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5E So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever

Krachek

Explorer
for now they are more concern about lower the entry level than to add complexity.
the game is setup for a long time, and any new tactical rules will be options like those in the DmG.
the game won’t be more sharp, tactical or balanced than what we get now.
 

pogre

Adventurer
I was excited by the idea of modularity, but so many players seem to consider any new rules - even those labeled optional - must be included. D&D is a kitchen sink game for us these days.
 

dave2008

Explorer
Because increasing the tactical element of play interleaves with every class used and any combat spell and every monster in use. How many bits and pieces do you have to interact with just for one element is what makes it difficult?

I already mentioned the bloodied condition I will point out more broadly why that example works. It can give us monsters who have tactically interactive abilities defenses and powers which change over stages of a combat what makes them inducing/encouraging different kind of choices and approaches by the players. There could more stages if one wanted to notch it up.

Honestly I am not asking for identical to previous editions. One hopes for better.
I guess it depends on what you mean by "Tactical Module." For example, the bloodied condition is not something I would have thought as part of such a module. So I guess the first thing would be: what is needed for you to consider it a tactical module?

FYI, we use a version of the bloodied condition in out 5e games and it hasn't been a problem.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
[sblock="off topic"]
i’d have To disagree here. In my experience, once you start talking about builds you are getting away from accessibility.
That's the thing, you don't need to talk about 20-level builds to new players. They can play a 'starting package' or pregen. Really, in any edition, pregens are a good idea, that's why modules had 'em back in the 0e days (In Search of the Unknown, which came with the c1977 basic set had pregens in the back), and 5e has 'em in the Basic PDF. Encounters pregens came on laminated half-sheets. Though, TBH, one of the whack things WotC has done in both 4e & 5e is take the language used to say mean things about it's predecessor and incorporate it into the new one as jargon - so 'build' was actually 4e jargon for what, in 4e, is sub-class-chosen-at-first-level, and amounted to picking a first level feature)

But, if you don't, in 3e, and they play the character any length of time, they'll likely run up against a 'mistake' at lower level that prevents them from taking an optimal, or even viable, development path. That's less of an issue in 5e (a non-issue in AL before 4th level). It was a non-issue in 4e, you could retrain at each level.

You had to choose your powers at first level and you had to know how powers and their keywords work and interact. A new player is presented with a large number of choices that have complex interactions (race, class, background, 2 at-wills, one encounter, one daily). That’s 7 choices for a new player. All of which have complex interactions because of the keyword approach.
Actually, backgrounds weren't in the PH, and you left out 1 feat, so still 7. That's also fewer choices than any caster faces in any other WotC edition (or 2e, I'm pretty sure - in prior eds, most of those choices would be made for you by the dice). Oh, you also left out choosing several skills. We could call it 10 choices, all total, to have a complete character. There were default packages that made almost all of them for you, but that aside...

5e distills this down to race, class, background. These choices are presented more organically as well.
I'm sorry. So fighters don't choose Fighting Style? Wizards don't choose Tradition, and known spells, and cantrips, and no one chooses skills?

Let's look at a 5e wizard in the same detail you did the AEDU character (who, are all /pretty close/ in how many choices they get, and when - which simplifies the game, making it more accessible... more on that later).

Chose Race, choose Sub-Race, choose Class (Wizard!) OK, choose Tradition (there are 8 of 'em they have to do with the way spells are grouped, there are a couple hundred of them, only 26 are first level though, but you might want to familiarize yourself to make the right choice for the kind of wizard you want)(oh, is there a list of the 26 I can read through)(of course, it's a list, though, you need to look each one up alphabetically), (OK, Evoker sounds cool and simple all about blasting). OK, choose 3 cantrips, (from this list of 14). (OK! hey, some of these are Evocation, so I get to use my Evoker's "Potent Cantrip!")(Weeeell not exactly, there are some, but they're in supplements, we're not using those right now), now choose your 6 known spells for your spellbook, from this list of 26. (But it says I have 2 spells to go with the 3 cantrips) (No that's spell slots you can cast per day) (So I can cast 3 cantrips and two spells per day?) (Cantrips all you want, but slots aren't spells, they power spells, you'll know 6 spells, but cast only two of them per day, form a list of INTmod+1 spells known that you /prepare/).
Also, pick 2 skills and a Background, and we're practically done, you just might have to choose a language or tool proficiency or something from your background.

