D&D 5E The problem with 5e

I've been playing Pathfinder: Kingmaker computer game and I'm reminded how frustrating some rules elements can be.
I haven't played 3.5 in a long time so forget a lot of the finnicky stuff. I come across a swarm - can't do anything to hurt it. I come across skeletons - all my damage is reduced because my characters are using edged weapons and I sold all the maces and hammers that I found.

It's a mixed bag. On the one hand I can remember there are some benefits to requiring planning. On the hand if I didn't know these rules and this kept happening to me in a tabletop game I would find it very frustrating. It's certainly not new player friendly.
 

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While knowing the rules isn't necessarily a bad thing, I agree that since 3E there's been a move towards making "encounters" rather than adventures. One of the most notable moments was during the playtest as I ran an old AD&D adventure, one of my players who had only played 4E said "oh wow! I honestly don't know if we can win." They'd blithe-fully walked into the den of goblins, with no attempt at stealth or planning. Their first area they went to was the common area, where they "bust in the door." There were a lot there, but mostly non-combatants... who went and got the rest of the lair, causing a massive battle against every goblin in 1 room. A PC had to sacrifice himself so the rest could flee. They resupplied, gained a new PC, and returned with a much stronger sense of caution.
Really a lot of that is the fault of the DMG which follows on too closely from previous editions with the way it presents encounter guidelines.

It should probably say something like: "PCs should be able to handle about 6-8 medium hard encounters per long rest - so stock a dungeon with 12-14, but make sure there are opportunities for the PCs to avoid some of the combats - here's some ways to design a dungeon to make that workable".

Because I actually think that 5E is designed to move away from the centrality of the encounter (that's why there are so many), but it just hasn't communicated that well enough. (The other part is that people actually want to play 5e in the way that 4e and 13th age were designed for - 3-4 combats specifically tailored to challenge the party at the level of the individual battle and 5E just doesn't do that very well - it's designed to present the challenge in the form of environment.)
 


Dragonsbane

Proud Grognard
I never quite understand the "get a long rest whenever they want". First this has been an issue since, well, forever. It's not like it's a new phenomenon. It's also really easy to counter. I use the alternate rest rules for pacing but I still basically have doom clocks, investigations and leads that might grow cold, resting in enemy territory is dangerous even (or perhaps especially) if you throw up a hut. All of it is under the DM's control ... or at least setting up situations where the PCs face significant negative consequences to just calling it quits for the day.

I remember playing a 2E computer game (Pool of Radiance I think) which had a handy "rest until healed" button. Basically it would rest, cast healing spells, rinse and repeat until everyone was full. I even did it while climbing a tower that was theoretically collapsing - you just had to try it enough times that you weren't interrupted by rocks falling.

So ... nothing new. Maybe new for certain people, but nothing new in my experience in any game I've ever played whether in real life or on a computer.
I use these resting rules, and a new player the other day said "Wow I cannot remember a cleric using healing. We are low on Hit Dice, we might need to rest for a few days to replenish.


Long Rest​

A Long Rest is a period of extended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps or performs light activity: reading, talking, eating, or standing watch for no more than 2 hours. If the rest is interrupted by walking, fighting, casting Spells, or similar Adventuring activity—the characters must begin the rest again to gain any benefit from it.
At the end of a Long Rest, a character regains one hit point per character level plus its constitution modifier. The character additionally loses one level of exhaustion if they have any. The character also regains one Hit Die, and a character can spend any hit dice it has as if it had a short rest.
A character can’t benefit from more than one Long Rest in a 24-hour period, and a character must have at least 1 hit point at the start of the rest to gain its benefits.
 


actual DnD edition reflect the actual culture and trend of target audience.
in 2020 level drain is not trending. Anybody can be a hero is more trending.
1Ed was build in the shadow of Vietnam war. deadly.
5Ed is build in the shadow of a global advertising culture. Combat is more related to The Voice than actual war.
 

TheSword

Legend
I like 5e but I’m gonna nail my colours to the mast and say, that what I like about it isn’t the base system. By itself, played straight, it can be simplistic, lacking options, and monsters are just bags of hps.

However the chassis has almost unlimited options to develop and use. Don’t like some spells, take them out. Want more interesting Bearded devils, add spell abilities and special abilities. You can create new weapons, magic items, spells, environmental effects, monster and god knows what else it keep things fresh... and literally any story can be hung on that chassis.

I had my best session ever this week playing Rise of the Runelords, set in Eberron with 5e. What be a mash up!
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
@Krachek I think you are correct about culture having an impact in entertainment. And if I am not mistaken the play test sampled fairly widely which is probably part of the reason guys in their 40s (stealthily applies just for men in graying beard) and not just young stallions like me 😉 are also into 5e.

Although I like the game a lot, I am for good or ill really hooked into the idea of advancement due to merit. I can’t help but grimace a little when the game takes on more of a story telling or soap opera veneer in lieu of a more survival focus.

look at language alone. I was never a wow player and much of the mmo language gets used now in these discussions—-eek! And talk of roles? What? We have always just played. All clerics? Whatever. (Btw we once played an evil 1e party with mostly evil clerics. It was weirdly pretty effective. Monsters don’t hit so well with light on their eyes!).

but to have fun with new things we sometimes have to adapt. I guess that is what my op is about. Some of my objectives are probably habit and expectation steeped in culture—-of older editions and play styles.

what I am trying to get through my thick skull is that fun is fun. Yeah, I will hold onto some sacred cows. But some sacred cows were just faulty memories! Some of what I told myself about older editions was technically true but some was probably overblown.

the best examples would include our house rules most of which made it into 5e! Whether it’s spell points or critical hits or the like the game did not totally forget us. Whether house rules or DM fiat we often made the game a little less deadly than memory and bias would suggest.

with that in mind, I don’t think we are too far off with 5e. I think for me we are a few tweaks away from the sweet spot of likely to live but can die with really bad luck or poor tactical decision making.
 
