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

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Nope, after each encounter you are expected it assumes you have most if not all of your resources at all times, from health and short rest stuff. And assumes you have at least 1 or 2 of your biggest long rest spell slot.
This is trivially shown as false. Resources are attrition based. Sorry, if you will not engage with reality, there's no reason to keep talking.

It does not design like that because the design your describing is impossible to make for encounter balance, since how much resources they spend and retrieve is 100% variable and no one is naughty word psychic enough to know that.
I don't appreciate you putting words in my mouth and claiming I'm saying things that I haven't said. When you do that I see no reason to keep interacting with you. Bye.
 

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MGibster

Legend
You are absolutely not getting what I am saying.
No, I see where you're coming from. Not all disagreements are misunderstandings, they can often arise because people don't look at things in a similar manner and there's no reconciliation possible. That's okay, we don't have to agree here. You have fun doing what you do. I find that too many combats in D&D turn into a chore rather than something I look forward to. And I'm saying this as someone who likes combat in D&D as a whole.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I played 4E for the duration of its release and ran a campaign up to 30th. A level 21 party stomped all over Lollth, who was supposed to be CR 35.
Apologies for quoting twice, but I glossed over this at first and have come back to it.

I'm... skeptical, to say the least, about your claims regarding Lolth. I crunched the numbers* and this doesn't add up unless the DM changed things, a lot. So how, exactly, did this level 21 party "stomp all over" Lolth without massively deviating from the expected math?

* I won't bore you with the details unless you want them, TL;DR is "they can only hit her on a crit and she can hit them 100% of the time," with ongoing poisons doing a quarter or more of a typical char's HP.
 

ad_hoc

(they/them)
I think other issues that are relevant are 1) the length of the session, and 2) the impact of actual play shows.

If you are playing 8-10 hour games, or longer, like we did when I was in high school, then a bunch of encounters make sense. But if your sessions are 2-4 hours, which I think is more typical, especially as we get older, then having a ton of encounters becomes impractical, and carrying the adventuring day on between sessions, while sometimes necessary, is not really optimal. So that puts a practical pressure on how many encounters happen during an adventuring day.

Then there is the impact of watching actual play shows, which I think are increasingly influential on how many think the game is optimally played. If you watch an episode of Critical Role, there is typically one combat encounter over a 3-4 hour session. Sometimes none. The emphasis is very much on story and character, and as all of these people are entertainers first and foremost, it makes sense that combat encounters are not a priority. So this normalizes a low encounter session.

And I stand by my assertion that D&D combat is kind of slow paced and often boring. Players often tune out when it isn't their turn, and a fairly straightforward combat can still take an hour to resolve, particularly with a large group.

When I incorporate a published adventure into my campaign, the first thing I do is eliminate at least half of the encounters. Most of them are a waste of time and don't advance the story in an appreciable way. But this then absolutely impacts the degree of challenge. Usually I compensate by making the meaningful encounters more dangerous, but this an art rather than a science.

We have no problem having multiple sessions per long rest.

The short rest mechanic works nicely for this.
 

Oofta

Legend
Apologies for quoting twice, but I glossed over this at first and have come back to it.

I'm... skeptical, to say the least, about your claims regarding Lolth. I crunched the numbers* and this doesn't add up unless the DM changed things, a lot. So how, exactly, did this level 21 party "stomp all over" Lolth without massively deviating from the expected math?

* I won't bore you with the details unless you want them, TL;DR is "they can only hit her on a crit and she can hit them 100% of the time," with ongoing poisons doing a quarter or more of a typical char's HP.

It's been too long, and I don't really care. I don't have the books (or character sheets) any more, but I wouldn't guarantee they needed a 20 to hit. Many things did auto damage and who said they relied on targeting her AC?

But go ahead and tell me I'm lying. Whatever.
 

It's been too long, and I don't really care. I don't have the books (or character sheets) any more, but I wouldn't guarantee they needed a 20 to hit. Many things did auto damage and who said they relied on targeting her AC?

But go ahead and tell me I'm lying. Whatever.

I will have to agree with @EzekielRaiden that something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Basically everything in 4e targeted a defense. Things that didn't tended to deal single digit damage. And HP for solos was heavily, heavily bloated. Like Orcus is a CR 33 in the original Monster Manual and before any errata he had 1,525 hp, AC 48, Fortitude 51, Reflex 46, Will 49. If you're a PC at level 21, you shouldn't have much higher than +25 or +26 to your weapon attacks. That's close to the soft cap, but either way... you're off the die.

Like when you fight something equal CR in 4e, it's defenses are such that you need an 11 or better to hit on average if you're min/maxing and taking all the feat taxes. And monsters get +1 to all defenses per level.

I would believe that the monster was originally CR35 and downshifted, but as presented this is not really a credible claim. It just makes me think your players were using peasant railguns.
 

Clint_L

Hero
There is a time and a place for a series of fights culminating in an epic battle when the party is already half-exhausted. Matt Mercer stages fights like this at times. But these should be rare occurrences, IMO, not a daily grind.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
There is a time and a place for a series of fights culminating in an epic battle when the party is already half-exhausted. Matt Mercer stages fights like this at times. But these should be rare occurrences, IMO, not a daily grind.
Yes Matt does that, he does not have a lot of fights and has the occasional thrash fight where little of consequence happens but then there are the big ones where he really pushes the boat out. That battle against Raishan was something else.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
It's been too long, and I don't really care. I don't have the books (or character sheets) any more, but I wouldn't guarantee they needed a 20 to hit. Many things did auto damage and who said they relied on targeting her AC?

But go ahead and tell me I'm lying. Whatever.
I can only go by the numbers in front of me. The level 35 god Lolth has AC 51. Her other defenses are effectively equivalent (high 40s, since AC is usually 2 points higher than average NADs.) To have normal hit rates, you would need +51 or better to your rolls. The best I could come up with, even with impossibly high numbers, was +31 at that level. (10 half level + 8 stat mod + 3 accurate weapon prof + 3 expertise + 6 magic weapon + 1 from some other bonus = +31. This even assumes better weapons, stats, etc. than a level 21 char in general would have. +27 or +28 is much more likely.)

I'm not saying you are lying. I believe your group had a curb stomp battle. I have zero difficulty accepting that you are accurately describing the events that occurred when your group went to fight Lolth.

What I am saying is, you didn't fight the level 35 god unmodified. You fought a Lolth with different baseline values (e.g. recalculated to be something like level 25 instead of 35), or you had other buffs to yourselves or debuffs to Lolth to make it possible, or some combination of the two. Those changes likely overshot, and are thus what made it a cakewalk, not the system itself. The actual system, when used as designed (fights within roughly a range of level-4 to level+5) will produce fairly consistent results. Fight stuff weaker than you, and it will usually be easier. Fight stuff tougher than you, and you will have to work harder. There will always be variation because D&D is a probabilistic game. But that variation will remain, the vast majority of the time, within the range the designers wanted it to be, even in the face of many variables all pushing and pulling in different directions.
 

jgsugden

Legend
No, I see where you're coming from. Not all disagreements are misunderstandings, they can often arise because people don't look at things in a similar manner and there's no reconciliation possible. That's okay, we don't have to agree here. You have fun doing what you do. I find that too many combats in D&D turn into a chore rather than something I look forward to. And I'm saying this as someone who likes combat in D&D as a whole.
Consider rereading our posts with a fresh viewpoint tomorrow. Saying you're seeing where I am coming from while insisting that non-deadly combats will be tedious slogs that do not matter is inherently missing the point. Not just disagreeing - it is not understanding.

Seriously.

Take a break. Come back. Read the posts with a critical eye.
 

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