D&D 5E The actual adventuring day is 3-4 encounters per day, Wizards just last minute decided to make Easy Encounters from the playtest, the average.

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
So based on this and anyone’s experience:

What rubric would you use for better than average out of the box experience?

My DM has generally simply made adjustments up and we rise to the challenge. I have often gone with harder than average.

Does anyone have a nice rule they find useful as a benchmark? It could be what was originally intended here or otherwise—-just want to get closer with out of the gate baseline
That only adjusts total challenge for the day, it throws balance between classes with different resource recovery methods out of the window. Let me repeat - harder encounters only adjusts one of the two big issues that number of encounters deals with, and doesn't really touch the other one.

For "out of the box rubric" you could try the Gritty Rest variant, so you can have an appropriate number of encounters per long rest but that takes place over a much larger amount of in-game time.
 

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Oofta

Legend
It's actually impossible to have set difficulty parameters for a game like this.

All they can do is say that some enemies should be harder to fight than others.

Even in this thread one poster said that level 5 characters in their game take down CR 15 creatures.

I remember a post once where someone said the encounter rules are broken because a level 1 party defeated the entire drow encampment at the start of OotA.

Of course, the DM just made it happen. The DM can make sure any party can defeat any enemy. It's the nature of the game.

I find the difficulty guidelines to be very good as long as we are going with the description of each tier of difficulty and not the name. We use the standard array and I use the treasure hoard tables and I also don't play all enemy creatures like zombies.

Every table is going to differ wildly on how difficult the game actually is.

I've run separate groups that were the same level, same options, similar encounters and group A wouldn't even break a sweat on an encounter that would be a possible TPK for group B. There's no way to build a system that can account for the level of variation you'll hit, and in my case it was just a different mix of players and classes.
 

Oofta

Legend
Curious. You only get one extra crit out of every 20 swings (or two, at high levels). On average, that just...doesn't add much, as noted. That's really the full extent of your damage bonuses, since there are no interactions between fighting styles.
When you take champion, you crit on a 19 or 20. So every 10 swings or by the time you hit 5th level less than once every 5 rounds of combat (assuming action surges). My PC multi-classed into rogue and had two-weapon fighting. It was quite fun.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
When you take champion, you crit on a 19 or 20. So every 10 swings or by the time you hit 5th level less than once every 5 rounds of combat (assuming action surges). My PC multi-classed into rogue and had two-weapon fighting. It was quite fun.
Yeah, it synergizes with base Fighter abilities and Fighting styles like gangbusters.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
There's no such thing as a standardized, suggested, or normalized adventuring day in 5e...
DMG pg 84, section "The Adventuring Day".

It starts with:
THE ADVENTURING DAY
Assuming typical adventuring conditions and average luck, most adventuring parties can handle about six to eight medium or hard encounters in a day. If the adventure has more easy encounters , the adventurers can get through more. If it has more deadly encounters, they can handle fewer.

And continues on from there talking about XP budget and such.

Oh, and the next section is more normalized and standardized information about it in a section about Short Rests:
SHORT RESTS
In general , over the course of a full adventuring day, the party will likely need to take two short rests, about one-third and two-thirds of the way through the day.
 

When you take champion, you crit on a 19 or 20. So every 10 swings or by the time you hit 5th level less than once every 5 rounds of combat (assuming action surges). My PC multi-classed into rogue and had two-weapon fighting. It was quite fun.
Yes, but everyone crits on a 20. There is no extra damage for Champions from crits on 20s because everyone gets that. The only bonus is when they get a 19 (or 18 at high level), because that gives a crit that the non-Champion would not get. We can ignore any static damage dice contribution because, in general, if a creature can be hit at all, then all three of 18, 19, and (automatically) 20 will hit. So the only difference in damage between a Battle Master and a Champion is that the former gets Superiority Dice and the latter gets 1 extra crit (on average) every 20 swings. GWF is the most favorable style to Champions because it affects the damage rolls, not static values which are not increased by critical hits. And, as noted, I am pretending that the BM never holds onto Superiority Dice trying to spend them on a crit (where the extra dice will also be increased.)

Hence, 5% of the time (or 10% at high level), the Champ gets their weapon's base damage dice as bonus damage. This means, on average, they get 5% (10% yadda yadda) of their weapon's base damage as bonus damage per swing; over the course of a large number of short rests, the central limit theorem shows that all but a statistically insignificant group of outliers will trend towards this mean bonus per swing. The BM, meanwhile, gets exactly 4d8 dice (rising with level to eventually be 6d12.) As shown, the Champion needs at absolute least 20 combat rounds between short rests in order to catch up with the BM's damage bonus at most levels (at very high levels it becomes more like 12-16 combat rounds between short rests.)
 

You may be overestimating the utility of what other Subclasses get. Mearls went into the math of this when he covrered the Fighter in the Happy Fun Hour: going from 5% Crit to 10% crit is the baseline power that the math for other Subclasses are based around.
I mean...I literally just did the math. If the Champion is meant to be the standard level of subclass benefit, nearly everything else is much better. That's not a very good standard!
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Wow that explains an awful lot.

Also I note we'd unconsciously been adjusting for it by indeed designing around Hard/Deadly encounter as the base in both my and my bro's campaigns.