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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I use these resting rules, and a new player the other day said "Wow I cannot remember a cleric using healing. We are low on Hit Dice, we might need to rest for a few days to replenish.


Long Rest​

A Long Rest is a period of extended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps or performs light activity: reading, talking, eating, or standing watch for no more than 2 hours. If the rest is interrupted by walking, fighting, casting Spells, or similar Adventuring activity—the characters must begin the rest again to gain any benefit from it.
At the end of a Long Rest, a character regains one hit point per character level plus its constitution modifier. The character additionally loses one level of exhaustion if they have any. The character also regains one Hit Die, and a character can spend any hit dice it has as if it had a short rest.
A character can’t benefit from more than one Long Rest in a 24-hour period, and a character must have at least 1 hit point at the start of the rest to gain its benefits.
That's a really good long rest variant but spell slot dump cure wounds/prayer of healing/etc>long rest is still going to be a massive trivialization like how it thwarts the vlue of heal kit depend. Back in past editions where you could only fill cure wounds in first level slots, cure moderate 2nd cure serious third , critixal 4th, mass cure light/moderate 5th/6th it made the idea of doing that pretty much "I'm going to be completely useless if I do that. You need to be more careful & work with the group better" from an annoyed cleric while in 5e you cn use 1st to 8th level slots for cure wounds & 2nd to 9th for prayer of healing. Back in the past cure spells were limited to a very limited subset of classes with nearly every caster class but wizard (including both sides of short rest scorlock) have access to cure wounds to really slingshot it up with short rests. How do you handle those?
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
@Don Durito ""PCs should be able to handle about 6-8 medium hard encounters per long rest - so stock a dungeon with 12-14," is heading into megadungeon territory. People use a smaller number because what you suggest will take so many sessions that nobody remembers what was going on a month ago when they went in. Your missing the importance of meaningful damage type choices beyond "(non)magical bludgeoning piercing or slashing" there were a couple big benefits to the game health
  • @GigawattWarlock said this earlier "No matter how terrifying the enemy sounds, players charge headlong into danger. "Giant epic dragon? No problem, I run straight at it and attack with my sword." I want my players to feel powerful and confident at times and terrified at other times.". Those damage type resistances allowed creatures to give players pause without being so dangerous that they need to be the bbeg. Those creatures keeping them on their toes meant that any encounter's makeup could matter enough to make being a little careful first a reasonable default stance for the party to take.
  • They can throw the party off their routine and make an otherwise easy encounter have some need of work/risk. Maybe the big damage PC needs to tank some less than optimal choices & the pc normally tanking needs to beatdown those skeletons feeling pretty good about his choice of mace over longsword or vice versa if zombies
    • At later levels weapon material/alignment allowed distinction between the damage dealers who hit it hard & everyone else who just hit it lots as hitting it lots but have other areas of expertise like acurac & other abilities is going to be impacted to a greater degree. in 5e you lack that sort of distinction & lack the build options needed to eally support them as distinct paths for a pc to build down.
    • If that material/alignment based dr creature is a rare one off to shake things up then no big deal & no need to get equipment for it, If that is going to be a common thing then it means that you don't need to replace your treasured plus five holy avenger (or whatever)with a plus six one& will be happy just getting +0 or +1... in 5e irs literally +1 +2 +3 +4 with basically no room for laterally improved equipment
      • "but then you have a gold bag of weapons!" yes good, look at this thread... @embee earlier said " now you have PCs running around with a ton of money because there is nothing to buy. Nothing to buy except for... healing potions." or this:
        Another difference I find from old-school (1e/2e) and 5e is the amount of, and powers offered by, magic items.

        In old-school games every character would have a large section of their character sheet listing the 40+ magic items their character had on their person. Whenever the PCs would end up in a strange situation that wasn't easily bypassed you would begin playing the "Look over all the useless trinkets on your character sheet and find the one that will help" subgame. This is when you would remind yourself you got that Potion of Wolf Summoning off the dead vampire and the Earrings of Ixixatchil (sp?) Form from that stupid underwater encounter.

        Contrast this to 5e, where my 10th level cleric literally has ZERO magic items except a single basic healing potion on his belt (we all have one handy for use if we get KOed and the rescuer is out).

        Contrast BOTH to 3e, the era where the party has a few floating Wands of CLW which were super cheap, disposable, and brought the party back to full health between every encounter as long as a single character were conscious who could use it.

        I don't think one way is necessarily more or less dangerous than the other, but it IS a different in feel when playing one edition versus the next.
@Sabathius42 I remember playing 3.5 with the 40 different magic doodads too. we all agred clw wand spam was detrimental & just limited their availability on the istificatom of "yea there's crazy high demand for em when they are crafted" so we would treasure them & try to only use them in desperate emergencies when we had no other choice
 

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