D&D General Should D&D Be "Hard"


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Remathilis

Legend
If that's "deadly" then what term is there for an encounter where one or more PCs is pretty much guaranteed to die unless the party avoids it, flees, or finds another solution that doesn't involve combat?
It's not an encounter. It's either an obstacle designed to impede the players progress, a setup for some future encounter, or it's a bit of world -building lore to remind players that there are always bigger fish. Or it's an intentional TPK.
 

I think it's perfectly fine if D&D's default setting is not particularly hard (however that is defined) - as long as (1) the game provides easily-implemented tools for DMs to make it harder to suit their table's tastes and (2) these tools are handily spelled out for DMs.

The 2014 DMG, so far as I am aware, more or less achieves condition (1), although I am sure a few more tools or a few tweaks to the existing ones would be welcome; its layout and organisation is such that it does not, to my mind, achieve condition (2). Hopefully the 2024 DMG does a better job on that score.
 

Hex08

Hero
The question is: should D&D be hard? That is, is D&D better when the chances of success are slimmer, when encounters and puzzles are more difficult, when a bad die roll or a poor decision can end lives, adventures or whole campaigns?
I think it's a yes and no answer. An adventure should have a fair number of easy encounters (not deadly) some that are tough (a possible chance of death), and the occasional/rare hard encounter (play smart or die). You don't want to ruin the players fun by killing them off constantly but there should be some sense of danger and challenge to keep it interesting.

Most importantly, read your table and find a happy medium between your players and yourself (assuming you are the DM).
 
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Incenjucar

Legend
The question - legitimately - then becomes "Should it?".

Should the DMG present a category of encounter that is specifically intended to be engaged with by means other than combat (which would kill the PCs dead), and present DM-side guidelines to how to run such?

I say it should.
I tried to set one of these up in my 4E game by letting the players know that the local frost giant lair had a frostbrand when they were way too low level to fight them. I was hoping they'd be sneaking around the lair trying to not get noticed because one wrong move and they'd get squished. Sadly, they noped out of it stuck to the nice safe village of cannibal snow elves.
 

Remathilis

Legend
The question - legitimately - then becomes "Should it?".

Should the DMG present a category of encounter that is specifically intended to be engaged with by means other than combat (which would kill the PCs dead), and present DM-side guidelines to how to run such?

I say it should.
I don't need the encounter table to tell me an ancient dragon will kill 3rd level PCs. I need the encounter table to tell me if a young dragon fight will. Of course a high challenge monster will usually win (the luck of the dice notwithstanding). Most creatures above a certain threshold do. The encounter creation rules are mostly for a DM to determine if the fight will NOT kill them. If you're a DM who doesn't care about such things, you ignore the challenge rating and daily XP budget and let the PCs know they are as likely to encounter a 16th level challenge as a 6th. You don't need the DMG to give you permission.
 

Reynard

Legend
I don't need the encounter table to tell me an ancient dragon will kill 3rd level PCs. I need the encounter table to tell me if a young dragon fight will. Of course a high challenge monster will usually win (the luck of the dice notwithstanding). Most creatures above a certain threshold do. The encounter creation rules are mostly for a DM to determine if the fight will NOT kill them. If you're a DM who doesn't care about such things, you ignore the challenge rating and daily XP budget and let the PCs know they are as likely to encounter a 16th level challenge as a 6th. You don't need the DMG to give you permission.
That wasn't the question. The question is what should we call the category beyond "deadly"?

I vote "blood sausage".
 

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