what I'm finding to be true, due to a combination of reasons. There are five players, and so five characters, which just spreads out all the resource management that much further. Short rests have been easy to come by, and two of the PCs are monks, so they get to use their Ki freely without ever having to strongly consider conservation for later use. These kinds of things, combined with the generally forgiving nature of 5e (death saves, full HP restore on long rest, etc.), just mean that any actual moments of tension aren't all that strong. Sure, there may be concern that a character will drop to 0 hp....but if that happens, there's very little actual worry that he'll die.

I've been playing my character in a pretty reckless manner just to see if I can get him killed. Not actively seeking death, but doing nothing much to actively prevent it.

I don't really see it happening, at least not unless things change a bit. He's also an archer, so he tends to be out of a lot of immediate danger compared to other characters. There have been moments where he's gotten in danger and it feels a bit tense....but as I said, it's minimally so.

This isn't a complaint about the game overall, to be honest....I'm enjoying it just fine. There are moments of actual tension, but they're more story based, or about NPCs or other elements that may be at risk rather than the PCs.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
"More" is doing work here, and in saying you could do it "more" story now, I don't think I could disagree. There are places you can do it "more," but you can't just run it story now. Not without serious revisions. I mean, I've absolutely used skill challenge frameworks that were situation-framed and they work. But, overall, it's still very GM directed, and has to be, if you aren't ignoring large parts of the system in play.

Oh, sure....I don't know if I'd say running it in a pure story now mode is even possible. But I think if you're approaching with that mindset, you can play that way.

Skill challenge type scenarios are a good part of it. I've used clocks a lot just because they're simple to deploy. That's not anything that's really described in the rules, but I don't think that's a major revision.

Fronts rather than detailed map/key type locations. Tweaks to the way certain skills work, especially more "knowledge" based ones. Asking questions, building on answers. These all can help do a lot of the work.

I think the basic design and the way characters are constructed is the challenge. But a lot of that can also be a problem if you run 5e as written if you're not creating the proper number/difficulty of challenges to put pressure on the PCs' resources. But that can be handled through the use of multiple scenes/obstacles. Again, it's not a perfect match in this regard, but I don't see it as impossible so much as a bit of a challenge.
 

gorice

Adventurer
While we're putting the boot into 5e, I want to mention that I've found it very unsuitable for traditional dungeon-delving, map-and-key play, as well. Even at 1st level, PCs have access to insane amounts of utility through cantrips, which makes it very difficult (but not impossible) to provide challenges that aren't just monsters and certian kinds of traps. And combat encounters are a different problem: no chase rules, attrition-based balance combined with tactical-based play and no system for rapid combat resolution... It's either a drawn-out mess, an underwhelming speed bump, or a 'tippy' set of tough battles. All of this is fixable with houserules and/or fiat, but that sort of defeats the purpose.

I actually think 5e is much better suited to scene-based play, so long as you substitute something like giffyglyph's 4e-inspired monster maker for the normal monster & encounter rules.
 

Aldarc

Legend
The question of whether Game A could be run with Playstyle X seems a bit off. I think the more fundamental question is whether running Game A with Playstyle X actually plays to the strengths of Game A in a way that does justice to the game experience for everyone involved.

While we're putting the boot into 5e, I want to mention that I've found it very unsuitable for traditional dungeon-delving, map-and-key play, as well. Even at 1st level, PCs have access to insane amounts of utility through cantrips, which makes it very difficult (but not impossible) to provide challenges that aren't just monsters and certian kinds of traps. And combat encounters are a different problem: no chase rules, attrition-based balance combined with tactical-based play and no system for rapid combat resolution... It's either a drawn-out mess, an underwhelming speed bump, or a 'tippy' set of tough battles. All of this is fixable with houserules and/or fiat, but that sort of defeats the purpose.

I actually think 5e is much better suited to scene-based play, so long as you substitute something like giffyglyph's 4e-inspired monster maker for the normal monster & encounter rules.
I think that's why some see 5e as being more in the spirit of 2e-style D&D (and Dragonlance) than anything else.
 

gorice

Adventurer
The question of whether Game A could be run with Playstyle X seems a bit off. I think the more fundamental question is whether running Game A with Playstyle X actually plays to the strengths of Game A in a way that does justice to the game experience for everyone involved.


I think that's why some see 5e as being more in the spirit of 2e-style D&D (and Dragonlance) than anything else.
My memories of 2e are pretty hazy. Do you mean 'trad', follow-the-adventure-path kind of play?
 


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