D&D 5E The Adventuring Day has nothing to do with encounter balance.

ad_hoc

(they/them)
The current implementation leaves something to be desired, but there are also major fundamental issues within D&D as a whole to contend with.
Probably most notable is just the incredible breadth of what the gamer base considers the normal mode of play. Some people are in dungeons 24/7, others mostly wandering the countryside, others mix&match. Some DMs let you retreat and rest (or the contextual equivalent) whenever you opt to do so, while others press with time constraints or wandering encounters or just the hornets from the hornet nest you just shook up coming out and taking the battle to you. Some groups come with a menagerie of pets, herd of mounts, and retinue of NPCs; while others stick with 4 PCs (and the action economy associated with that).
Second to that (IMO) is the wide distribution in how different PCs perform under different play experiences. Not just 'always on' abilities vs. X/day or Y/sub-part-of-day, but also who does well against traps vs monsters, bosses vs swarms, pure combat vs. everything else, stuff you expected vs. unforeseen circumstances, who is a glass cannons vs <whatever the antonym of that is>, etc. The same goes on the other side of the balance arm, in that some monsters will crash and burn against some parties, while others will be devastating.
There are more issues, but these seem like a huge part of the variability that makes assigning a simple challenge number to an enemy/enemy encounter so fraught.


It's certainly an option, but what does one replace it with? Certainly BitD you had total-HP-available-over-day and spells/magic item uses/day as you do now; but also a much greater risk of just running out of HP right now (since your totals were lower and you were dead at 0 or -10) and save-or-dies (meaning 'still with most resources, but dead so it doesn't matter' was a more common situation). Other RPGs (where combat is a significant component) might play around with one or another aspect -- maybe everything will fully charge within minutes of a battle; or combats are so risky (or healing so burdensome) that pressing on for another fight is nonsense; but in general most have some resource (HP, or the equivalent, if nothing else) that gets expended in fights. Do you have a few examples you were thinking of as models?



I would agree, and 5e's is not the best I've seen, but I've also not seen very many good ones. Wargame unit point costs often are roughly balanced and good at showing 'which will defeat which else, and how easily,' but with a lot of variability. GURPS/Hero System are almost famous for their point values not aligning well with actual power (being more of a fairness/you-can't-get-everything measure than an actual balance tool). TSR-era's HD+asterisks and/or on-what-dungeon-level's-chart-are-they-found measures are nice in that they are so vague no one really relied on them. Again, are there examples we might want to use as comparisons?

The basic concept of 'the adventuring day,' or at the very least the concept of recharging resources and that the GM can either police it somehow or face the consequences of not, have been around pretty much since the beginning. At least unless you did the west marches 'if you leave the dungeon, the DM's other group could well get the loot first' playstyle that man a whole bunch of us never did. PCs have always noticed that they could go out and rest after major or minor resource depletion, and several of the best ways to prevent this (doom clocks, monsters getting wise and reinforcing/leaving with the loot) can strain verisimilitude if done every time (cue debates on how much).

Every single adventure I play has time constraints on it in some fashion.

I have difficulty imagining an interesting adventure that doesn't.

The only exception I have found is Overland travel. If I want that to be important in a game then I use a rule of no long rests until at a friendly settlement.
 

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Stalker0

Legend
Maybe CR should be just replaced with or include the tier system.
I like the concept, but I think your still in the same fundamental bucket.

A Tier 2 monster would heavily challenge a Tier 1 party (levels 1-4 lets say). But a Tier 3 monster isn't going to be nearly as threatening to a Tier 2 party. The game just fundamentally changes around 5th level in a way that it never does again for the rest of the game.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Its never going to happen but the true way to go over this problem is to reduce most things to encounter based abilities, with more out of combat/plot spells being on a slower cooldown. This ensures a consistent power level fight after fight, and is what you generally see in most heroic/super heroic depictions nowadays. You can still have nasty effects like "can't heal until a long rest" or "exhaustion" as the rare effects that linger after a fight to shake things up.

Then you use consumable items as your resource management, optional so that players/dms can include that or not as they see fit.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Its never going to happen but the true way to go over this problem is to reduce most things to encounter based abilities, with more out of combat/plot spells being on a slower cooldown. This ensures a consistent power level fight after fight, and is what you generally see in most heroic/super heroic depictions nowadays. You can still have nasty effects like "can't heal until a long rest" or "exhaustion" as the rare effects that linger after a fight to shake things up.

