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

MGibster

Legend
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.
I'm stating my opinion rather than insisting on some universal truth that combat can become tedious under the current model. If you don't find it gets tedious, cool. You made your point about stakes other than death keeping things exciting, I understood that point, and yet I still disagree when it comes to D&D 5th edition. It's been a while since I've run into anyone with the effrontery to suggest my difference of opinion must mean I don't understand the issue.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Oofta

Legend
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 myeajority 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.

So I'm just lying about an edition I don't care about any more. Good to know.

My point is that solos have never worked whether you believe me or not.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I'm stating my opinion rather than insisting on some universal truth that combat can become tedious under the current model. If you don't find it gets tedious, cool. You made your point about stakes other than death keeping things exciting, I understood that point, and yet I still disagree when it comes to D&D 5th edition. It's been a while since I've run into anyone with the effrontery to suggest my difference of opinion must mean I don't understand the issue.
So you're not going to consider taking a break and coming back to it. Got it. If you did, you might see why I am saying what I am saying.

I will let this go now with no further response.
 

Clint_L

Hero
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.
That is incredibly condescending. He is saying that he read and understood what you are saying, and is not convinced that what you are describing supports your more general argument. Nor am I. No one is denying that there can be times when a series of encounters culminating in a final epic battle can be fun - I cited such an example myself. But that is a rarity, in my experience, and in looking at published adventures. Very often, minor encounters contribute little to the story and, because D&D combat is very time consuming, they eat up a disproportionate amount of game time while offering little return.

Your one anecdotal example does not prove a general principal. Neither do mine, so the issue remains open for exploration.

Maybe he read your post "with a critical eye" and your argument wasn't that persuasive. And telling someone to "take a break" because they disagree with you is just offensive.
 

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.

No set of guidelines have ever been perfect in my experience.
That's on the edge of the CR system though. Ideally that doesn't happen, but that's an extreme scenario. How did you find the 4E CR system up until that point?
 

ad_hoc

(they/them)
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.

The key is that it could happen.

If the players are unsure how dangerous things might get them they will take each battle or use of spells with caution as they don't want to get caught out.

So there doesn't need to be a "full" adventuring day every time it just needs to be a possibility.
 

Enrahim2

Adventurer
I think the big issue here is that D&D adventuring day attrition was (likely) never designed for the modern encounter, encounter, boss fight, end of day structure at all. It is a remant of the system designed for the encounter, encounter, encounter, boss, loot, encounter, encounter end of day structure.

The maga dungeon structure was typically, set some goal for your delve. Then an introduction phase where you get to see some of the types of (random) encounters you could expect to find here. Then the part where they get to where they are doing their main task - where succeeding is the twist of the adventures as we then are building up the tension when the attritioned and treasure loaded heroes are trying to get trough the same type of encounters they breesed trough in the introducton, the climax being when they see the exit, and the DM does their final random encounter roll.

There is a reason hardly any computer RPG do have attrition. They excel at the encounter, encounter, boss structure. The encounters are there not to attrite, but to allow the player to practice new powers and loot gotten after the previous loot, while also allowing them to feel powerfull and for the game to show off cool effects animations, monster art and other eye candy like computer games excel at and use as time fillers nowdays. Then the boss battle is the climax, which is the only point where the player skill is actually tested in any meaningful way providing the climax.

Atrition is critical to making the megadungeon story pattern to work, but it is useless for the boss ending pattern, for the boss endinf pattern you want the character power level to be the same at the first fight and the boss fight so that you feel the contrast in power level between the goon and the boss. For the escape fro dungeon scenario the attrition is critical to create the contrast between the challenge of entering vs exiting, despite meeting the same oposition.

At a slightly different rant, small encounters work in the old school mega dungeon setting as they were quickly resolved, and serves as part of the important story beats (introduction to what to expect at the end and the challenging part after the "twist"). I am howevermore sceptical if they fulfill their role well in more complex systems like 5ed, as the time combat takes and the lack of the computer game eye candy make it harder to justify it as a way to "practice skills and feel badass", or to throw in the volume of it required to actually serve as a suitable intro-climax pair in a dungeon delve.