...hm...sounds like 16-20 choices. Not counting picking prepared spells, because, hey, that's 'in play,' not technically chargen.


so, yeah, let's use pregens. ;)


… and then there's 2nd level.

In the olden days, different characters would reach second level at different times. Since, 3e, it's mostly been at the same time, which does make things more accessible. Except. What do you get at 2nd level?

Well, in 3e or 5e, look up your class table, and see what you get, it'll be different for everyone, might be a specific feat or a choice of a bonus feat from a list of 20+ in 3e, might be a specific ability or choice of an ability, or another known spell from that same list or a character-defining choice of sub-class, in 5e. Check if your Proficiency has gone up (5e nope), or in 3e if your BAB bumps and your saves (different for 'good' vs 'bad'), and spend anything from 1 (Fighter 8 int) to 10+ (Rogue, high int) skill ranks.
In 4e. Everything implements by 1, pick a feat, and, pick a utility power from your class, from a list of 2-5 under your class, in the PH1. Not exactly staggering - it's a compromise between customization (feat), simplification (the DM can just tell everyone, once, what they get), and class differentiation (each class had it's own short list of 2nd level utilities).


but also I don’t care about builds or customization and all that. I think they are bad for the game....
Customization /is/ good for the game for experienced players (or /really/ enthused new players who have their heart set on a concept that doesn't neatly fit a bog-standard class) who like that sort of thing. Which made 3e something a lot of us loved, and others couldn't get into. Optimized Builds are only 'bad' (cater to one preference at the expense of another) for the game if they're too OP and make non-optimized characters non-viable compared to them. Which also made 3e something a lot of us loved and others found... discouraging.

But, customization is really an option that you can dive into or not. There's generally a default or obvious choice that you can coast with if you don't care for that dive.

5e /does/ optionally open up some additional customization through Feats and MCing, and also puts forward some up-front with non-optional Backgrounds (and 4 optional characteristics...), sub-races, & sub-classes. But, it's still a lot less than you could do in 3e and 4e.

Tactical richness was the strength of 4e. Other editions didn’t handle that as well but handled other aspects of the game better.
4e specifically tried to get away from the 'static combat' that often got in the way of 3.5's otherwise equally rich set of tactical options, mostly inherited from 2e C&T. And tactics were never exactly entirely lacking from D&D - all the way back to Chainmail, it did have roots in wargaming, afterall! So, no, it wasn't a particular strength of 4e, it was just something 4e did well, while avoiding the 'static combat' pitfall that tripped up 3e, and the more general issue of the 'tactics' employed by non-casters being obviated as casters became increasingly over-powered, in other editions.
Class balance, for instance, was far more significant. Simple, reasonably dependable encounter building guidelines were pretty significant. A viable structured way of involving everyone in a non-combat encounter, that was weighted the same as combat encounters, was a pretty significant innovation, too. And, since I ran a lot of introductory games, the greater accessibility of the system to new players was also a very significant strength.

I actually find that 5e fixes a lot of the problems I had with 4e while at the same time adds a lot of the elements I miss from older editions.
Sure. Most of the problems people had with 4e were with things it had changed from older editions - often, ironically, to fix well-known problems - and 5e returned to a lot of those.[/sblock]
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
4e is /easily/ the most accessible of the WotC editions, to brand-new players. Now, sure, you /could/ do 30-level builds if you were so inclined, but it wasn't /necessary/, you could just pick whatever looked cool each level, and you'd be fine, you could build highly-customized build-to-concept, highly optimized, or just obvious/intuitive and you'd have a comparatively viable character. The rewards for system mastery were just marginal.
In 3.5 it was "necessary," to generally be on roughly the same system-mastery page, preferably similar-Tier classes, if you wanted a fully-participatory campaign, and if that page as PvP or CharOP, genuinely necessary to go full-on optimization - but if that page showed more restraint & was core only, or if it was E6, such optimization was not necessary, at all.

