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D&D 5E The problem with 5e

Another homebrew. We use "slot encumbrance," which makes a simple visual of where everything is that you have on you using D&D's optional encumbrance rules. Easy to track, adds a strategic element. Makes a huge difference. For example, the prefab Ranger from the PHB with scale mail is already encumbered to start the game, if played by the rules.
I like this idea quite a bit. I suspect many tables handwave encumbrance as the tracking of the weight of items is too much... er... heavy lifting that takes time away from the real action. Our table might prefer a slot encumbrance "lite", though... something even more simplified than what you've shared here. Good fodder for a new Encumbrance thread - ok if share your link @toucanbuzz ?
 

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toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
I like this idea quite a bit. I suspect many tables handwave encumbrance as the tracking of the weight of items is too much... er... heavy lifting that takes time away from the real action. Our table might prefer a slot encumbrance "lite", though... something even more simplified than what you've shared here. Good fodder for a new Encumbrance thread - ok if share your link @toucanbuzz ?
Absolutely!

It tracks D&D's encumbrance so we're not inventing new rules. Rather, we're requiring all equipment to have a home and simplifying by rounding to 5 lb increments while not tracking things that naturally have a home (clothes, rings, helms).

If you look at the backpacks (which carry 30 lbs) and what they come with when you buy a pack, they fit this system to a tee.

As a test, plug in the PHB's 1st level pre-fab Ranger with 14 Strength wearing scale mail, and he will be "encumbered" already. Gear adds up! As a home rule, I let players freely shrug off their packs as part of combat movement.
 

@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.
What about 2-3 sessions is as megaudungeon? (If you stick to the guidelines and don't actually make everything deadly then combat in 5E is actually quite fast - and there probably will be at least one deadly fight - so that will bring the number of encounters down)

If the player's insisted on grinding through every single possible combat then it could take longer, but hopefully they'll learn to avoid that when they either TPK or retreat having not accomplished their goals due to attrition.

I don't think what I am describing is all out of line with the history of the game. When I think of Sunless Citadel or Against the Giants this is the sort of scenario the system seems designed to handle.

Now I don't know how well the WOTC hardback adventure paths actually stick to this kind of format - I've not read any of them.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
What about 2-3 sessions is as megaudungeon? (If you stick to the guidelines and don't actually make everything deadly then combat in 5E is actually quite fast - and there probably will be at least one deadly fight - so that will bring the number of encounters down)

If the player's insisted on grinding through every single possible combat then it could take longer, but hopefully they'll learn to avoid that when they either TPK or retreat having not accomplished their goals due to attrition.

I don't think what I am describing is all out of line with the history of the game. When I think of Sunless Citadel or Against the Giants this is the sort of scenario the system seems designed to handle.

Now I don't know how well the WOTC hardback adventure paths actually stick to this kind of format - I've not read any of them.
2-3 weekly sessions is about a month. Also critical to that snooze is that 5e simplified combat to charge in & hit it with your hurt stick with little to no mechanics supporting any meaningful strategy allowed by the missing tactical component once handled from move based AoO's, facing, flanking that comes at a cost, & so on. It can also jump to 3-4+ if they spend a bit of time exploring & such. It's one thing to make the occasional interesting dungeon jam packed with baddies as you suggest for a big thing, but doing it month after month is a huge task... I don't evem think many of wotc's own dungeons are packed with 12-14 encounters. Don't forget that you need to have some way of making sure the PCs can't just move some bodie & rest there.
 

2-3 weekly sessions is about a month. Also critical to that snooze is that 5e simplified combat to charge in & hit it with your hurt stick with little to no mechanics supporting any meaningful strategy allowed by the missing tactical component once handled from move based AoO's, facing, flanking that comes at a cost, & so on.
Like AD&D - but if fits within the basic framework of the design of the game. The important decisions to be made are strategic, not tactical. If you're trying to use it for exciting tactical combat then you're using the wrong tool for the job.
It can also jump to 3-4+ if they spend a bit of time exploring & such. It's one thing to make the occasional interesting dungeon jam packed with baddies as you suggest for a big thing, but doing it month after month is a huge task... I don't evem think many of wotc's own dungeons are packed with 12-14 encounters.
Shrug I'm not saying it's the best way to play an rpg. I'm just saying that this is what 5E is designed to do. (Although it doesn't have to be a dungeon - it works just as well with a ruined city, haunted forest etc).
Don't forget that you need to have some way of making sure the PCs can't just move some bodie & rest there.
Same as it ever was. 5E is slightly better in this regard. It at least signals that a long rest is a somewhat arbritrarily defined unit of time that can be adjusted.

