D&D 5E Should Explicit Monster Roles Return?

Should Explicit Monster Roles Return?

  • Yes

    Votes: 58 58.6%
  • No

    Votes: 41 41.4%


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Stalker0

Legend
roles are one of the best things about 4e, they 100% should make a comeback. 4e recognized that it takes a party to beat a party, and that allowing DMs to create a monster party with role fulfilled created the best overall experience. Or by concentrating on one role it immediately gave you a good expectation on the kind of fight this was going to be.

Lastly, I think roles are good for the monster design as well, because at the end of the day monsters are made to be fought and dealt with. Monsters need to be good at specific things to be a challenge to PCs, and a monster design needs to have that guiding star to point them in the right direction.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I think stat blocks are for combat encounters, and everything else is fiction that doesn’t need stats? This was the other side of why 4e could do what it did - if you were convincing a unicorn to teleport you to a fairy glade, that was a SC outcome or step and it was handled entirely via narrative. The stat blocks inform when you enter combat space, and maybe stealth / perception.

I’d prefer going to that too, but understand it’s outside of this thread.
Yeah, "combat space" is really telling – I think you're describing a state of mind that differs from all other arenas of play during a TTRPG session. I would guess for a large segment of folks who played and enjoyed 4e, that one of the selling points was getting into "combat space."

But for someone like me – who enjoys an "encounter" as a multi-variable challenge where talking, stabbing, casting, questioning all bleed together so there isn't that hard line between "explore space" or "talk space" and "combat space"? Uff, that was hard.

It's my deep dark underlying fear of monster stat blocks – and defining monsters by combat role. The more we play with digital tools, the more the stat block rises to prominence as the thing we focus on, and the less the written "flavor" text is transmitted. I fear there's a technology influence driving an already combat-focused game to effectively an even more combat-focused one.
 

zakael19

Adventurer
Yeah, "combat space" is really telling – I think you're describing a state of mind that differs from all other arenas of play during a TTRPG session. I would guess for a large segment of folks who played and enjoyed 4e, that one of the selling points was getting into "combat space."

But for someone like me – who enjoys an "encounter" as a multi-variable challenge where talking, stabbing, casting, questioning all bleed together so there isn't that hard line between "explore space" or "talk space" and "combat space"? Uff, that was hard.

It's my deep dark underlying fear of monster stat blocks – and defining monsters by combat role. The more we play with digital tools, the more the stat block rises to prominence as the thing we focus on, and the less the written "flavor" text is transmitted. I fear there's a technology influence driving an already combat-focused game to effectively an even more combat-focused one.

OTOH, 4e baked in rules on handling social aspects in combat encounters - it simply used unified DCs that are external to monster profiles. Not that some profiles don’t still have specific skill training indicated! Same thing with everything else, the core ruleset handles how to work all those skills into encounters - but it’s system held & not monster held.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Aah I see!

Solo might not be a good term but I think we could still have a term to indicate an enemy is designed to be a dramatic centerpiece to a final fight.
I feel this is where lair actions and variant rules come in.

A werewolf is a normal brute.

A werewolf alpha has access to the Rage of the Moon and Terrifying Howl which let's them take down a whole party.
 

Undrave

Legend
I feel this is where lair actions and variant rules come in.

A werewolf is a normal brute.

A werewolf alpha has access to the Rage of the Moon and Terrifying Howl which let's them take down a whole party.
Oh yeah, Lair Actions! And Legendary Resistance.

Maybe something to indicate which monsters already come with either of those? And the book could include additional lair actions you can slap onto monsters of your choice. Each lair action could add to the stats of the monster too, to make them tougher. I guess nothing stops you from including Legendary Resistance as a Lair Action? Or maybe just 'Legendary Actions' with some of them be classified as Lair Action? Each one you add would then increase the XP value and CR of the monster in addition to making them tougher.

'Legendary Monster' sounds cooler than 'Solo', and having cool the tools to turn anything into one would be cool as well.
 



Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Yeah, "combat space" is really telling – I think you're describing a state of mind that differs from all other arenas of play during a TTRPG session. I would guess for a large segment of folks who played and enjoyed 4e, that one of the selling points was getting into "combat space."

But for someone like me – who enjoys an "encounter" as a multi-variable challenge where talking, stabbing, casting, questioning all bleed together so there isn't that hard line between "explore space" or "talk space" and "combat space"? Uff, that was hard.

It's my deep dark underlying fear of monster stat blocks – and defining monsters by combat role. The more we play with digital tools, the more the stat block rises to prominence as the thing we focus on, and the less the written "flavor" text is transmitted. I fear there's a technology influence driving an already combat-focused game to effectively an even more combat-focused one.
I think they can be both though - for instance if I get a Goblin with a tag "stealthy skirmisher" or "lurker" then that gives me both combat role and a bit of rp information too, an Aboleth tagged as "Psychic Controller" is also a indicator of rp.

Thats more helpful than having stuff buried in the prose description.
 
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