D&D 5E Should Explicit Monster Roles Return?

Should Explicit Monster Roles Return?

  • Yes

    Votes: 58 58.6%
  • No

    Votes: 41 41.4%

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I kind of wonder what the Venn diagram of people who find that choosing one of a very small number of descriptive terms that don't give tons of detail are really useful for sorting through monsters to use ... where A=Combat Role and B=typical Alignment*.


* Back when more creatures had a typical alignment, I recognize the change in the game now and am in favor
 

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Having all that in the header makes it faster to read, you've already labeled the monsters for the appendix so why not?

It costs ink and space. It adds to the visual busyness. There is a cost. It's not "free." For something that is visually obvious at a glance, I don't see the payoff.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
I don't think we need roles.

What is the "role" of a fiery vortex that pulls you in. Controller? Soldier? Leader? Damage-Dealer?

Roles are over-simplified.

What we need are tactics. That's bigger than a role. That's telling you the strategy for using the monster in a fight. Which might be different for different monsters, including things unique to them and also how they'd function in either solo, with a small or large group, etc.
 



But that conclusion isn't an objective one, is it? I think there are arguments to be made for other roles.
Just because it's normally a controller doesn't mean it can't be used other ways.

But just because a tool can be used multiple ways doesn't mean it doesn't have a main intent. And just because something has a title doesn't mean all the information is in the title. Or that you can't houserule it, or read the actual description for more information, or otherwise interpret a shorthand as being an incomplete description.

I mean,, did people actually think that all orcs had the exact same thoughts all the time, and that those thoughts were exactly the same as gnolls and frost giants and vampires and skeletons and aboleths and everything else labeled "usually chaotic evil?"
 

What is the "role" of a fiery vortex that pulls you in. Controller? Soldier? Leader? Damage-Dealer?

If the fiery vortex is an AoE created at range I would say that the creator of the vortex is a Controller. If the fiery vortex is a creature itself, such as some kind of elemental, I'd say it is a Soldier. Both roles perform crowd control, but the former does so at range and tries to avoid melee attacks while the latter does so close-up and is designed to draw and withstand melee attacks.

To sum it up, Controllers create AoEs while Soldiers effectively are the AoEs.

What we need are tactics. That's bigger than a role. That's telling you the strategy for using the monster in a fight. Which might be different for different monsters, including things unique to them and also how they'd function in either solo, with a small or large group, etc.

The best monster designs lend themselves to put tactics into motion by their mechanics. More detail is good, but ideally the statblock itself should inform how the creature is used in combat through simple interactions. In the case of the 5E whirling chandelier that is accomplished by having an always-on fire aura that takes effect on creatures drawn in by the creature's chains. The boneclaw is another good example.
 
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Undrave

Legend
What is the "role" of a fiery vortex that pulls you in. Controller? Soldier? Leader? Damage-Dealer?
Controller. It moves you into a disadvantageous position. Depending on the rest of the powers it could also be a Soldier because it's sticky. I don't see it as a Lurker or Skirmisher since it doesn't want to get away from you, unless it's able to become intangible and power up its next move then it could be a Lurker.

Leader is not a role on its own, its a couple abilities added on top of another role so there could be a version of the Fire Vortex that's a Controller Leader or Soldier Leader.
Roles are over-simplified.
They're meant to transmit information quickly, so yeah, I guess?
What we need are tactics. That's bigger than a role. That's telling you the strategy for using the monster in a fight. Which might be different for different monsters, including things unique to them and also how they'd function in either solo, with a small or large group, etc.
Good news! 4e ALSO had a tactics block after every Monster! Do you think every monster of the same role plays exactly the same with the exact same powers?

The thing with 4e monsters is that their unique powers, which helps define their role, feed into their tactics. If all you do is read the powers of the monster and try to use them as much as possible… the tactics will organically emerge from playing to their strength!

The simplest example is the Hobgoblins who have an equivalent to Pack Tactic and get buffs when fighting next to each other: If you try to activate those buffs then you will naturally create formations and battle lines on the field, reflecting their military culture.

A Monster’s role aid in aiming the design so that their powers are designed to facilitate the tactics that would best match the lore of the monster. It’s all interconnected. And then when you go to DM, you know that putting different roles together will automatically result in a more dynamic and interesting encounter than just 5 identical monsters.
But that conclusion isn't an objective one, is it? I think there are arguments to be made for other roles.
Kind of hard to say without more powers and stats, but monster making is as much an art as a science so... I guess?
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
I mean,, did people actually think that all orcs had the exact same thoughts all the time, and that those thoughts were exactly the same as gnolls and frost giants and vampires and skeletons and aboleths and everything else labeled "usually chaotic evil?"
Unfortunately I think the answer to that to some degree is yes, which is half of why I think so many people say alignments don’t contribute anything worthwhile.
 
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Vaalingrade

Legend
I kind of wonder what the Venn diagram of people who find that choosing one of a very small number of descriptive terms that don't give tons of detail are really useful for sorting through monsters to use ... where A=Combat Role and B=typical Alignment*.


* Back when more creatures had a typical alignment, I recognize the change in the game now and am in favor
The difference is roles actually mean something.
 

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