Level Up (A5E) So much seems wrong with Press The Attack and Fall Back

Larnievc

Adventurer
Press The Attack and Fall Back are flawed enough I would have to remove them both from gameplay altogether. I was hoping to give the system a run, but since it's not actually "compatible" it can't play alongside traditional 5e classes and builds, so I'd need to start a new game altogether that's "exclusively" Level Up, instead of adding Level Up elements to an ongoing 5e game.
How does that one rule make the whole thing not compatible?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Rant

Explorer
That may be true, but that ship sailed 2 years ago with this particular product.

DungeonCoach just did a detailed homebrew book on kickstarter, if you'd rather that sort of thing.
Much appreciated, skimming that product does make it look intriguing, but after this I think I will likely be a lot more cautious with investing in Kickstarter tabletop RPG products, going forward. Better to wait and get a good idea of what the end product is, to avoid any more misconceptions.
Sharpshooter (now Deadeye) is level-locked to 8th+ level, and now only gives +20' to short range, rather than turning long range into short range. So a longbow now has a short range of 170 feet, not 400 feet. A shortbow becomes 100 feet, not 320 feet.

The 'called shot' is now -PB/+PBx2 rather than -5/+10 as well, which I imagine most people would consider a nerf.
The damage portion improves Sharpshooter, and the range issue is largely not one given that few battles take place at extreme ranges. Sharpshooter (now Deadeye) is marginally better than its O5E version. It's now an "ideal" exchange of attack and damage relative to any given tier of proficiency, rather than too extreme a risk at lower levels and not enough payoff at very high levels. It matches the Pathfinder Power Attack/Deadly Aim, essentially, one of the good things to come out of the book, certainly.

Just want to point out that just because you think something needs to be fixed doesn’t mean it actually needs to be fixed.
What may seem needless to you feels essential to others. I get that this product is not what you want or thought it was, but it is what others wanted and need. I certainly joe they don’t change it to make it more like what you want. That would be a real shame.
Naturally, everyone will come to their own conclusions. These are mine alone.
 

Rant

Explorer
How does that one rule make the whole thing not compatible?
Forgot to address this. In short, "balance" is not one class or race or build in a vacuum, it's the interaction of classes, races, feats, and spells, as a whole. The inclusion of something like Press The Attack and Fall Back shifts the balance and uniqueness of things like a Barbarian's Reckless Attack and the usage of reactions in turn for Fall Back. Spell changes alter the balance of caster classes. Feat changes alter the balance of martial classes. Adding in Level Up elements to an O5E game doesn't work. The rules all tie too closely together, they aren't designed in a "pick and choose" fashion. It isn't "one rule" therefore, but all the numerous changes to core rules and existing content that make the game incompatible with O5E in the sense that most players define "compatibility." A lot of OSR hacks are technically compatible with old school modules, but they are not "compatible" in the sense that they can be plugged into a game alongside original D&D player facing content.

A core 5e Fighter or Barbarian could see combat parity with a Level Up character assuming they have access to feats and mechanics as written in O5E, which complimented O5E classes. The same is true for O5E classes of all types. As noted, a game could theoretically have both side-by-side if the O5E builds are "only" O5E and access the original versions of Feats, Spells, Items, etc., and the Level Up versions are "only Level Up" content-based. Using the underlying Level Up mechanics damages the efficacy of O5E class functions, and skews the functionality of the game altogether. Trying to use them side by side as I'm describing is another logistics challenge, as monsters and opponents also have to determine if they are "original" 5e-based on Level Up based, but it would work better than applying the underlying Level Up rules replacements and still using O5E classes alongside the new ones. That would be the "worst case" way to use the new rules, as it would make the original builds worse, where the new classes are designed around the altered core rules. Such a usage doesn't actually reflect the true "balance" between the old content and the new, if the old content is worsened by new core rule changes, which it is.

Press The Attack and Fall Back are problematic mechanics entirely, however, and would need to simply be removed from the game.
 




MarkB

Legend
On balance, I'm starting to really like this set of options. At first glance it can seem like the point of it is to gain advantage, and that the defender can easily negate it by using Fall Back - but in many situations the pushing-back aspect will be the whole point of doing it, and if the opponent refuses to fall back, getting advantage on your attacks against them will be the consolation prize.

Or in other situations you'll use it tactically against an opponent who's already expended their reaction, and therefore has no option but to grant you advantage on your attacks.

