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

I

Immortal Sun

Guest
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.
I just think my table isn't made up of those sorts of people, so we don't scry, we don't 10ft pole, we're very laid back. In return, whiever one of us is DMing (we rotate) tend to "play along" in that the bad-guys aren't constantly scrying us, and we don't have to worry every black square is actually a black pudding.
 
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.
I am not sure if I'd say that "pets" are a way to make the game easier. I mean, obviously they do, but it's a bit like saying that having 8 players instead of 4 makes the game easier, assuming of course the DM isn't increasing the adventure difficulty for that (which she could do also for pets)...

What strategy, tactics, playstyle, etc. do you deliberately eschew not because it's a bad choice, but because ... you just can't even?
Well I could say that in general I am deliberately not optimized and not paranoid about checking everything, both attitudes which I find very boring, but I can't think of anything specific. My point is, I might pick up a 10ft pole and carefully test each tile in a location if the DM has telegraphed through storytelling that we're going into a place where traps will likely be under lots of tiles randomly, but I won't make this my default for every location.

Then something perhaps related (tho not what I think you're asking here), as a DM I generally grant a single chance at a task, and not to every character, so the tactic of "let's have everyone in the party try this skill check to maximize the chances" is not applicable. Similarly, I do not grant the players the option of choosing when to use passive checks.

*Hatred of Paladins > Gnomes > Pets > Rapiers > Charisma
Shouldn't there be "katana" somewhere along the line too?
 

200orcs

Visitor
Our decision is to play with RAW rules. But then again I am the DM.

I always went for RAI, until a long time DM, not on my table, wanted to join my games and asked for a RAW game so he can learn the rules.

I thought it would be dumb, but I obliged and realized all the RAI rules where just adding extra complexity without much benefit.

I do ignore one thing. You can use bonus action before standard so things like the Shielder feat get better.

My fear was that people would abuse the hell out of RAW and make Coffee locks or something, but it hasn't happened.
 

Imaculata

Adventurer
I run a pirate campaign, where I usually tackle interactions by the npc crew off-screen. During combat, I don't want to roll for the hundreds of pirates taking part in the battle. So I tell my players, everyone joins in on the fight, but for the sake of clarity, I will only focus on you (the players), your cohorts, and enemies that are fighting you. Just use your imagination, and imagine a massive fight going on around you that is not currently represented by miniatures. It's not that all those other enemies are suddenly not there, but that they are currently engaged in a fight with your npc crew, and there for not relevant in regards to resolving player-combat.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Pole-Arm Master + Sentinel feat combo. Uggh. Yeah, I know it's awesome. If you want to slow the game to a crawl.
I'm curious - how does this slow the game to a crawl for you? I played a character with this combo and didn't find that combat was slowed down any.

Of course, our opponents were slowed down plenty, but killing them went just as quick as ever. :)
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Nothing really. Plenty of abuses we stop, but there's nothing we give up in terms of efficiency of play.

About the only thing we do is keep the number of players to a reasonable amount. And even that in one game we're up to 9 which is too much.

And as a side note, often a pet can both (a) add to fun and (b) are not necessarily "more powerful". You should try them to see what you are missing, perhaps with a ranger who gives their beast companion a strong personality.
 

cmad1977

Adventurer
I don’t look up rules during play.

Also: I round up for the good guys and down for the bad guys.
 
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mortwatcher

Explorer
encumbrance - unless you are going over the top with it, like carrying 5 full plate sets, we don't bother
food - again, unless the point of the journey is to starve you on the way, we don't bother
summoning - it's fine if you summon one creature, don't summon 8 small ones and if you MUST, have 8 dice ready so you can do your round quick
since we usually play with at least 1 new player, the combats take longer as you do have to re-explain things, but that is fine
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I'm curious - how does this slow the game to a crawl for you? I played a character with this combo and didn't find that combat was slowed down any.

Of course, our opponents were slowed down plenty, but killing them went just as quick as ever. :)
It may be a pet peeve more than anything, and the following is a semi-rant so don't take anything personally. Different people play for different reasons. :)

It makes it really difficult to balance encounters. Let's say I have a BBEG. Thematically, I want this particular BBEG to be a tank (I like to mix things up). Well, if he can always be stopped before he can do any damage for round after round ... it's no challenge. It's a boring nothing burger of a fight.

So round 1: BBEG charges in, fighter stops him before the BBEG can attack. BBEG looks sad and does nothing. Figther (and everyone else) attacks and walks away. Round 2: see round 1. Rinse and repeat until BBEG is dead. Yawn.

Some people like having an "I win" button. Heck occasionally the PCs stomp the heck out of a fight that I thought would be tough. That's all fine.

But when the same tactic works against every tank, that just means that as a DM I'm going change tactics and adjust encounters. I'll add HP, more monsters, special abilities, give all BBEGs reach or effective ranged attacks and so on. Basically it's removed an iconic opponent and fight from my repertoire. In addition I'm just working around something the fighter made an investment in devaluing that investment.