Then you use consumable items as your resource management, optional so that players/dms can include that or not as they see fit.
I'd prefer to go the other way with a number of resources to manage per day/adventure, but ill take an encounter focus over splitting the difference.
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
Attrition model is fine. Mixes of daily vs encounter vs at-will actions are fine (though arguably classes should be designed that way - wizard all dailies, fighter all at-will/encounter). But there’s really nothing wrong with anticipating the usage of resources and then saying “hey your parties have X resources so if you tax them greater than X, there may be trouble.” That’s all fine.

Where we might really improve encounter-design (for combat) is a ground up redesign of monsters on the tier-schedule rather than an individual CR, and then perhaps broadly a Role (like 4E had). Number appearing/organization would also be helpful. So you can go “alright my players are tier 2, so I can drop 4 tier 2 monsters here, 8 tier 1 monsters there” and not have to worry so much.

I suppose you’d want to determine number appearing by relative strength versus one average adventurer. So it might take 2 goblins per adventurer or one ogre per 2 adventurers. Something like that.

And then the real coup would be to have the XP value communicate all that info, somehow. So you can come at it both ways. If you can reasonably assume an adventuring day of X resources can overcome Y XP, then you can build whatever you like by either slotting in versus your party, or “buying” monsters out of the tier list as you go. Such that when you are out of your daily budget, you could check to see whether pushing further would be catastrophic or not.

If a goblin was worth 1 XP and an ogre is worth 4, for example you could reasonably conclude a tier one party of 4 could overcome 8 goblins, or two ogres, or some combo thereof. And you’d know how many times they could do this before the expected end of resources.

It doesn’t have to be perfect… it just needs to be “about right” in order to be useful to the average DM. Because, after all, actual results will come down to decisions made by the party rather than some systemic design.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I'd prefer to go the other way with a number of resources to manage per day/adventure, but ill take an encounter focus over splitting the difference.
I mean, putting aside the fact that I would leap to freedom after dropping smoke bombs if confronted with more resource management, the problem you're going to run into is people who aren't casters.

We both remember the Unlimited, Long Term, Drama Cannon XXL that was powered up and fired in response to fighters getting daily abilities.

You're going to have to either weather that storm, or just do what a lot of people have quietly been praying for and just remove Fighters and Rogues entirely.
 

Every single adventure I play has time constraints on it in some fashion.

I have difficulty imagining an interesting adventure that doesn't.

The only exception I have found is Overland travel. If I want that to be important in a game then I use a rule of no long rests until at a friendly settlement.
Good for you for finding what works for your group. I think any given group can find house rules to fit their style. I am taking the thread topic to cover more addressing the situation overall/across the breadth of gamers.
As an example of one where a time constraint is hard, I would suggest 'let's go explore that long-abandoned _____.'
 

Stalker0

Legend
I mean, putting aside the fact that I would leap to freedom after dropping smoke bombs if confronted with more resource management, the problem you're going to run into is people who aren't casters.

We both remember the Unlimited, Long Term, Drama Cannon XXL that was powered up and fired in response to fighters getting daily abilities.

You're going to have to either weather that storm, or just do what a lot of people have quietly been praying for and just remove Fighters and Rogues entirely.
Which probably addresses the real problem. I think the problem is not so much on the monster side, its on the players side.

PCs can be all shapes and sizes, levels, and numbers.

I think a better system is: just like a DM assesses CRs for a monster based on certain stats, you could do the same for players. Based on the fighters standard damage, AC, and hitpoints.....there CR is X. My fireballing wizard normally does X damage over 3 rounds, so they are CR Y.

Put all of my party together, and I get my party CR. Now I have an actual baseline to measure them against other monsters. and while that might sound like work, its really a one and done kind of effort. You do that for your party, and you really only need to update it when they level, and often only minorly.
 


FallenRX

Adventurer
Yep. That's the problem. Some classes can do their thing all the time and have very little impact aside from damage.

Then the ones that do have impact need napsies almost immediately and guess whose schedule we're actually on.
That is a seperate issue, but the encounter desing of the game doesnt really care for that at all.
It assumes casters have most of their spell slots, and every ones big daily resources they have at least 1 of.
 

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