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D&D General Things That Bug You

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
Oh, I thought of another thing that bugs me: disposable dragons.

If your players aren't visibly terrified when facing off against a dragon at your table,
if their voices don't lower to a nervous whisper,
if they don't lean forward in their chairs rapt with attention,
if they don't immediately start planning an exit strategy "just in case this doesn't go well," or "just so one or two of us might survive,"
...I'm talking to you and your overgrown lizards.
While I tend to agree with this, it's kind of adorable when a far-too-young dragon tries to extort tribute from a high-level party and they try to figure out to resolve the confrontation without violence. (Bonus points if the too-young dragon isn't relying on family connections for intimidation value, but the well-informed PCs know that the youngster is connected to (and would be revenged by) a much older dragon.)
 

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I've never liked how the different abilities are not on equal footing. Some are clearly more valuable than others. And I really wish D&D had active defense in its rules, instead of passive. I feel like on the whole, combat in D&D lacks depth and strategic decissions.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Module? That's the newfangled term, kiddo.

They're supposed to be called 'dungeons'.
Yeah, it is interesting when you read the history how Gary Gygax didn't see the need to publish adventures until he saw the success of third-party products, such as Judge's Guild "Play Aids". So it was "dungeons" (which you were expected to create yourself, perhaps with the help of TSR "Geomorphs") and then "Play Aids" or "Supplemental Materials". "Modules" is a very Gygaxian term, which I am almost certain he took from military wargames, where "module" has been used as the term for settings and scenarios:

Setting and scenario. The effort required to develop a scenario (including mapping, whether physical or digital) can be considerable. The six modules detailed in the NATO directive provide a good guideline, including for smaller wargames.
From: UK Ministry of Defense Development, Concepts and Doctrine Center, Wargaming Handbook (2017)

"Module" meaning "any more or less self-contained unit which goes to make up a complete set, a finished article, etc." is a relatively modern usage of the term, starting around WWII. By the 1970s it was a term of art used in writing and editing: "1977 F. K. Baskette Art of Editing (rev. ed.) xiv. 293 A module is a unit or component of a whole (or a page)..[and it] clearly separates and features a story inside it."

As I remember it, "modules" in the 1970s were less about taking a party through a story and more about providing the locations and hooks within which stories could evolve. You were generally buying a map, a key, wandering monster tables, some adventure/quest hooks, and some background information. Many were design for replay-ability. The evolution seemed to be (1) geomorphs to build dungeons on the fly, (2) pre-created maps with keyed areas and concise text for what was there--or tools for populating rooms yourself, (3) cities and wilderness locations, (4) kingdom / continent spanning settings. Eventually this all developed into adventure stories with plot and lore-rich settings. But the early materials assumed DMs would fill in the gaps and and that what DM really wanted was a way to save time on map making, populating rooms, organizing stat blocks etc. The story is what the players did in the playground provided.
 

Eubani

Adventurer
For me it's boring monsters that are nothing But sacks of HP that roll an attack or two for the couple of rounds they are around. In before someone says play it better....stow it boring is boring.
 

For me it's boring monsters that are nothing But sacks of HP that roll an attack or two for the couple of rounds they are around. In before someone says play it better....stow it boring is boring.

5e definitely falls into the MOAR HP MOAR DAMAGE trap of increasing monster difficulty.

But the early materials assumed DMs would fill in the gaps and and that what DM really wanted was a way to save time on map making, populating rooms, organizing stat blocks etc. The story is what the players did in the playground provided.

This is literally what I want, and WotC seems uninterested in selling it to me. So I use old AD&D 1e stuff for my 5e games.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Old school rogues (thieves, that is) were quite bad in a fight. Maybe on occasion they could backstab an enemy who wasn’t aware of them, but in open combat, they would run and hide, or they would die. But you were ok with that because wasn’t their job, it was the fighter’s job. The thief’s job was to open locked doors and chests, find and disarm traps, and sneak into the dragon’s treasure hoard and back out again with the most valuable stuff they could carry.

Keep in mind, this was back when you got experience for recovering treasure from the dungeon, not from killing monsters or completing quests. There was no expectation of balance as we understand it now. A balanced party was one where everyone had a different role to fill. The thief stole, the fighter fought, the cleric healed, and the magic user used magic.

This. In 2E I tested a optional xp rule. Rogues got 2xp per gp.