In 5e, it's simply not possible to build characters to that level of customization or optimization, because the options aren't there.

It is. It is a slight to 5e and it's goal of 'big tent' inclusion of fans of all past editions.
One can use all the option rich elements not to optimize for potency or balance but for flavor which is why I liked even Hybrids in 4e.
5e multi-classing doesn't live up to my expectations for enabling broad richness, it appears to make somethings prohibitively costly for little reason and other things trivially easy because of coincidence or something. Like having to go 17 levels before I even get a level 1 character equivalent swordmage.

(And the idea of 'tactical richness' as defining 4e is also a bit of faint praise, since it was also the only version of D&D to at least /try/ to cover out-of-combat in a functional full-party-participation way, that was weighted the same as combat. Yes, 4e got away from 3.5 'static combats' - but that was far from the only thing it did.)
There may even I feel be potential modules which can help out of combat arena balance in 5e primarily enhancing non-casters that make skills richer and more impactful but that is admitted not the focus of this thread.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
It's there in the class design and optional rules in the DMG.

I think the fanatics took things a bit to literally. They said fans of 1E to 4E could play together not that it would be 1E to 4E.
You're telling us this despite us all already being aware, and despite the OP clearly wanting *more*...
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
They may also have realised that modularity was a bit of a blind avenue sales-wise. It might bring in more people in the initial wave by catering to more varied play-styles, but in the long term creating a fractured fanbase each playing a different version of the same game doesn't actually provide a solid foundation for expanding the market.
The real reason is that they just wanted a bit of market speak to lure in a few more paying customers and head off a bit more griping despite it being empty promises.
 

Monayuris

Explorer
[HI][/HI]
That's the thing, you don't need to talk about 20-level builds to new players. They can play a 'starting package' or pregen. Really, in any edition, pregens are a good idea, that's why modules had 'em back in the 0e days (In Search of the Unknown, which came with the c1977 basic set had pregens in the back), and 5e has 'em in the Basic PDF. Encounters pregens came on laminated half-sheets. [sblock="WotC & pedantics"](Though, TBH, one of the whack things WotC has done in both 4e & 5e is take the language used to say mean things about it's predecessor and incorporate it into the new one as jargon - so 'build' was actually 4e jargon for what, in 4e, is sub-class-chosen-at-first-level, and amounted to picking a first level feature)[/sblock]

But, if you don't, in 3e, and they play the character any length of time, they'll likely run up against a 'mistake' at lower level that prevents them from taking an optimal, or even viable, development path. That's less of an issue in 5e (a non-issue in AL before 4th level). It was a non-issue in 4e, you could retrain at each level.

Actually, backgrounds weren't in the PH, and you left out 1 feat, so still 7. That's also fewer choices than any caster faces in any other WotC edition (or 2e, I'm pretty sure - in prior eds, most of those choices would be made for you by the dice). Oh, you also left out choosing several skills. We could call it 10 choices, all total, to have a complete character. There were default packages that made almost all of them for you, but that aside...

I'm sorry. So fighters don't choose Fighting Style? Wizards don't choose Tradition, and known spells, and cantrips, and no one chooses skills?

Let's look at a 5e wizard in the same detail you did the AEDU character (who, are all /pretty close/ in how many choices they get, and when - which simplifies the game, making it more accessible... more on that later).