It can even serve as a risky alternative to disengaging. Encourage an opponent to commit their reaction to using Fall Back, and your own character can now move away from them without fear of taking an opportunity attack.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
On balance, I'm starting to really like this set of options. At first glance it can seem like the point of it is to gain advantage, and that the defender can easily negate it by using Fall Back - but in many situations the pushing-back aspect will be the whole point of doing it, and if the opponent refuses to fall back, getting advantage on your attacks against them will be the consolation prize.
Yep. It’s about forced movement.
 

Rant

Explorer

I elaborated on that in a prior post. An Attack Option with a built in "negating option," like the reworded Polearm Master, is not an appropriate design paradigm for 5e. No existing O5E mechanics function with that paradigm, but similar concepts appear several times in new Level Up mechanics.

As a practical matter, it creates the "guessing game" scenario I noted, which is not "tactical" given that it's far too "meta" to describe as "tactics." To elaborate, an character judging that a foe with a spear will likely take a poke at them as they close to melee, but they need to take them down to aid their allies, resembles a "tactical decision." Deciding if they will close to that foe and avoid the attack, or save their reaction for the possibility of a Press The Attack against them, or if they will Fall Back from a Fighter's Press The Attack and risk a Rogue's Press The Attack, is well beyond "tactical" consideration and adding to the "meta tactics" and "guessing games" that detract from a game, rather than adding to it. Add on the fact that the detriment of Fall Back, outside of using a Reaction, is Disadvantage on attack rolls for the character using Fall Back, and how this does not impact many spell-focused characters, it is a flawed mechanic. It could add that, in addition to Disadvantage on Attack Rolls, characters who cast spells following Fall Back have their spells resisted with Advantage, to make it less of a "no brainer" for casters, but at this point it's already clear the simpler answer is to scrap both Press The Attack and Fall Back.

PTA and FB add too much complexity, imbalance, and meta-game guessing games relative to what it offers at the table, in short.
 

I elaborated on that in a prior post. An Attack Option with a built in "negating option," like the reworded Polearm Master, is not an appropriate design paradigm for 5e. No existing O5E mechanics function with that paradigm, but similar concepts appear several times in new Level Up mechanics.

As a practical matter, it creates the "guessing game" scenario I noted, which is not "tactical" given that it's far too "meta" to describe as "tactics." To elaborate, an character judging that a foe with a spear will likely take a poke at them as they close to melee, but they need to take them down to aid their allies, resembles a "tactical decision." Deciding if they will close to that foe and avoid the attack, or save their reaction for the possibility of a Press The Attack against them, or if they will Fall Back from a Fighter's Press The Attack and risk a Rogue's Press The Attack, is well beyond "tactical" consideration and adding to the "meta tactics" and "guessing games" that detract from a game, rather than adding to it. Add on the fact that the detriment of Fall Back, outside of using a Reaction, is Disadvantage on attack rolls for the character using Fall Back, and how this does not impact many spell-focused characters, it is a flawed mechanic. It could add that, in addition to Disadvantage on Attack Rolls, characters who cast spells following Fall Back have their spells resisted with Advantage, to make it less of a "no brainer" for casters, but at this point it's already clear the simpler answer is to scrap both Press The Attack and Fall Back.

PTA and FB add too much complexity, imbalance, and meta-game guessing games relative to what it offers at the table, in short.
Ok, it seems you really misunderstood what LevelUp is. This is exactly then kind of thing LevelUp promised and what we want from it. Your perspective is just of kilter to the intent of the game. Bad for you, good for everyone else that paid attention.

PS I disagree that they are unbalanced and too meta-gamey (of course those are just opinions too)
 

Rant

Explorer
Ok, it seems you really misunderstood what LevelUp is. This is exactly then kind of thing LevelUp promised and what we want from it. Your perspective is just of kilter to the intent of the game. Bad for you, good for everyone else that paid attention.
That's entirely possible. One person's opinions don't change anyone else's, naturally. However, I don't think "layers of meta-guessing games" align with any of the stated goals of the product, and that's the issue with PTA and FB, specifically.

My "hope" that Level Up would "add to" existing rules more than replace them is absolutely "on me," as you might put it, I agree there.
 

That's entirely possible. One person's opinions don't change anyone else's, naturally. However, I don't think "layers of meta-guessing games" align with any of the stated goals of the product, and that's the issue with PTA and FB, specifically.

