OneDnD The Focus Fire Problem

MarkB

Legend
How often do you see things like complications of shooting missiles into a fight do you see in the inspirational media?
Pretty much any time there's a designated one-on-one fight while there's an ally present with a ranged attack, it suddenly turns out that they're shifting position too much for a clear shot. That bit in Avengers when Captain America first tussles with Loki and Black Widow is hovering there in the Quinjet waiting for an angle, for example.
How often do you see wizards running out of spells and resorting to a crossbow or darts?
Gandalf spends most of his time rocking his sword-and-staff dual-wield combo.
 

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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Pretty much any time there's a designated one-on-one fight while there's an ally present with a ranged attack, it suddenly turns out that they're shifting position too much for a clear shot. That bit in Avengers when Captain America first tussles with Loki and Black Widow is hovering there in the Quinjet waiting for an angle, for example.

Gandalf spends most of his time rocking his sword-and-staff dual-wield combo.
Gandalf though, as has been long pointed out, is definitely not a D&D Wizard, lol.
 



ad_hoc

(he/they)
For those concerned about this are there 5+ PCs at the table?

5e is well designed for 4 PC parties but runs into issues like these with bigger ones.

If we are going to have a game with that many PCs there are some things that could be tweaked to make for a better experience.

Bigger spaces for combats with more stuff in them is one such change. If we increase the number of everything but we still have a 20x20 room then we're going to have a bad time.
 





Not in a "constant problem" way, though, that's just wrong.
Of course not, it was not my claim either.

Friendly fire is only ever an issue in war movies when it's Very Dramatic. It's huge deal when it comes up, whatever the cause. A whole scene will pivot on it. But most of the time? Not an issue.
This is a dramatic scene. So yep, it can. It is even talk about it documentaries. So yep, it can be an issue and it should it the game.


Examples?
Sniper, NCIS, CSI New York, Las Vegas and Miami, and soooo many others.

No, in bad and unrealistic movies we see that constantly. That's absolutely classic trope of '80s-style action. Don't pretend this is a "good" or "realistic" thing. In "realistic" stuff it'd much harder for people to lose their weapons (certainly trained professionals rather than beat cops). You're calling Supernatural and the A-Team "realistic" here, dude.
Do you know the 10 feet rule? If a crook, opponent is within 10 feet of an officer. It is almost a 100% chance that the officer will not get its gun out in time and will be stabbed by the knife holding criminal.

No we do not. If you disagree provide examples. Usually this is only the case if the Good Guy has the Magic Sword or whatever that counters the Bad Guy, and that's why it's bad for the Bad Guy.
Conan novels are such an example. Read them. Always Conan finally get to the evil wizard and Conan do not have magic sword. Legolas in the LotR running of arrow during the battle and so on.

Examples? I've seen plenty of terrible movies where people ran out of ammo, and plenty of good and even great ones where they didn't. This is just silly nonsense that has no bearing on whether a movie is good/bad, and it's easy to show.
Mmm quite a few actually, usually used for dramatic effect. And you also have the reverse where the hero will throw empty shells and kill a bunch soldiers at la "Hot Shot".

May be that instead of using good, I should have use "more realistic".
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I was very specific for a reason.

"real person-level combat".

I didn't type those words idly. In real melee/arrow combat, you simply cannot behave like this. Casters standing at a distance might sometimes have the luxury to target specific people who they thought were threats, but they'd often be mistaken or operating on extremely limited information, or make very serious errors because they underestimated or overestimated people (this is down to the DM RP'ing them right of course - some DMs are clinically incapable of it).

A tank or pillbox can be "taken out" because it's not that capable of movement (we're assuming the tank isn't in an open field, because you're just stuffed). That's obviously not an equivalent situation. IRL, if you're armed with a sword, you can't just ignore another guy with a sword and go chase whoever you want. 5E doesn't have mechanics for that, though. No flanking, no firing into melee penalty, at most one AoO/turn, etc.

In reality, if you ignored a bunch of men with swords to try and chase down a wizard, you'd die with a bunch of swords in your back (or even just one). And indeed, anyone who has played a videogame that leans a bit more realistic absolutely knows this.

It's an absolutely unrealistic thing D&D does, that 5E makes far more extreme and obvious by removing all barriers to it and putting in "bag of HP" enemies that kind of require it. On some levels that might be smart - leaning in to a characteristic the game has - but trying to pretend it's realistic and putting in laughable 20th World War examples instead of medieval examples or fantasy examples is just unhelpful to understanding the issue, like it or loathe it.
We were discussing the tactics. And yes, tanks move. And militaries focus fire on them because they're a bigger threat.

In D&D, people focus fire on the rough equivalent of the tank while usually initially ignoring the infantry.

It's not about being realistic, it's about feeling artificial if you use rules to discourage that. And I find it very helpful to understanding the issue even if you do not.