As for "why", I think it was because a lower "Easy" allowed them to have a difficulty for the high numbers of "pointless" encounters a lot of old-skool 1E/2E adventures have, which would fit the "Apology Edition" paradigm. Otherwise those would be outside normal encounter design.
Yeah, I mean as noted, in the playtest version of Caves of Chaos, we were doing like 3-4 “easy” encounters (what are now called medium encounters) and 1-2 “average” encounters (what are now called hard encounters) in a typical day, with “tough” encounters (what are now called deadly encounters) being pretty rare unless you entered an area you were under-leveled for.

The funny thing is, I vaguely recall people complaining about the way the encounter difficulties were named at the time. I had forgotten that the categories were “easy,” “average,” and “tough” and so was misremembering those complaints as being the same as they are now, that supposedly hard and deadly encounters were too easy. But now that I remember the different names, I think it may actually have been that people didn’t like that “easy” encounters, rather than “average” ones were the most typical type of encounter.
 

DMG pg 84, section "The Adventuring Day".

It starts with:
THE ADVENTURING DAY
Assuming typical adventuring conditions and average luck, most adventuring parties can handle about six to eight medium or hard encounters in a day. If the adventure has more easy encounters , the adventurers can get through more. If it has more deadly encounters, they can handle fewer.

And continues on from there talking about XP budget and such.

Oh, and the next section is more normalized and standardized information about it in a section about Short Rests:
SHORT RESTS
In general , over the course of a full adventuring day, the party will likely need to take two short rests, about one-third and two-thirds of the way through the day.
Reread that and point out where it sets anything as a standard. The 6-8 number is the floor is not the standard or average. if you are using exp budget for a PHB/ non option rule party of marginal skill it a rough boundary for not murdering them.

The DMG really only gives you the outline to see if you have an encounter, or encounter chain, that is potentially deadly or completely drains the party. This is a very different metric then trying to set up an adventuring day that is challenging or risky due to overextension via player agency.

There are dozens of interviews and social media posts from JC and Mike(though Mike is very free form with his games personally and likes to ad hoc challenges if he sees fit. For example likes waves and depending on your view those could be multi encounters or one large one and the exp math is quite different in either case) supporting this and if you need further evidence you just have to look at published adventure modules and see they have never subscribed to this "rule". I believe they decided on saying 6-8 to gently push DMs away from 5 minute days while not relying on going into depth on the timing and order of encounters.
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Reread that and point out where it sets anything as a standard. The 6-8 number is the floor is not the standard or average. if you are using exp budget for a PHB/ non option rule party of marginal skill it a rough boundary for not murdering them.

The DMG really only gives you the outline to see if you have an encounter, or encounter chain, that is potentially deadly or completely drains the party. This is a very different metric then trying to set up an adventuring day that is challenging or risky due to overextension via player agency.

There are dozens of interviews and social media posts from JC and Mike(though Mike is very free form with his games personally and likes to ad hoc challenges if he sees fit. For example likes waves and depending on your view those could be multi encounters or one large one and the exp math is quite different in either case) supporting this and if you need further evidence you just have to look at published adventure modules and see they have never subscribed to this "rule". I believe they decided on saying 6-8 to gently push DMs away from 5 minute days while not relying on going into depth on the timing and order of encounters.
Just because there is a standard doesn't mean there can't be exceptions. Those don't change that there is. I did reread it, and it does very specifically give a standard, both in the 6-8 and then the rest talking about daily XP budget.

Anyway, part of your claim was that nothing has ever been suggested which is patently shown false.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Check out the Spells per Day in the Playtest Packet vs the One in the PHB, and the spell preparation rules. Casters got way more spells prepped at low level, and more spells per day at higher level.
Can this info be shared as I don't have a playtest packet?
 

Just because there is a standard doesn't mean there can't be exceptions. Those don't change that there is. I did reread it, and it does very specifically give a standard, both in the 6-8 and then the rest talking about daily XP budget.

Anyway, part of your claim was that nothing has ever been suggested which is patently shown false.
You are missing the point. The 6-8 count is only applicable in relation to the exp budget suggestion not the general overall game design. It's a rough guess on how much a party can handle resource wise. It's saying a party can  HANDLE X not a party MUST DO X.

The general guidelines are hidden but basically you don't need a minimum or maximum encounter count or difficulty type but you need the possibility, or the illusion of such, of more challenges at any given point. The game assumes the party is going to win any individual encounter barring long term horrible luck and poor decisions.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
When you take champion, you crit on a 19 or 20. So every 10 swings or by the time you hit 5th level less than once every 5 rounds of combat (assuming action surges). My PC multi-classed into rogue and had two-weapon fighting. It was quite fun.
You crit 1 in 10 swings; but only 1 in 20 swings change because you are a Champion.

If you just pay attention to "did they swing and did the foe die from the swing", Champions are actually hard to tell apart from baseline Fighters. The impact of the crit ability is about as good as a battlemaster spending a single die per fight, and the BM gets 4 between every short rest.

By T4 with 18-20 crit range and 3-4 attacks/round and a magic item with extra damage dice (flametongue) it actually starts cating up to BM dice and being noticable.

But, "I crit" is fun. And if you attribute all of your Crits (not just the 19s) to being a Champion, I could see it feeling better than it is.
 
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