My "hope" that Level Up would "add to" existing rules more than replace them is absolutely "on me," as you might put it, I agree there.
But I disagree with your opinion that there are layers of meta-gaming. That is your perspective, not something inherent to mechanic. It is a question about how you structure the narrative. It definitely isn’t as meta-gamey as HP!
Again, sorry for you that you didn’t get what you wanted. Good luck in the future. I’ve got to run, but will check back later if there is more to this conversation.
 

Rant

Explorer
But I disagree with your opinion that there are layers of meta-gaming. That is your perspective, not something inherent to mechanic. It is a question about how you structure the narrative. It definitely isn’t as meta-gamey as HP!
Again, sorry for you that you didn’t get what you wanted. Good luck in the future. I’ve got to run, but will check back later if there is more to this conversation.
In this case, the judgment is based on things that are "inherent to the mechanic." Press The Attack has a built in "counter" in Fall Back that requires a reaction, and imposes disadvantage. That requires judgment, as to whether Fall Back is worth the cost. The judgment is a "meta game" judgment, not one that resembles an in-game tactical decision. A lot of things in D&D already blur the line between meta-game tactics and in-character tactics, but abilities with built in counters based on Reactions go beyond that into the realm of pure "mechanics-tactics" rather than "in game tactics" by definition.
 

I don't think that's true at all. In-game, your character is making tactical decisions about whether to fall back or stand their ground, knowing both have consequences. That's a straightforwardly in-game tactical decision in my book, and far less metagamey than AC or HP. The thing to note is that this feature is not a mistake and has been thoroughly playtested, and offers a new tatical (sorry) option for players and DMs to make combat more interesting. It's certainly easy enough for groups to choose not to add it to their games - nothing else is co-dependent on it.

But you're obviously set in your position and we're pretty much all now just repeating ourselves, so I don't think it's going to help anyone for us to keep this going.

I hope you can enjoy some of the other elements of the books. I understand the new MM, for example, should be easier to seamlessly add to an existing o5e game without any other consequent changes. I just used the goblin alchemist and goblin warlock in a battle last night and while I didn't get a chance to pop out Surprise Sacrifice (dang), even imaging it added to my weekend delight.
 

Rant

Explorer
I don't think that's true at all. In-game, your character is making tactical decisions about whether to fall back or stand their ground, knowing both have consequences. That's a straightforwardly in-game tactical decision in my book, and far less metagamey than AC or HP. The thing to note is that this feature is not a mistake and has been thoroughly playtested, and offers a new tatical (sorry) option for players and DMs to make combat more interesting. It's certainly easy enough for groups to choose not to add it to their games - nothing else is co-dependent on it.

But you're obviously set in your position and we're pretty much all now just repeating ourselves, so I don't think it's going to help anyone for us to keep this going.

I hope you can enjoy some of the other elements of the books. I understand the new MM, for example, should be easier to seamlessly add to an existing o5e game without any other consequent changes. I just used the goblin alchemist and goblin warlock in a battle last night and while I didn't get a chance to pop out Surprise Sacrifice (dang), even imaging it added to my weekend delight.
No issues with the monsters, thus far, and I think that may end up being the one-third that does get regular use in my group. The monsters are more interesting, period, and having ran Level Up dragons, things like dragon fear as a Legendary Action makes much more sense from a "practicality" standpoint. If other monsters are on par with the dragons, I expect the Level Up MM will be the book that is more than a collection item, but one that actually gets use. So far I'm more put off by the player facing content the more I read, but very happy with the monster collection.
 

Haha, whereas I started with journey rules and the MM, and have become more and more excited by the new classes (and origin system!!!) each day. I just love the flavour of the new class abilities so much!

Horse for courses, eh? :)
 

Rant

Explorer
Haha, whereas I started with journey rules and the MM, and have become more and more excited by the new classes (and origin system!!!) each day. I just love the flavour of the new class abilities so much!

Horse for courses, eh? :)
Absolutely. I didn't mean to come across as overly negative on the whole project, the topic just happens to regard player-facing changes to core mechanics which were poorly thought out. The Monster book seems like it's from an entirely different perspective, much more "genuinely" compatible with 5e, adding to the experience in a thoughtful and calculated way that reflects an understanding of the system. The player content, in particular the core rule changes, seem to be from a different team altogether.

I'm happy that at least a major part of the product is "useful" as opposed to a curiosity that's unlikely to serve a purpose in actual play. Monsters needed a fix, badly, and got a genuine fix, not creating a new set of worse problems, as with the player-side content and core rule changes.
 