It's also why I didn't much like "encounter" abilities as opposed to abilities which regenerate on a rest of some kind. It felt artificial. I don't like how they established rests in 5e, but I like the concept that time and rest are associated with recovering your endurance to do something strenuous again. I've always been fond of changing "recovering on short rest" to "you can do it a second time without a rest but it gives you a level of exhaustion" in addition to "recovering on short rest". That would feel less artificial to me.
 


It's not about being realistic, it's about feeling artificial if you use rules to discourage that. And I find it very helpful to understanding the issue even if you do not.
LOL!

This is like some guy who is eating Pringles with non-refrigerated spray-cheese on them walking up to me and telling me my burger is "processed food" and I shouldn't be eating it! Truly incredible.

Focus firing is 100% "artificial". It's absolutely Pringles + spray cheese. Sheesh it might even be Twinkie-level "artificial". Getting upset about rules that discourage it "feeling artificial" is just extremely extremely funny. All you're doing is saying "I'm totally used to this entirely artificial scenario, but this new thing is new and I'm not used to it, so I'm going to call it artificial!".

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you're out of bounds, it's just really funny.

And militaries focus fire on them because they're a bigger threat.
Also, no they don't. Because that's the whole point - tanks can't be taken small-arms fire (or, if they can, they're failing as tanks, let's not getting bogged down in arguments about detracking tanks). They require special tactics and weapons. So even the context of D&D, that doesn't fly.

In a D&D context, a tank is something like an Iron Golem in earlier editions. You can't "focus it down". You have get out special tools to deal with it.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
We were discussing the tactics. And yes, tanks move. And militaries focus fire on them because they're a bigger threat.
Tanks? I'm not so sure I'd consider drawing a parallel between concentrating fire on tanks with RPGs like D&D. Most PC equivalents on the field (the infantry), wouldn't have appropriate armor-killing weapons.
Flamethrowers, though. Oh, yeah. I'm pretty sure any flamethrower troops identified on the battlefield drew extra fire.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
LOL!

This is like some guy who is eating Pringles with non-refrigerated spray-cheese on them walking up to me and telling me my burger is "processed food" and I shouldn't be eating it! Truly incredible.

Focus firing is 100% "artificial". It's absolutely Pringles + spray cheese. Sheesh it might even be Twinkie-level "artificial". Getting upset about rules that discourage it "feeling artificial" is just extremely extremely funny. All you're doing is saying "I'm totally used to this entirely artificial scenario, but this new thing is new and I'm not used to it, so I'm going to call it artificial!".

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you're out of bounds, it's just really funny.


Also, no they don't. Because that's the whole point - tanks can't be taken small-arms fire (or, if they can, they're failing as tanks, let's not getting bogged down in arguments about detracking tanks). They require special tactics and weapons. So even the context of D&D, that doesn't fly.

In a D&D context, a tank is something like an Iron Golem in earlier editions. You can't "focus it down". You have get out special tools to deal with it.
I desperately miss monsters you had to get out special tools to defeat.
 


I desperately miss monsters you had to get out special tools to defeat.
Weirdly I kind of do too, in fact, I think D&D has always been to kind of PCs using "the wrong tools for the job". Honestly if you're hitting a 14' tall giant with a goddamn longsword you should be doing basically no damage, even with a magic one. Climbing on them could make it work of course. Or leaping at them. But that's not what happens. Instead you just hack as their knees/ankles and they decide to die.

I mean I think there should be different approaches. An anime-esque Swordmage-type could doing incredible speed-slash leaps, whereas a "trad" Fighter could be pulling out a longspear and giving a giant a good stabbing, and a Psi-Warrior could also be leaping but in a more Jedi-like way and maybe landing on the giant, etc. etc.

But "I just whale on the giant" which is literally the rules here just doesn't seem right, and it helps to ensure people use a very narrow range of weapons.
 

Weirdly I kind of do too, in fact, I think D&D has always been to kind of PCs using "the wrong tools for the job". Honestly if you're hitting a 14' tall giant with a goddamn longsword you should be doing basically no damage, even with a magic one. Climbing on them could make it work of course. Or leaping at them. But that's not what happens. Instead you just hack as their knees/ankles and they decide to die.
I always appreciate whenever this example comes up in regards to realism and D&D because it's so often overlooked (presumably because of how long it's been present in the game).

Personally I try to justify it as a PC's strikes hitting around the time that the giant swung down their weapon, but adding ways for PCs to climb or jump on on them is fun, too. In one campaign I represented an especially large colossus's shoulders as a platform with the head in the center; during the fight one PC jumped off a roof onto the shoulders, ran across the shoulders, and leapt off the other side onto a rooftop where an ally was making death saves.
 

About the giant thing...
My old master in 1ed had the more intelligent giants use leg armor (be it bronze, iron or whatever to protect their legs.) The AC of the giant was quite hard to hit unless the character could either get an enlarge spell or a reach weapon such as a polearm. Arrows in 1ed were not the incredible damage dealers they are now (no dex bonus to damage, which is why both bow bonuses and the missile bonuses would add up, 5ed continues this even today which it should not. Only the best of the two should apply).

But yeah, damaging a giant should be a bit more complicated than just hitting the legs...
 


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