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

Esker

Explorer
Any BBEG worth the label is going to have legendary actions as well. One common legendary action is to move without provoking opportunity attacks (and since that's not the disengage action, Sentinel definitely doesn't help there).

Also, the reaction attack has to hit to reduce their speed to zero. A BBEG is probably relatively hard to hit, especially if they're facing a group of PCs solo. But failing that, dodge. In this case (or if you buy my interpretation of Sentinel's disengage text, which, having gone to read it, is at best ambiguous) the combo has managed to deny the BBEG an attack action. But that seems fair to me for the price of two feats.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you have a BBEG that has to be within 5' to hit, doesn't have the ability to avoid opportunity attacks outside the disengage action, is relatively easy to hit, and is facing a group of PCs solo, then if the PCs defeat them easily, it's not because of a broken feat combo.
 

Imaculata

Explorer
My pirate campaign features the occasional mass combat situation, and whenever that happens I try to limit the number of dice that I actually need to roll. Instead of rolling for each and every individual, I often describe the scene as just a massive battle going on around the players, and I tell them that the only fights we'll play out at the table are those between them and enemies that are actively fighting their characters. And so we limit a battle of hundreds of individuals to like 12 combatants.

When the battles become even larger, such as during a massive naval battle, we zoom out even more. We treat the ships as just one unit, rather than a vehicle containing hundreds of individuals. Some of the personal influence and actions become lost in that process, which is regretable, and we haven't yet found a perfect solution to this issue.

We've reached the point where the rules as written are not sufficient for what we are trying to do, and we need to borrow rules from other systems, and homebrew a bit. It's an experiment, and an ever improving process. It's not perfect, but so far it hasn't stopped us from playing the game. It is one of the many challenges for me as a DM when running a campaign of this scale.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Any BBEG worth the label is going to have legendary actions as well. One common legendary action is to move without provoking opportunity attacks (and since that's not the disengage action, Sentinel definitely doesn't help there).

Also, the reaction attack has to hit to reduce their speed to zero. A BBEG is probably relatively hard to hit, especially if they're facing a group of PCs solo. But failing that, dodge. In this case (or if you buy my interpretation of Sentinel's disengage text, which, having gone to read it, is at best ambiguous) the combo has managed to deny the BBEG an attack action. But that seems fair to me for the price of two feats.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you have a BBEG that has to be within 5' to hit, doesn't have the ability to avoid opportunity attacks outside the disengage action, is relatively easy to hit, and is facing a group of PCs solo, then if the PCs defeat them easily, it's not because of a broken feat combo.
That's making assumptions that you make NPCs/monsters specifically to counter the build. Which I can do of course but then I've just told my player "neener, neener, I'm the DM so I can always come up with some custom monster to nerf your investment". In addition, while I didn't do an extensive search, the only monster I found that had the ability to avoid opp attacks are the handful that can teleport/phase and the vampire that can move without provoking. At the very least, it's not "common".

The DM can always find ways to threaten PCs. This is just one of my least favorite combos because it either works a lot (and it's boring), or the DM writes encounters so that it's rarely if ever useful particularly against boss monsters. Including mini-bosses. I'd rather discuss it with the player and either come up with alternative house rules or work something else out.
 

Esker

Explorer
That's making assumptions that you make NPCs/monsters specifically to counter the build. Which I can do of course but then I've just told my player "neener, neener, I'm the DM so I can always come up with some custom monster to nerf your investment". In addition, while I didn't do an extensive search, the only monster I found that had the ability to avoid opp attacks are the handful that can teleport/phase and the vampire that can move without provoking. At the very least, it's not "common".

The DM can always find ways to threaten PCs. This is just one of my least favorite combos because it either works a lot (and it's boring), or the DM writes encounters so that it's rarely if ever useful particularly against boss monsters. Including mini-bosses. I'd rather discuss it with the player and either come up with alternative house rules or work something else out.
I don't think you have to specifically counter the build to have a good chance that the BBEG has some way around this combo. Any caster isn't worried about it, since they're not trying to get into melee. Dragons aren't worried about it. Beholder's don't care. Aboleths don't care. Vampires only care a little. Can you point to any BBEG-caliber creatures in the monster manual that would be shut down by Sentinel+PAM?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I don't think you have to specifically counter the build to have a good chance that the BBEG has some way around this combo. Any caster isn't worried about it, since they're not trying to get into melee. Dragons aren't worried about it. Beholder's don't care. Aboleths don't care. Vampires only care a little. Can you point to any BBEG-caliber creatures in the monster manual that would be shut down by Sentinel+PAM?
.
All I'm saying is that it eliminates the effectiveness of an entire category of monsters that rely primarily or exclusively on melee. Can I come up with other types of monsters? Give all my melee types from CR 5 on reach or effective ranged attacks? Sure. But that means either I ignore melee opponents, fights are either boring or incredibly dependent on luck of the die.

