D&D 5E Should Explicit Monster Roles Return?

Should Explicit Monster Roles Return?

  • Yes

    Votes: 58 58.6%
  • No

    Votes: 41 41.4%

Undrave

Legend
Edit: For example: the gelatineous cube is a level 5 brute in 4e with plain old AC 18.
In 5e it has AC 6. Which could have never happened in 4e, because it is totally out of bounds. I really love that design.
Ahhh I see. That's a good point, it is flavorful that a giant and slow block would be easy to hit.

Feels more like an issue of scale than of principles to me, though. Of course, in 4e we didn't have bound accuracy so I don't think you can compare numbers quite that easily, but the idea of the Cube being way way easier to hit is not something that impossible.

Design principles can always be bent to make some interesting monsters, it's not like someone will punish the designers for going out of bound or doing something wonky from time time.
 

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Clint_L

Legend
Alignment is trash because alignment is fundamentally not something that can be defined accurately.
Agreed.
What kind of problems could monster tags lead to?
It's reductionist, and to me suggests a cartoonification of encounters. That said, I'm not highly opposed to putting labels on just creatures that have a very specific MO, like a cloaker. It seems redundant, but whatever.

I am highly opposed to putting a label on all creatures, because it can become either so broad as to be pointless, or so specific as to potentially limit the imagination. What label are you going to put on, say, an orc? Once you are dealing with creatures that have complex behaviours, labels start reducing them to stereotypes. Rather like alignment does.

For me, the magic of the monster manual is, and always has been, to read through the entries and imagine how I might use them. I'd rather not be guided by a cartoonishly reductionist label.
 

I am highly opposed to putting a label on all creatures, because it can become either so broad as to be pointless, or so specific as to potentially limit the imagination. What label are you going to put on, say, an orc? Once you are dealing with creatures that have complex behaviours, labels start reducing them to stereotypes. Rather like alignment does.

4E had orcs of the following roles:

Artillery
  • Alchemist
  • Archer
  • Bolt Thrower
  • Bombardier
  • Chieftan
  • Crescent Hurler
  • Pyromaniac
  • Storm Shaman
Brute
  • Berserker
  • Bloodrager
  • Bludgeoner
  • Champion
  • Rampager
  • Terrorblade
Controller
  • Eye of Gruumsh
  • Pummeler
  • Shaman
  • Witch Doctor
Skirmisher
  • Beast Master
  • Freak
  • Harrier
  • Marauder
  • Raider
  • Reaver
  • Scout
  • Slasher
Soldier
  • Battle-tested
  • Sergeant
  • Warlord
Lurker
  • Darkblade

In 5E we have:
  • Blade of Ilneval
  • Claw of Luthic
  • Eye of Gruumsh
  • Hand of Yurtrus
  • Nurtured One of Yurtrus
  • Orc (Default)
  • War Chief
I'm sure each of those 5E ones fit different roles, though without any sort of identifier I'd have to look at each statblock to guess what those would be.
 
Last edited:

Undrave

Legend
What label are you going to put on, say, an orc?
Orcs are people, they can learn many skills and be any combat role. 4e didn't have a plain Orc, it had multiple Orcs that had function in an Orc tribe and different skills to deploy in battles and even religious figures and leaders and their entry mentionned other creatures they could ally with.

Who's limiting the Orc here exactly?
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Agreed.

It's reductionist, and to me suggests a cartoonification of encounters. That said, I'm not highly opposed to putting labels on just creatures that have a very specific MO, like a cloaker. It seems redundant, but whatever.
youre playing 5e - cartoonification of encounters has be their core design :)

Once you are dealing with creatures that have complex behaviours, labels start reducing them to stereotypes. Rather like alignment does.

I think the 4e Aboleth is a good example of where role labels were useful - Aboleths are manipulators seeking to dominate everything around them. For that 4e gave us Aboleth Brute, Aboleth Artillery, 2 Elite Controllers of different sizes (which was a bit redundant), but also a Soldier, a Lurker and a small Minion Skirmisher (Hatchling). Thus tags and the mix up of different thematic abilities was really helpful in making Aboleths lairs interesting.

Just having roles as guidelines is helpful for DMs and as shorthand for a choice of tactics can enliven encounters and even whole adventures

4E had orcs of the following roles:

Artillery
  • Alchemist
  • Archer
  • Bolt Thrower
  • Bombardier
  • Chieftan
  • Crescent Hurler
  • Pyromaniac
  • Storm Shaman
Brute
  • Berserker
  • Bloodrager
  • Bludgeoner
  • Champion
  • Rampager
  • Terrorblade
Controller
  • Eye of Gruumsh
  • Pummeler
  • Shaman
  • Witch Doctor
Skirmisher
  • Beast Master
  • Freak
  • Harrier
  • Marauder
  • Raider
  • Reaver
  • Scout
  • Slasher
Soldier
  • Battle-tested
  • Sergeant
  • Warlord
Lurker
  • Darkblade

In 5E we have:
  • Blade of Ilneval
  • Claw of Luthic
  • Eye of Gruumsh
  • Hand of Yurtrus
  • Nurtured One of Yurtrus
  • Orc (Default)
  • War Chief
I'm sure each of those 5E ones fit different roles, though without any sort of identifier I'd have to look at each statblock to guess what those would be.
We really don't need 30+ different iterations of Orc, but having some templates that can be used to apply different roles with various linked abilities would be cool.
 
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Clint_L

Legend
In 5E we have:
  • Blade of Ilneval
  • Claw of Luthic
  • Eye of Gruumsh
  • Hand of Yurtrus
  • Nurtured One of Yurtrus
  • Orc (Default)
  • War Chief
I'm sure each of those 5E ones fit different roles, though without any sort of identifier I'd have to look at each statblock to guess what those would be.
God forbid?

They could fit a variety of roles. Read the entry, and imagine how you'd like to use them.
 


Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
All monsters are already designed with a role in mind. You aren't using a Wolf as an sniper without some heavy houseruling. Listing the role up front just gives guidance to DMs, making their burden lighter.

This goes double if the DM is looking to change what the monster is doing! You already know if a monster is set up to skirmish, so if you want it to brute, you just give it the beef and have at.
 



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