Larnievc

Adventurer
Forgot to address this. In short, "balance" is not one class or race or build in a vacuum, it's the interaction of classes, races, feats, and spells, as a whole. The inclusion of something like Press The Attack and Fall Back shifts the balance and uniqueness of things like a Barbarian's Reckless Attack and the usage of reactions in turn for Fall Back. Spell changes alter the balance of caster classes. Feat changes alter the balance of martial classes. Adding in Level Up elements to an O5E game doesn't work. The rules all tie too closely together, they aren't designed in a "pick and choose" fashion. It isn't "one rule" therefore, but all the numerous changes to core rules and existing content that make the game incompatible with O5E in the sense that most players define "compatibility." A lot of OSR hacks are technically compatible with old school modules, but they are not "compatible" in the sense that they can be plugged into a game alongside original D&D player facing content.

A core 5e Fighter or Barbarian could see combat parity with a Level Up character assuming they have access to feats and mechanics as written in O5E, which complimented O5E classes. The same is true for O5E classes of all types. As noted, a game could theoretically have both side-by-side if the O5E builds are "only" O5E and access the original versions of Feats, Spells, Items, etc., and the Level Up versions are "only Level Up" content-based. Using the underlying Level Up mechanics damages the efficacy of O5E class functions, and skews the functionality of the game altogether. Trying to use them side by side as I'm describing is another logistics challenge, as monsters and opponents also have to determine if they are "original" 5e-based on Level Up based, but it would work better than applying the underlying Level Up rules replacements and still using O5E classes alongside the new ones. That would be the "worst case" way to use the new rules, as it would make the original builds worse, where the new classes are designed around the altered core rules. Such a usage doesn't actually reflect the true "balance" between the old content and the new, if the old content is worsened by new core rule changes, which it is.

Press The Attack and Fall Back are problematic mechanics entirely, however, and would need to simply be removed from the game.
I dunno man, my group is running level up classes with OG subclasses and it seems fine. They did not want to lose their subclasses at tenth level so we jammed the two elements. No issues like you’ve suggested yet. What’s you group’s play experience with level up?
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
I think I will likely be a lot more cautious with investing in Kickstarter tabletop RPG products, going forward. Better to wait and get a good idea of what the end product is, to avoid any more misconceptions.
I back a ton of projects on Kickstarter and this is always the attitude to have. You do get the product before everyone else, and sometimes cheaper. But you also get the first printing and there can be surprises. However, I've been carefully selected my products and have rarely been disappointed. I can easily say I've had better experience in term of a "finished product" on Kickstarter than with many mass-market shelf products. Ex. Starfinder launched with entire tables of wrong values and more.

As a practical matter, it creates the "guessing game" scenario I noted, which is not "tactical" given that it's far too "meta" to describe as "tactics."
I don't understand how being meta has anything to do with tactics. The two mechanics absolutely give you and your foes some tactical options. They even give you tactical response when someone does that. Tactics is all about these choices and their context. As per the example that @Morrus gave, if an enemy is not too far from a cliff or a pit, it does become and interesting tactical option to Press the Attack. The enemy then has to take a decision; does he let you get advantage on your attack, or yield some ground and risk being shoved soon.

As per the example of Falling back and having someone else press the advantage right after, it seems entirely reasonable in the world fiction. If you look at videos of a group of attackers versus one defender, that is exactly what happens. They cover more ground, they threaten a surround and the defender tends to move back and give a lot of ground. Someones the defender will refuse to yield ground, punch someone in the face but then he does expose himself to the others.

I have not tried these options concretely in a game, but I like what the decision intention seem to be (introduce more mobility into fights), I think the fiction of it is very believable and, aside from the issues you mentioned that will be fixed through errata, the mechanics seem functional.

However, I don't think "layers of meta-guessing games"
It can definitely be seen as a layer of meta decisions. All the rules in the book are. But in the fiction of the game, it's an interesting concept. Just like choosing to squeeze and lose some movement, or make a ranged attack even though you're within someone's reach and a multitude of other "meta tactical decisions", they all translate in in game fiction.

Pressing the Attack can absolutely be seen in-game as someone aggressively moving on, getting up close and creating an opportunity. And the person doing Fall Back has a choice, they can let that first individual get an advantage, or give him ground. Both decisions come with other considerations (losing reaction, etc). It's not that different than someone moving out of your range and you choosing if you use your reaction to have an opportunity attack. I will admit that that the two actions (Press the Attack and Fall Back) are very clearly put in opposition and are designed around each other, that much is true.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top