On the other hand when for some reason the tactic doesn't work (the fighter can't hit or is not positioned to stop the tank) what should have been a medium difficulty fight starts looking like a near TPK.

Oh, another one I forgot: Heat Metal. No save for decent damage for the level of the spell and auto-disadvantage on any BBEG that happens to wear metal armor while the bard runs away and hides? Also boring.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
For us its probably cut back on the shooters, which leads to the amazing plan falling apart totally on the first round 90% of the time.

In the 5e game I play I use a miniature someone found that is a commoner with a hog under one arm. So of course I always summon a hog with my druid and carry it around. If you have every picked up a hog you know they are not very fond of it. Which of course gives me an excuse to be playing wild hog going wild sounds off youtube on my turn.

Lets just say we don't try stealth in that game anymore.
 

Gadget

Adventurer
I get what you're saying in the OP, even though I can't think of anything specific off hand. Other than the general theme of playing along with the story if you can. We don't try to 10' pole every section of floor, etc. Though if you're playing something like the Tomb of Horrors, I can see that becoming SOP.

I will say that a largely agree with OP (except I kind of like Paladins), but I'm glad 5e has gone a long way to reduce the impact of Pets/summoning (at least compared to 3e), and the scry-and-fry (or scry, buff, teleport) tactic, such that I don't feel we need have a special table agreement. Though a Necromancer determined to maintain a 'horde' of undead isn't something we've had to deal with in our game. That's one of the reason's I've been indifferent to the whole beastmaster ranger controversy, We never cared much for archetype in this kind of game anyway.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
The lack of summoning is a huge negative for me. Honestly the druid is kind of lame, which is why I have to amuse myself by summoning hogs and carrying them around. I want to summon waves of minions.
 

Ganders

Explorer
If prohibiting pets and Polearm Master seem like good ideas, I recommend banning shields. They lead to more missing and less DPS (using both hands is more DPS, whether it's dual wield or bigger weapons). Also ban armor feats, both proficiency and mastery, for slowing the game down -- let them choose feats that actually increase DPS, not decrease it.

If searching for traps seems tedious, I recommend also prohibiting stealth, scouting, and proficiency in Perception. Just make sure all encounters start within 60 feet, with a roll of initiative before seeing what you're facing. Saves all that planning, preparing, scouting, and storytelling time. It not only keeps the PCs on their toes, dealing with the unexpected, but as an added bonus it cuts down significantly on prep time for the DM.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
I think pets are a central theme here.

5e did a lot to smooth play and keep the pace going. They made an attempt to limit summons and such but I don't think they went far enough.

Our table has a limit of 2 on summon spells.

A thing I do is encourage people to roll damage at the same time as their attack. The moon druid in the party said that she likes rolling damage separately because of the anticipation of what it will be. I didn't push it but once she started rolling 6 attacks per turn she came around to the idea.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
I constantly see 2 things.

1. People ignore/handwave inventory management, encumbrance, and athletics test for play efficiency because they don't want to wait for players to organize notes or they are too lazy to track weights. The results are bags of holding with 26,000+ gp and all their extra gear in a single bag of holding etc. Also, thief attempts on gear are negotiations and time consuming but rare so its not huge deal. The biggest result of this is that no matter your strength score your essentially super strong able to carry mountains as long as you say "I put it my backpack" because their are no limits. They make a strength check to open the door but then they just say well between the 5 of you, you are able to force the door open or it takes some time but as one of you gets up you pass the rope around and are able to help each other scale the wall. It makes the loot process faster, dealing with gear easier, and speeds through physical bearers for the sake of getting to more involved narrative conversations or combat but it devalues strength resulting in higher numbers of dex based characters because strength has no out of combat function. Then you get "fighters need more out of combat option threads" and "All I see are dex based melee fighter threads" not because strength is not useful, but because the hand wave everything that makes it so out of combat. The dex character trying to steal some one's wallet or sneak past a guard they keep because they are interactions the deem "narratively valuable" meaning if you drop a merchants keg and it breaks no one cares but if you steal his coin purse the guards are called even though both represent a cost to the merchant. I am not a fan when I GM, but my GM is. No interest in strength based tasks, however he does us variant encumbrance so we still value strength.

