Things your table should do, but doesn't do- The Fun v. Efficiency Thread

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
So another thread about druids led to a conversation about Conjure Woodland Animals, which led to my general dislike of Pets*, which led me to think about efficiency in D&D, and those times that we sacrifice efficiency, or the optimal way to play, in order to have more fun.

Wow ... I just used a LOT of loaded terms there, especially FUN. So, what am I trying to get at?

There are always (always) ways of maximizing your ability to survive and/or prosper in D&D, and they have existed (albeit in different forms) throughout editions. However, for various reasons, different tables don't employ all these possible methods. Sometimes the DM will put in reasons (if you tarry too long in the dungeon, the wandering monsters will eat you), other times it's just a general table agreement that some optimal adventuring efficiency will be sacrificed in order to, well, "move things along."

This can be anything from the hiring of numerous red shirts (um, henchmen) to tapping with a 10' pole to casting scrying spells continuously to, well, I'm sure there's a lot I'm not thinking about.

To put it on concrete terms-

At my table, we have a general agreement of "NO PETS." That means that the party doesn't have hirelings, there are no DM NPCs (never!), we don't use necromancers, or Beastmasters, or have wizards that specialize in summoning, and so on.

Yes, things might be easier with pets, and I certainly understand why some tables enjoy playing with them, but our table has decided that "no pets" makes for a faster, funner,** experience for us.

So I am throwing this out there-

What strategy, tactics, playstyle, etc. do you deliberately eschew not because it's a bad choice, but because ... you just can't even?



*Hatred of Paladins > Gnomes > Pets > Rapiers > Charisma

**EYE KAN SPEEK GUD!
 
I

Immortal Sun

Guest
My table is more of a kitchen sink table.

I personally don't like to use pets because generally they either A: die easily and are thus a waste of energy, or B: take up too much time. I like "vanity" pets though, sure they can still die, but when I say my Swashbuckler has a parrot, it's the truth because I took Find Familiar via Magic Initiate. Or my crazy cat-lady druid always uses "summon animals" to summon housecats (which she used as a thrown weapon). But I'm not terribly interested in running anything more in-depth than that.

But, again, no, our group doesn't have such rules.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
My table is more of a kitchen sink table.
It doesn't have to be a formal rule, it can just be an understanding. And it's not just about pets; for example, I know some table do a lot with scrying/divination, while other tables think that adds too much overhead time.

I'm more curious about what things people know about that they don't do that might be a good idea to do, because the tradeoff in real-life time or hassle isn't worth it.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
My table is more of a kitchen sink table.

I personally don't like to use pets because generally they either A: die easily and are thus a waste of energy, or B: take up too much time. I like "vanity" pets though, sure they can still die, but when I say my Swashbuckler has a parrot, it's the truth because I took Find Familiar via Magic Initiate. Or my crazy cat-lady druid always uses "summon animals" to summon housecats (which she used as a thrown weapon). But I'm not terribly interested in running anything more in-depth than that.

But, again, no, our group doesn't have such rules.
Just thinking that maybe your druid should look at something a little more efficient than throwing cats. After all they aren't very aerodynamic unless they want to be. So a mechanical device of some sort? A catapult perhaps?
 

Istbor

Explorer
I feel like my table eschews planning. Does that count? It certainly makes the game... uh... faster, and we are still having fun. I wouldn't call it an understanding. I just don't expect my players to really come up with a coherent plan, or to have any kind of plan aside from:

Step one: Ask the thing if it is friendly.
Step two: Attack the thing when it either doesn't answer to our satisfaction or it can't answer in a language we can understand.
Step three: See how badly the thing kicks in our teeth.
 
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Kurotowa

Adventurer
Hit Points as a measure of anything but Meat Points. It makes more sense and is more dramatic for the DM to narrate successful attacks as nicks, close shaves, and momentum shifts until the final blow lands true. But that takes so much more mental effort that everyone quickly slides back into simple "your arrow thuds into the bandit's shoulder" and "the orc's axe blow crashes into your side and sends blood flying" even if it's only a fraction of the target's total HP and everything goes away with a short rest and some healing surges.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Hit Points as a measure of anything but Meat Points. It makes more sense and is more dramatic for the DM to narrate successful attacks as nicks, close shaves, and momentum shifts until the final blow lands true. But that takes so much more mental effort that everyone quickly slides back into simple "your arrow thuds into the bandit's shoulder" and "the orc's axe blow crashes into your side and sends blood flying" even if it's only a fraction of the target's total HP and everything goes away with a short rest and some healing surges.
Oh! That's good! Yeah, our table does that too. Which gets funny when there is a lot of, um, meat to get through.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I feel like my table eschews planning. Does that count? It certainly makes the game... uh... faster, and we are still having fun. I wouldn't call it an understanding. I just don't expect my players to really come up with a coherent plan, or to have any kind of plan aside from:

Step one: Ask the thing if it is friendly.
Step two: Attack the thing when it either doesn't answer to our satisfaction or it can't answer in a language we can understand.
Step three: See how badly the thing kicks in our teeth.
I don't know about you, but to paraphrase Mr. Jagger-

My party can't get no satisfaction, My party can't get no satisfaction
'Cause we ask and we ask and we ask and we ask
We can't get no, we can't get no ...

When we're walkin' round the forest, and the gnome comes out of the bushes
He's tellin' me more and more about some useless information
It doesn't stop my agitation

We can't get no, oh, no, no, no, hey, hey, hey
That's what we say
We can't get no satisfaction, we can't get no satisfaction
'Cause we ask and we ask and we ask and we ask
Then we kill the gnome, we kill the gnome
HEY HEY HEY!
 