Chose Race, choose Sub-Race, choose Class (Wizard!) OK, choose Tradition (there are 8 of 'em they have to do with the way spells are grouped, there are a couple hundred of them, only 26 are first level though, but you might want to familiarize yourself to make the right choice for the kind of wizard you want)(oh, is there a list of the 26 I can read through)(of course, it's a list, though, you need to look each one up alphabetically), (OK, Evoker sounds cool and simple all about blasting). OK, choose 3 cantrips, (from this list of 14). (OK! hey, some of these are Evocation, so I get to use my Evoker's "Potent Cantrip!")(Weeeell not exactly, there are some, but they're in supplements, we're not using those right now), now choose your 6 known spells for your spellbook, from this list of 26. (But it says I have 2 spells to go with the 3 cantrips) (No that's spell slots you can cast per day) (So I can cast 3 cantrips and two spells per day?) (Cantrips all you want, but slots aren't spells, they power spells, you'll know 6 spells, but cast only two of them per day, form a list of INTmod+1 spells known that you /prepare/).
Also, pick 2 skills and a Background, and we're practically done, you just might have to choose a language or tool proficiency or something from your background.

...hm...sounds like 16-20 choices. Not counting picking prepared spells, because, hey, that's 'in play,' not technically chargen.


so, yeah, let's use pregens. ;)


… and then there's 2nd level.

In the olden days, different characters would reach second level at different times. Since, 3e, it's mostly been at the same time, which does make things more accessible. Except. What do you get at 2nd level?

Well, in 3e or 5e, look up your class table, and see what you get, it'll be different for everyone, might be a specific feat or a choice of a bonus feat from a list of 20+ in 3e, might be a specific ability or choice of an ability, or another known spell from that same list or a character-defining choice of sub-class, in 5e. Check if your Proficiency has gone up (5e nope), or in 3e if your BAB bumps and your saves (different for 'good' vs 'bad'), and spend anything from 1 (Fighter 8 int) to 10+ (Rogue, high int) skill ranks.
In 4e. Everything implements by 1, pick a feat, and, pick a utility power from your class, from a list of 2-5 under your class, in the PH1. Not exactly staggering - it's a compromise between customization (feat), simplification (the DM can just tell everyone, once, what they get), and class differentiation (each class had it's own short list of 2nd level utilities).


Customization /is/ good for the game for experienced players (or /really/ enthused new players who have their heart set on a concept that doesn't neatly fit a bog-standard class) who like that sort of thing. Which made 3e something a lot of us loved, and others couldn't get into. Optimized Builds are only 'bad' (cater to one preference at the expense of another) for the game if they're too OP and make non-optimized characters non-viable compared to them. Which also made 3e something a lot of us loved and others found... discouraging.

But, customization is really an option that you can dive into or not. There's generally a default or obvious choice that you can coast with if you don't care for that dive.

5e /does/ optionally open up some additional customization through Feats and MCing, and also puts forward some up-front with non-optional Backgrounds (and 4 optional characteristics...), sub-races, & sub-classes. But, it's still a lot less than you could do in 3e and 4e.

4e specifically tried to get away from the 'static combat' that often got in the way of 3.5's otherwise equally rich set of tactical options, mostly inherited from 2e C&T. And tactics were never exactly entirely lacking from D&D - all the way back to Chainmail, it did have roots in wargaming, afterall! So, no, it wasn't a particular strength of 4e, it was just something 4e did well, while avoiding the 'static combat' pitfall that tripped up 3e, and the more general issue of the 'tactics' employed by non-casters being obviated as casters became increasingly over-powered, in other editions.
Class balance, for instance, was far more significant. Simple, reasonably dependable encounter building guidelines were pretty significant. A viable structured way of involving everyone in a non-combat encounter, that was weighted the same as combat encounters, was a pretty significant innovation, too. And, since I ran a lot of introductory games, the greater accessibility of the system to new players was also a very significant strength.

Sure. Most of the problems people had with 4e were with things it had changed from older editions - often, ironically, to fix well-known problems - and 5e returned to a lot of those.
You responded before I decided to pull back from this.

I think I flat out have a completely different outlook towards the game than you. But that’s ok. I don’t see any need to derail the thread about it.
 
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Tony Vargas

Adventurer
[HI][/HI]

You responded before I decided to pull back from this.