Let's say I throw a Champion (CR 9) melee type against a level 5 party. If the fighter is lucky, the champion never has a chance to attack anyone (I rule you can't switch between a held weapon and another weapon without dropping one of them or taking an action). On the other hand a couple of misses and suddenly the PAM fighter is down and it's looking bad for the PCs.

YMMV and I don't feel like arguing about this any more. I just dislike the effect the rule has when I've seen it in actual play.
 

Esker

Explorer
.
All I'm saying is that it eliminates the effectiveness of an entire category of monsters that rely primarily or exclusively on melee. Can I come up with other types of monsters? Give all my melee types from CR 5 on reach or effective ranged attacks? Sure. But that means either I ignore melee opponents, fights are either boring or incredibly dependent on luck of the die.

Let's say I throw a Champion (CR 9) melee type against a level 5 party. If the fighter is lucky, the champion never has a chance to attack anyone (I rule you can't switch between a held weapon and another weapon without dropping one of them or taking an action). On the other hand a couple of misses and suddenly the PAM fighter is down and it's looking bad for the PCs.

YMMV and I don't feel like arguing about this any more. I just dislike the effect the rule has when I've seen it in actual play.
Obviously you're entitled to do what you want and prohibit certain mechanics that you don't like. And you said you don't feel like arguing about this any more, which is fine; I won't take offense or treat it as an admission of anything if you stop responding. But since this is a forum that other people read as well, I just want to point out (for posterity, or something?) that there are a whole lot of ways that encounters involving a single melee-focused enemy can become trivialized with the right rolls. In the case of the Champion, a failed save or two on a hold person, say, and it's over, or at least it will be very quickly. Yes, they will probably either save or use indomitable and then save, but maybe not. Or how about Heat Metal? Cast it on the greatsword, and they have to resort to the shortbow, just as they would if they want to avoid approaching the PAM+Sentinel fighter.

I am certainly not advocating for modifying every formidable melee type to have reach or ranged attacks, because a character who has invested in this combo should be able to use it, but encounters against solo melee types have high potential to be boring regardless of this particular combo, and so make bad boss fights. So if using melee types, give them backup, or occasionally don't and let the fighter feel awesome when they shut down the bad guy with a few good attack rolls.

Or ban or house rule the Sentinel+PAM combo. I'm not telling you what to do at your table. I'm just saying I don't think it actually breaks anything in encounters that aren't already easily trivialized.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
.
All I'm saying is that it eliminates the effectiveness of an entire category of monsters that rely primarily or exclusively on melee. Can I come up with other types of monsters? Give all my melee types from CR 5 on reach or effective ranged attacks? Sure. But that means either I ignore melee opponents, fights are either boring or incredibly dependent on luck of the die.

Let's say I throw a Champion (CR 9) melee type against a level 5 party. If the fighter is lucky, the champion never has a chance to attack anyone (I rule you can't switch between a held weapon and another weapon without dropping one of them or taking an action). On the other hand a couple of misses and suddenly the PAM fighter is down and it's looking bad for the PCs.

YMMV and I don't feel like arguing about this any more. I just dislike the effect the rule has when I've seen it in actual play.
Honestly, I can easily see this combo bring frustrating, but...

To me in 5e the "value" of a primary melee only bbeg without it having chosen favorable terrain and circumstance is close to nil before we get anywhere near double feat reach weapon combos. To be s challenging boss much less any sort of finale style contedt, challenges for z gtoup need to be far more robust and resilient than one that's easily stymied by this feat combo.

But, that's me.
 

Warmaster Horus

Registered User
Back in the day there was a tendency to check EVERYTHING. Was that smoked turkey hanging in the larder stuffed with a key to the desk in the groomsman's room? Check every section of wall for secret doors. Develop extreme myopia by peering through the Gem of True Seeing near constantly. Run ball bearings on the floor to see if there was a gradient. Poke obstructed passages with 10' poles. Try to determine how to rotate the Pentagram in the direction of Falbanian's Folly without opening the acid spigots by a detailed examination of the runic inscriptions and gear intermeshings of the mechanism.