Istbor

Explorer
I don't know about you, but to paraphrase Mr. Jagger-

My party can't get no satisfaction, My party can't get no satisfaction
'Cause we ask and we ask and we ask and we ask
We can't get no, we can't get no ...

When we're walkin' round the forest, and the gnome comes out of the bushes
He's tellin' me more and more about some useless information
It doesn't stop my agitation

We can't get no, oh, no, no, no, hey, hey, hey
That's what we say
We can't get no satisfaction, we can't get no satisfaction
'Cause we ask and we ask and we ask and we ask
Then we kill the gnome, we kill the gnome
HEY HEY HEY!
It paints a familiar picture yes, however...

I would never feature a Gnome in a campaign I am running. I have some decency! *acts all affronted*
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Other than asking that everyone play dual rapier wielding gnomish paladins with pet owls, I only have a few limitations.

Pole-Arm Master + Sentinel feat combo. Uggh. Yeah, I know it's awesome. If you want to slow the game to a crawl.

Bonus action spells can only be cast with a cantrip. Yeah, I allow this because I have to correct people all the time. Kind of a silly rule anyway.

Those are the only rules things I can think of off the top of my head. A couple of things unrelated to actual rules ...

Shopping. Want to buy a new sword? You don't need to tell me about it. I have a limited magic-mart as well, just go up to the campaign web site and buy what you want. Same thing with selling.

Downtime activities explained during the session. Okay, I make an exception about this now and then but if you want to have your PC do something during their off-time it's fantastic. I'll do my best to reward you. But just post to the campaign web site, in most cases we don't need to discuss it in game.

Dice rolling: just roll them all at once. Need extra dice? I bought a couple of pounds o' dice a while back I'll hook you up with a color-coded sets. If you're going to cheat, rolling one die at a time won't stop you so go ahead and roll ahead of time too.

Averaging: related to dice rolling, if you can't do math in your head easily (it's okay) you can just use average damage. I'll even let you round up.

But seriously, having all PCs being the same super-awesome class/race/weapon combo is well worth it. Life is sooo much easier! :p
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
We don't scry and teleport.

Yes, we know that it is Teh Awsome!!1

But it is also boring.

Use divination magic to scope out our enemy and its location, then buff ourselves appropriately to handle the environment/enemy/etc., then teleport in when said enemy least expects it, then lather-rinse-repeat? Ehhhh, no thanks. That would take most of the excitement and adventure out of an otherwise exciting adventure. (I think it's why Tolkien didn't just have the Fellowship airdrop the One Ring into Mount Doom from the backs of giant eagles.)
 
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ccs

39th lv DM
My Thur night group doesn't make any attempt to split treasure evenly or assign magic items even logically. If a character finds something? Then that's what they keep.... ???
And they don't use most consumables. It's not that they're hoarding them for that "right moment", it's that once they write them down they rarely think of them again.
They've even done this with some permanent items. ???

As the DM this is not my problem. I not up to me to dictate how the players divide the loot. Or to make them use it. I just find it a strange approach.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Along the lines of your "No Pets" rule, we try to keep summons down to a bare minimum. A couple campaigns ago, someone wanted to play a necromancer and the player asked, "How many skeletons and zombies can I have at one time?" My response was "As many as you want until it starts to slow the game down, then they'll just start exploding for no apparent reason."

The other notable rule is Don't Ask a Question if You Can State an Action Instead. Start off with "Can I...?" and you are going to get made fun of. If nothing about the description of the environment suggests that you can't do something, just say you want to do it and what you hope to accomplish. Stop badgering the DM with 20 questions to get pre-approval of your actions. It's not like I'm going to gotcha you so you're just wasting everyone's valuable time.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I try very hard not to rules-lawyer as it does slow things down.

But sometimes I just have to remind the player with the 5th level dual wielding fighter that she gets 3 attacks. Two from the attack action and one as a bonus action.
 
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TwoSix

The hero you deserve
We got rid of a lot of bookkeeping minutiae by giving up roleplaying.

Now the game is 100% focused on what really matters: sweet, sweet combat.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
Because we play on Roll20, a lot of work for the adventure takes place between sessions. If a decision is made at/near the end of the session, it MUST be adhered to at the start of the new session. This keeps the DM (including me, as we rotate) from having to design and import maps/creatures into the system, only to have it ignored because the players changed their minds (bunch of schizophrenic, rabid gerbils!).
 

Warpiglet

The pig to end all wars
We don't talk about roles. There is no preplanning a party. We hear "no evils" and scamper off to make something fun. All fighters? Get ready to stab. All wizards? Sleep em or die!

We just play and we play what we feel like playing! No 'tank' 'healer' 'skill monkey' 'striker' etc. no pregam discussion, no one gets stuck playing a pacifist cleric.

Poor synergy? Then we get our asses kicked. No healer? Guess
We find a safe place to rest...or die.

Also, for the love of the gods, let's not haggle over coppers! I am an adventurer! I get electrum over my eyes when I die at the least! I waste gold pieces as soon as I get back from he dungeon. Handwave buying sacks and torches for the love of everything decent!
 

lall

Explorer
Checking for traps is lame. We rarely do it. My bard will Conjure Woodland Beings for companionship if other options aren't available.
 
I

Immortal Sun

Guest
Just thinking that maybe your druid should look at something a little more efficient than throwing cats. After all they aren't very aerodynamic unless they want to be. So a mechanical device of some sort? A catapult perhaps?
My DM said that I could not be a warforged druid transformer.
 

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