But really if 5E is not being played in an environment based way then it really suffers in comparison.
If I want to run a game where I have 3 combats I want the party to face, and they're increasingly elaborate set pieces with a big final boss fight that I have some confidence the PCs will be able to handle (but won't curbstop), then the tools 13th Age gives me are orders of magnitude better then anything that 5E provides. It's not even remotely close. The encounter design is simpler, faster and vastly more accurate, the fights that result are tighter and far less swingy.

Having run both games back to back recently it seems clear to me that if I'm trying to run 5e like 13th Age I'm just being dumb. Where 13th Age struggled is with the optional encounters when I tried to include a dungeon crawl - like 4E a relatively easy fight that just drains resources just takes too long (although it's much faster than 4e in general) and fails to really drain sufficient resources that are not recoverable - whereas such a fight in 5e is over very quickly and does potentially drain resources that will be missed - if you're actually using the guidelines.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to the argument that perhaps 5E chose the wrong goals for it's design - that they went overboard in their enthusiasm in going back to the roots of the game and taking on some OSR elements and didn't really understand where they went wrong with 4e, or what the majority of people actually want to do with modern D&D, but at the end of the day I don't believe in blaming a hammer for being a bad screwdriver.
 
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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Like AD&D - but if fits within the basic framework of the design of the game. The important decisions to be made are strategic, not tactical. If you're trying to use it for exciting tactical combat then you're using the wrong tool for the job.


It was added in a supplement called player options:Combat & Tactics
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JiffyPopTart

Bree-Yark
I'm somewhat sympathetic to the argument that perhaps 5E chose the wrong goals for it's design - that they went overboard in their enthusiasm in going back to the roots of the game and taking on some OSR elements and didn't really understand where they went wrong with 4e, or want the majority of people actually want to do with modern D&D, but at the end of the day I don't believe in blaming a hammer for being a bad screwdriver.
If asked for an unpaid unprofessional and guessing as an outsider thoughts, I think 5e went off the original design rails when it blew up and became so popular with new/casual players. The design team shifted from the original "Let's start basic and add thing in later with optional modules" idea to "Let's keep things simple and maximize new player adds".

I can't fault them for choosing the buckets of cash and new players over supporting the old player base, it is a business. I just think that there is room for an 80/20 split of material instead of the 95/5 as it feels to me
 

Thing is though, the way they approached the caster disparity issue, by balancing around a greater number of combats, was always going to run into issues of modularity no matter what else they added on.

There were other ways the problem could be approached.
- one way would be to delay the caster progression somewhat. Push back the levels at which primary casters get higher level spells by about 1 per tier after the first (This would reduce the impact and availabilty of long rest resources while still keeping them relevant.) Just by doing this you can maintain the viability of balance in a 3.X game for longer - until at least about level 12 anyway - at which point most games would come to an end anyway.

- Depart a little further from the Vancian routes (but not really that much) by simply reducing the number of spell slots that the casters have, but then making them recharge on short rests) - This would make balance between classes easier and make many other types of adventure function much more easily but dramatically reduce the strategic choices involved in the traditional dungeon crawling experience.

- Tellingly both the latter two changes would represent a more obvious departure from player expectations of what a caster should look like. People would whine if they had to wait until level 6 for Fireball and level 11 for 5th level spells and god knows what kind of pushback you would get from making spell slots recharge on short rests. WotC came up with the solution that best preseved traditon as 5E was very much (at least in the early stages) a return to tradition edition.
 

Oofta

Legend
If asked for an unpaid unprofessional and guessing as an outsider thoughts, I think 5e went off the original design rails when it blew up and became so popular with new/casual players. The design team shifted from the original "Let's start basic and add thing in later with optional modules" idea to "Let's keep things simple and maximize new player adds".

I can't fault them for choosing the buckets of cash and new players over supporting the old player base, it is a business. I just think that there is room for an 80/20 split of material instead of the 95/5 as it feels to me
Yeah. So sad when companies sell out and decide to sell a whole bunch of books and bring new people into the hobby instead of catering to the demands of the few. Especially when they can claim there was a detailed roadmap to nirvana based on a single quote made well before the final product was actually complete. :p

No game is perfect, personally I'm happy it's bringing in fresh blood. If they had gone a different direction, it's impossible to know if it would have been better. It's like horror movies that limit showing the monster, your imagination of what might be or could have been will almost always exceed reality.
 

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