My take on it is that it seem like D&D 5ed is likely best off being played without attrition at all, and with only combats having some obvious immediate important meaning in context of the shared fantasy.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
There is a reason hardly any computer RPG do have attrition. They excel at the encounter, encounter, boss structure. The encounters are there not to attrite, but to allow the player to practice new powers and loot gotten after the previous loot, while also allowing them to feel powerfull and for the game to show off cool effects animations, monster art and other eye candy like computer games excel at and use as time fillers nowdays. Then the boss battle is the climax, which is the only point where the player skill is actually tested in any meaningful way providing the climax.
Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) actually did the attrition very well. You had to work as a team to advance in the game. At least in the first few years of the game. Folks complained about having to play with others and they made the game much easier to solo.
 

Enrahim2

Adventurer
Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) actually did the attrition very well. You had to work as a team to advance in the game. At least in the first few years of the game. Folks complained about having to play with others and they made the game much easier to solo.
(The fact that they had to change due to popular demand to me make it seem like your claim they did attrition "very well" might be personal preference based? ;) )

What did you feel worked well? From what you say I guess the way it worked was that it put a diverse set of challenges in the first parts of the scenario, so that if you didn't have a well rounded party you would expect to be so attrited that you had no chance to succeed in the climax? And in that regard it worked as a good design to bring people together to play rather than solo?

In that case, this would indeed be an interesting design exploit of attrition as a concept, but not really applicable to tabletop RPGs. Here there are other strong social forces at work preventing each player from making their character just running away trying to solo everything :p
 

Oofta

Legend
I think the big issue here is that D&D adventuring day attrition was (likely) never designed for the modern encounter, encounter, boss fight, end of day structure at all. It is a remant of the system designed for the encounter, encounter, encounter, boss, loot, encounter, encounter end of day structure.

The maga dungeon structure was typically, set some goal for your delve. Then an introduction phase where you get to see some of the types of (random) encounters you could expect to find here. Then the part where they get to where they are doing their main task - where succeeding is the twist of the adventures as we then are building up the tension when the attritioned and treasure loaded heroes are trying to get trough the same type of encounters they breesed trough in the introducton, the climax being when they see the exit, and the DM does their final random encounter roll.

There is a reason hardly any computer RPG do have attrition. They excel at the encounter, encounter, boss structure. The encounters are there not to attrite, but to allow the player to practice new powers and loot gotten after the previous loot, while also allowing them to feel powerfull and for the game to show off cool effects animations, monster art and other eye candy like computer games excel at and use as time fillers nowdays. Then the boss battle is the climax, which is the only point where the player skill is actually tested in any meaningful way providing the climax.

Atrition is critical to making the megadungeon story pattern to work, but it is useless for the boss ending pattern, for the boss endinf pattern you want the character power level to be the same at the first fight and the boss fight so that you feel the contrast in power level between the goon and the boss. For the escape fro dungeon scenario the attrition is critical to create the contrast between the challenge of entering vs exiting, despite meeting the same oposition.

At a slightly different rant, small encounters work in the old school mega dungeon setting as they were quickly resolved, and serves as part of the important story beats (introduction to what to expect at the end and the challenging part after the "twist"). I am howevermore sceptical if they fulfill their role well in more complex systems like 5ed, as the time combat takes and the lack of the computer game eye candy make it harder to justify it as a way to "practice skills and feel badass", or to throw in the volume of it required to actually serve as a suitable intro-climax pair in a dungeon delve.

My take on it is that it seem like D&D 5ed is likely best off being played without attrition at all, and with only combats having some obvious immediate important meaning in context of the shared fantasy.
Comparing Video RPGs to TTRPGs is kind of like comparing apples to oranges. You could restructure the game so you didn't have to rely on attrition, and to a certain degree that works, but to have it never matter would change the nature of the game. There's no way you can have 1 set of rules cover every style and concept, I find that D&D can be easily modified by using some optional rules that I can get it to work for me.

You don't need a megadungeon to have attrition matter; I never use classical dungeons and attrition matters all the time when I DM. It just takes a different approach.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top