2. Scouting and traps. GMs tend to hand wave traps until it gets serious but then make traps lethal to build tension. The problem is there is no indication of the switch until the first trap. The party watching the rogue check every door can slow things down but not have the rogue do so results in PC death. So its a catch 22. The end result is it gets hand waved until unless players insist and while it does bog down the game while the rogue or scout basically leads the group through the dungeon players tend to except it because they don't want there character to dies randomly to an enemy they can't fight. My attempt to resolve this is instead of hand waving traps I have a random trap macro with alternate ways of spotting and disarming that means perhaps the rogue with a high perception skill doesn't see a trap but the passive investigation of the wizard might spot it and the rogue might disarm it but it turns out when he goes to open the door its not locked its just stuck and he is going to need the much stronger fighter/barbarian to get it open with an athletics test. Just like encumbrance this slows down "mundane tasks". My GM hand waves but I consider the mundane journey as much a part of the game as the destination role play/combat. When we play his games though he can't stand it when we push to check for traps because he finds in REALLY boring form the GM side really being a narrative GM. That has never stopped him from putting a random trap or hidden door in each dungeon though so we still ask because we don't want to die to death machines. Its a bit of a back and forth.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
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
Oh yes... hand waved shopping!!! I forgot about that. My GM says almost every time… we can role play this if you really want to haggle but other wise its an X shop you can by x things at the PHB price. Magic items he changes, one time we got a magic ship run by Loki with a deck of many things, another time we role played a 2 weeks search for a guy who has 3 pre-roled items, a few times we found mage/artificer guilds that could craft requests at double cost Zanthar time frames, and another time he hand waved "you find what your looking for at some place, go through the DMG fine the item use the rarely cost table at max x1.5 … if you can't afford it or aren't sure they don't sell it to you, ether way they leave and you never see them again." When that happens its either awesome or... it cost how much!?!?

down time is very much a GM mood thing. Does he have an idea that would make running that fun for him or does it sound boarding and he just waves "the result is X, next player" If your a player and just want that result it's awesome, if your a player and you wanted to roleplay that... your a bit let down, at the same time if the GM is not into it you will be just as disappointed at a half attempt to role play but will have wasted time for the party … so I am not really against this either.

We don't really have much issue with the others.
 
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ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
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.
We have a mix of "gotcha" because our GM got on a "if you didn't detail it, it didn't happen" kick so for a while I would ask "I check the room for things for note, rolled 25 investigation" GM, "you find nothing". After the game, knocking down the door to the boss room with picks and axes the GM said "well if you had searched the dresser in the bedroom you would not have take 5 attempts and alerted every enemy in the castle"... Us: "we did you said nothing was there!!?" GM, "no you searched the room not the dresser in the room. The key wasn't just sitting on the floor". We had multiple long arguments about us not knowing there was a dresser because we were not in the room our character was and that was not mentioned. Then multiple arguments about our character was searching the room not us" Finally, he stopped being silly, we search, he sets DC, we roll, we fail or pass, he narrates the results. If the key is hidden in the dresser we might not find the key but we find the dresser drawer is locked and we know, ok their is a dresser, its locked, so we likely want to unlock it and see what's inside. Hay look a key. Or we just find the key.

Because "gotcha's" are not fun or productive. That's when a hand wave or GM "notification" needs to happen.
 
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ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
If prohibiting pets and Polearm Master seem like good ideas, I recommend banning shields. They lead to more missing and less DPS (using both hands is more DPS, whether it's dual wield or bigger weapons). Also ban armor feats, both proficiency and mastery, for slowing the game down -- let them choose feats that actually increase DPS, not decrease it.

If searching for traps seems tedious, I recommend also prohibiting stealth, scouting, and proficiency in Perception. Just make sure all encounters start within 60 feet, with a roll of initiative before seeing what you're facing. Saves all that planning, preparing, scouting, and storytelling time. It not only keeps the PCs on their toes, dealing with the unexpected, but as an added bonus it cuts down significantly on prep time for the DM.
For a moment there I thought you were my GM but then you went with cutting story time and going striate in battle. My GM gets board about 3 rounds into any fight where he is controlling more than one enemy and introduces a negotiation hook that will get us back to story time that has an "or an evil X will show up before you finish this fight and you will all die" rider.


He likes 97% talky talky him, 2% talky talky us, and 1% combat. Sometimes I take a nap during GM story time and when they ask if I am there, "ya ya, Just you know keeping and on back incase someone tries to surprise us" …

… I like tactical combat 80%, 10% GM talky talky, and 10% party talky talky with about 1-2% of me talking out of 4-5 players and 5% our party leader. Who is a paladin demi god of Thor that lowkey13 would hate but the player didn't realize would count as 2 party members until he solo'd our first boss.

(The Paladin also is not a Gnome, uses a Hammer instead of a rapier so he is not all bad, but he is the party face/leader and my warlock is loyal enough to be considered a familiar/pet. "Go scout that room warlock... you made it back alive, traps are disarmed, and their is monster only I can fight and survive? good boy, you can stand in the back so you drop last. I will bring you back up with lay on hands when I am done. ~warlock happily walks to back to eldritch blast spam from his shadow of moil "hidey hole" until he gets 1 shot on round 2 or 3 when the enemy makes it to the back paladin smiting his heals.
… joking but not by much, lol.)
 

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