Think the rogue ended up 4 levels higher and yeah didn't suck.

At least 2E could give out generous non combat xp as well in some of those Adventures.

5E encounter and xp rules annoying 3E and 4E were better IMHO.

2E might actually win that one I'll have to reread everything.
 

cbwjm

Hero
From pre-3e: thieves and similar classes. I never liked the thief skills of the class and always thought they should use the same system as proficiencies, throw them in the rogue group and let anyone take them. 3e rogue was a little better but they still had trapfinding or something to protect their niche.

Speaking of their niche, niche protection is also something I never liked, still don't like it when someone says "You can't give this subclass X ability, it steps on the toes of Y class."

3e: skill points seemed cool at first but then I realised that they were only cool when specialising. If you want to be a jack of all trades then they were less good.

4e: I hated the maths. Not the attempt to balance but that nothing really changed as you levelled. I think the game would have been better without the half level bonus (reducing the level bonus of enemies by the same amount) but I guess people needed to see numbers constantly going up.

5e: Most annoying thing for me is subclasses coming online at different levels. I also hate that the solution that so many seem to have is "Just start at level 3" which doesn't really solve the issue.

Not too fond of all the Tasha's changes to races, I like there being abilities that a race is known for, however, I do think that there could also be some leeway which I'm slowly adding in but what really bugs me about Tasha's is that they refuse to update previous content to match the new paradigms for class abilities and feats. Tieflings should be able to use their spells with spell slots if they have them, the same as magic initiates. Maybe the barbarian should rage a number of times per day equal to their proficiency bonus, things like that.
 

Yeah, I'm pretty firmly in the "don't worry too much about realism, just worry about it a little, tiny bit, just enough to be fun" camp.
Aside from the way I see "realism in D&D" as a slider scale rather than a yes/no switch, I usually aim for relatable rather than realistic.

Magic isn't realistic? I don't know, I can't relate to that.

Dragon flight isn't realistic? I don't care, I can relate to flying dragon as an accepted fact from all the images I've seen and stories I've read.

Falling down 30 feet isn't a realistic threat as soon as your character reaches level 2 or 3? That bugs me because I can relate to falling from heights. I'm often called to work 30ft+ above ground, and I definitely wouldn't want to fall uncontrollably, or even jump down voluntarily.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Here's another thing that bugs me

EXOTIC WEAPONS


Exotic weapons should not be better weapons. Exotic weapons should be that are not broad enough in utility that all civilizations have an analog for it. They should be weird or niche weapons for niche warriors only found in certain places. Double weapons, niche polearms, tools upgraded to weapons (scythes, warshovels, chains, etc), strange throwing weapons, archaic weapons, and rapiers.

Everyone has a version of the longsword and the battleaxe. Only Dwarves and Orcs culturally would develop and train with a double-ax. Humans, elves, hobgoblins, rabbitfolk, and snipped would not.

Fighters and Barbarians should get a free proficiency or three in an exotic/cultural weapon based on their own racial, social, or martial culture.
Rangers should get proficiency in the an exotic/cultural weapons of their favored enemies as they learn the ins and outs of how their foes fight.
 



turnip_farmer

Adventurer
Alluded to earlier in the thread, but one thing that bugs me is Armour Class, as a concept.

I grew up playing Warhammer, and only came to D&D as an adult. It took me a while to acclimatise to the nonsensical abstraction of AC. The Warhammer approach (copied over into WFRP) makes much more intuitive sense. Amour affects how much damage a hit does (as, for that matter, does strength), not whether the hit is likely to hit. I get that it's all a gamey abstraction; but D&D already has a 'roll to hit/roll to wound' distinction. Which makes it even weirder to me that they moved part of what, conceptually, belongs to the damage roll into the 'to hit' roll.
 

Reynard

Legend
Alluded to earlier in the thread, but one thing that bugs me is Armour Class, as a concept.