I think I flat out have a completely different outlook towards the game than you. But that’s ok. I don’t see any need to derail the thread about it.
No problem. I'd've not replies if I'd noticed you taking down the post I was responding too...
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I guess it depends on what you mean by "Tactical Module." For example, the bloodied condition is not something I would have thought as part of such a module. .
Bloodied is a pacing mechanism which changes and swaps out tactical choices. (Does that make bloodied tactical even though it itself isn't usually a choice I think so - see below for ways it becomes a choice too)

On the monster side of the screen monsters get powers that renew on bloodied conditions for instance it changes there choices I have player characters with powers and even skill functions that cannot be invoked or which are significantly better when invoked against a bloodied opponent and items which temporarily bloody enemies. I have a magic item which I reflavor/tweak into a martial technique that allows my character to control his own bloodied state so he can better control when he has access his racial powers.

As far as you using it and it not being a problem... well how many enemies play differently when bloodied? I have roleplayed them since 1e differently but i do not find that being quite the same. Do you have skills that play off of it? how many racial features or feats trigger off of it etc etc. i feel it all adds up.

This isn't saying i think 5e has no tactical elements already there was an implied promise of more...is the dmg all???? is sort of a sub question.
 

Monayuris

Explorer
No problem. I'd've not replies if I'd noticed you taking down the post I was responding too...
Cool. Again I apologize for my part. We differ but I don’t mean to show a disrespect. I should do better to, in general, be less trigger happy to people with different views.
 

dave2008

Explorer
Bloodied is a pacing mechanism which changes and swaps out tactical choices. (Does that make bloodied tactical even though it itself isn't usually a choice I think so - see below for ways it becomes a choice too)
I apologize, i didn't explain what I meant. I believe the bloodied condition has a tactical element, my point was I don't think it is necessary for a "tactical module." I think you can have a tactical module without having the bloodied condition.

As far as you using it and it not being a problem... well how many enemies play differently when bloodied? I have roleplayed them since 1e differently but i do not find that being quite the same. Do you have skills that play off of it? how many racial features or feats trigger off of it etc etc. i feel it all adds up.
It depends. I don't have to re-write the whole book, we just deal with the players we have so we don't have to deal with all of the possible issues or options. That being said, play is very different when our characters or monsters are bloodied because that is when you are in real danger. We have several other house rules wrapped into such as DR and death / dying.

Regarding monsters, I pretty much modify or custom make all of the significant monsters, so I can add bloodied abilities as needed.

This isn't saying i think 5e has no tactical elements already there was an implied promise of more...is the dmg all???? is sort of a sub question.
It seems the little bit that WotC has provided so far is all the have in the current plans. However, I think they want to leave most of the kit-bashing to 3PP and homebrew via DMsGuild.
 
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Tony Vargas

Adventurer
I apologize, i didn't explain what I meant. I believe the bloodied condition has a tactical element, my point was I don't think it is necessary for a "tactical module." I think you can have a tactical module without having the bloodied condition.
That's fair. I mean, 5e /has the bloodied condition/, without having the "Bloodied" /Condition/.

So any rule you could write in 4e like "when the <insert creature> is not bloodied and attacks a bloodied enemy <bad things happen>" you could as easily write, in 5e "when the <insert creature>'s current hit points, not including temporary hit points are greater than half its maximum hit points and it attacks a hostile creature who's current hit points, not including temporary hit points are less than or equal to one-half its maximum hit points <bad things happen>"

Because 5e is simpler & more streamlined. ;|


It seems the little bit that WotC has provided so far is all the have in the current plans. However, I think they want to leave most of the kit-bashing to 3PP and homebrew via DMsGuild.
And actual homebrew. Part of the philosophy of the slow pace of release and reluctance to errata is that they are selling a /starting point/. If you move that starting point after the race has begun, that's bad. Maybe not as bad as moving the goal posts or mixing sports metaphors, but bad.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I apologize, i didn't explain what I meant. I believe the bloodied condition has a tactical element, my point was I don't think it is necessary for a "tactical module." I think you can have a tactical module without having the bloodied condition.
Not what I was saying I was saying so there is that. You wanted to know why I thought it would be difficult and that was an element I would like to see but also an example of how such an element could touch on wide varieties of other design elements and that is a reason tactical elements tend to not be easy squeezy lemon peasy
 
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Mistwell

Adventurer
It's in the DMG, it emphasizes the grid, including flanking, adds /facing/ of all things, and lets anyone mark (or maybe that's a separate variant?).