I grew up playing Warhammer, and only came to D&D as an adult. It took me a while to acclimatise to the nonsensical abstraction of AC. The Warhammer approach (copied over into WFRP) makes much more intuitive sense. Amour affects how much damage a hit does (as, for that matter, does strength), not whether the hit is likely to hit. I get that it's all a gamey abstraction; but D&D already has a 'roll to hit/roll to wound' distinction. Which makes it even weirder to me that they moved part of what, conceptually, belongs to the damage roll into the 'to hit' roll.
One potential problem with armor as damage reduction is that you have to make room for the kinds of weapons and effects that bypass the armor (totally or partially). For example, chainmail is much less effective against bludgeoning attacks than piercing attacks, and warhammers (not the big fantasy mauls but the actual medieval weapons) were designed specifically to punch through plate mail. D&D combat just isn't fiddly enough to bother with all that and so making armor into DR is going to end up unbalanced and even less realistic than it already is.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
One potential problem with armor as damage reduction is that you have to make room for the kinds of weapons and effects that bypass the armor (totally or partially). For example, chainmail is much less effective against bludgeoning attacks than piercing attacks, and warhammers (not the big fantasy mauls but the actual medieval weapons) were designed specifically to punch through plate mail. D&D combat just isn't fiddly enough to bother with all that and so making armor into DR is going to end up unbalanced and even less realistic than it already is.
To an extent, this was the purpose for the "Weapons vs. AC" tables in 1E (and maybe in 2E--I didn't play that enough to say for sure), which everyone that I know of mostly ignored.
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
One potential problem with armor as damage reduction is that you have to make room for the kinds of weapons and effects that bypass the armor (totally or partially). For example, chainmail is much less effective against bludgeoning attacks than piercing attacks, and warhammers (not the big fantasy mauls but the actual medieval weapons) were designed specifically to punch through plate mail. D&D combat just isn't fiddly enough to bother with all that and so making armor into DR is going to end up unbalanced and even less realistic than it already is.
Not sure why this should be seen as a problem. All the issues you mention exist with the AC system; they're not new problems created by counting armour's effect only in the damage phase. I don't get how you find it less realistic. Chainmail is equally effective against all attacks in both approaches.

If you did want to solve the issue of different weapons effecting armour differently, though, it's easier to do that if the effect of armour is not wrapped into one number together with how quickly you dodge. They do this in WFRP, although for some reason longbows are effective at piercing armour while crossbows aren't. Maybe someone will explain to me that this is in reality accurate, but it seems odd to me.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
To an extent, this was the purpose for the "Weapons vs. AC" tables in 1E (and maybe in 2E--I didn't play that enough to say for sure), which everyone that I know of mostly ignored.

We used a variation on this that we houseruled all the way into 3.XE. Everyone wearing armor had five possible ACs: Slashing, Piercing, Blunt, Touch and Flat-footed (and I guess a sixth would be flat-footed touch). Thus some wearing chain shirt (and no dex bonus) would have a basic AC of 16/14/12 (slashing/piercing/blunt).
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
We used a variation on this that we houseruled all the way into 3.XE. Everyone wearing armor had five possible ACs: Slashing, Piercing, Blunt, Touch and Flat-footed (and I guess a sixth would be flat-footed touch). Thus some wearing chain shirt (and no dex bonus) would have a basic AC of 16/14/12 (slashing/piercing/blunt).
This sounds like the kind of idea I would love in principle but never remember to keep track of in practice. Like most of my failed houserules.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Alluded to earlier in the thread, but one thing that bugs me is Armour Class, as a concept.

I grew up playing Warhammer, and only came to D&D as an adult. It took me a while to acclimatise to the nonsensical abstraction of AC. The Warhammer approach (copied over into WFRP) makes much more intuitive sense. Amour affects how much damage a hit does (as, for that matter, does strength), not whether the hit is likely to hit. I get that it's all a gamey abstraction; but D&D already has a 'roll to hit/roll to wound' distinction. Which makes it even weirder to me that they moved part of what, conceptually, belongs to the damage roll into the 'to hit' roll.
It's essentially the same.

Warhammer just has lower "Hits" so more importance is put on avoiding a wound. So Armor avoids a wound instead of avoiding a hit that causes a wound. Especially in the war game, the defender drop like flies if they actually get hurt. Heroes shift their wounds to cannon folder. In the RPG, you are the fodder.

In D&D, stronger heroes and characters actually take their hits. But hits come with tons of riders Avoiding being hit is a lot more important.
 

Greg K

Adventurer
Here's another thing that bugs me


Everyone has a version of the longsword and the battleaxe. Only Dwarves and Orcs culturally would develop and train with a double-ax. Humans, elves, hobgoblins, rabbitfolk, and snipped would not.
Really? Everyone? It was not historically true among cultures in our own world and there is no reason for it to be true in all fantasy worlds.
 

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