Anyway, it credibly delivers the "grid dependence/tactical-boardgame" people who didn't like 4e complained about.

They did seem to be working primarily from criticisms of 4e.

2 & 3 prettymuch go together.

There also really was this claim, Zard alluded to, above, that players with different favorite editions could sit at the same table, playing characters that evoked what they like best about their edition of choice. It seemed an over-ambitious pipe-dream, at the time, and that seeming was borne out. Rather, the 5e Empowered DM can make 5e feel something like his favorite edition - especially if that edition was TSR-era - /absolutely including the way he ran said edition, with all the variants & assumptions and whatnot that made it uniquely awesome for his group, back in the day/.

(And, I do think 5e is kitbash-friendly enough to just turn on MCing, Feats, and add Feats, de-facto PrCs, reams of spells, make/buy rules, etc, and get it back to something like the early WotC era, 3.0/3.5, though it'd be a lot of up-front work, and y'know, PF is right there, so why bother?)
These were the three of the stated design goals, before the rules were written.

Goal #1: Reunification through Common Understanding

As part of the design process, the R&D team must boil down the RPG into its most basic component parts. Using those rules elements, the team must then build an easy to understand game system that incorporates the most iconic elements of D&D in prominent roles. Anyone who has ever played any version of D&D must recognize and understand its most important elements.

Goal #2: Reunification through Diversity

Traditionally, D&D editions have focused on specific play styles. This approach has fragmented the community over time. The next iteration must stretch the system to cover a wider variety of play styles through character and DM options. By looking at past editions and incorporating their elements as core or optional rules, we can allow players and groups to place the focus where they want it.

Goal #3: Reunification through Accessibility

D&D has traditionally required large amounts of time, a large play group, and a sustained commitment. The design process must focus on play time, group size, speed of play, and length of campaigns, with an eye toward reducing the minimum required from each area. Players who want a longer play time and so forth can easily scale up the game to meet their needs and opt into the various rules modules we'll provide or that they'll build themselves. However, our standard goal is to remove minimum group sizes, allow for a complete adventure in one hour of play, and satisfying campaigns in 50 hours of play.

Game Design

The new system must create a mechanical and mathematical framework that the play experience of all editions of D&D can rest within. One player can create a 4th-Edition style character while another can build a 1st-Edition one. Complexity and individual experiences rest in the players' hands. That experience is more important than the specifics of the math. In other words, if the math works but the game doesn't feel like D&D, we've failed. If the system is sound, but it can't replicate D&D's classic adventures or seamlessly support any of D&D's settings, it isn't the right system for D&D.

More importantly, we must look beyond the mechanics of the game to focus on the archetypes, literary tropes, and cultural elements that built D&D. We must build a fighter that resonates as a warrior, not one simply cobbled together with mechanics pilfered from D&D's past. The key game experience of D&D lies at the game table. Our work must start by focusing on the key elements of D&D and the unique traits of a tabletop RPG. The mechanics must support those two factors, not the other way around.
 
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dave2008

Explorer
Did that way back in 1e days but I am lazier now... reflavor seemed sufficient
Well, note I said "significant" monsters. I don't do it for everyday orcs and such. I don't remember making custom monsters at all back in 1e / D&D days. I really on started doing that with 4e and 5e.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
And actual homebrew. Part of the philosophy of the slow pace of release and reluctance to errata is that they are selling a /starting point/. If you move that starting point after the race has begun, that's bad. Maybe not as bad as moving the goal posts or mixing sports metaphors, but bad.
you could definitely get a goal through the hoops right into left field over that issue...
 

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