These days this sort of interaction has largely been replaced by a Perception/Investigation roll and spoon-fed clues. There are pros and cons...
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
So, this is a pretty good topic! I have some thoughts on this that I've been meaning to share ...

{checks OP}

{checks OP again}

I don't know what's worse- necromancy, or creeping senility. Maybe a combination of the two?

Cleetus the Decaying: "Hey everyone, we should raise an army of the dead!"

Olaf the Unbroken: "Um, Cleetus? You did that yesterday."

Cleetus: "Oh. Yeah. {Long Pause} Hey everyone, we should raise an army of the dead!"
 

Greenfield

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.
I've seen a lot of arguments on this topic. For me, the big one against such things is "additional effects". Poison, for example, wouldn't be delivered if the poisoned weapon never actually touches/cuts the target. Weapons with energy damage the same, though to a lesser extent.

We see hit points as the ability to take a punch, to roll with the blow so as to reduce or minimize the damage.

What I find most effective though, for speed and game clarity, is to ignore the issue and just play as written. :) YMMV, of course.
 

Bupp

Villager
I hand wave shopping so completely that when the party reaches 5th level I've told them "You are all competent, seasoned adventurers now. Whatever standard PHB equipment list item you can have if you want it. If in game you realize you need a hand mirror, your character would have thought ahead and bought one. Other not so standard items can be had with a compelling argument." In exchange, I charge double lifestyle expenses.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
I don’t roll damage for NPCs, I just use the average (unless it’s a critical).
 

Unwise

Villager
[MENTION=6784990]Bupp[/MENTION] , I do something similar, but ended up borrowing from the One Ring RPG. In that you have an economic status, poor, comfortable, wealthy etc. I simply charge X amount to buy a lifestyle for 6 months. If the item you want fits into your lifestyle, then you have it. An average person cannot pull out a telescope when they want one, but a rich person can. The comfortable person is assumed to have a horse, the poor person is not. The same goes with the quality of all of their gear.

In some groups, we do even further abstraction of wealth and use the One Ring's Treasure Parcels (TP). You raid an ancient crypt and find 3 treasure parcels. You can use one to bribe the kings chamberlain and spend 2 to buy an awesome magic sword etc. Anything that is small enough not to count as a TP is just assumed according to your wealth level, so paying for inns, minor tips/bribes, booze etc. TPs are for doing buying stuff significantly above your standard lifestyle.
 
Checking for traps is lame. We rarely do it. My bard will Conjure Woodland Beings for companionship if other options aren't available.
Aha. The classic "my animal companion checks for traps" maneuver. Bonus: can be used after said companion is dead, too--provided the corpse is still somewhat intact.*

Quote from a campaign I ran: "We throw the dead goat onto the suspect square (of the dungeon). Is there enough blood left in the corpse to run out (and outline that square)?"





*This may not, in fact, be a Lawful Good act. :angel:
 

Horwath

Explorer
Aha. The classic "my animal companion checks for traps" maneuver. Bonus: can be used after said companion is dead, too--provided the corpse is still somewhat intact.*

Quote from a campaign I ran: "We throw the dead goat onto the suspect square (of the dungeon). Is there enough blood left in the corpse to run out (and outline that square)?"





*This may not, in fact, be a Lawful Good act. :angel:
Last time I played a barbarian I was main trapmaster. I just tied a 20ft rope around goblin or similar small creature and threw it down the hall and pull it towards myself. Repeat.

Sometimes, they were still alive just unconcise and cleric used heal skill on them every dozen or so throws. You know, for that smart traps that require living trigger.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
The biggest efficiency choice I've made at my table is, "Circles are squares."

I couldn't be bothered with templates and measuring on the grid so I just decided everything is square. Movement, missile range, spell area of effect - all squares (except for cone effects, which are triangles).

As for pets, I rule that anything that is not a PC uses average damage.
That seems more like increasing fun by increasing efficiency!

As for the OP, my group does the opposite. We don't enjoy average damage, so no matter how many dice have to be rolled to get damage totals, we roll 'em.

We also don't enjoy the overly simplified crafting rules, so we use a custom mix of dmg and xanathar's rules, with tool/arcana checks to help determine how quickly it gets done, whether we waste resources, and how likely complications are to crop up. We also split the cost and time between crafting and R&D.

My character has a familiar, and the Dragon's Breath spell, but I don't use them in combination because I don't want to risk overshadowing the BM Ranger.

We don't hand wave the passage of time in my buddy's campaign, because that campaign has stuff going on behind the scenes that isn't dependent at all on what we are doing, so he tracks days of travel, rest, etc, and keeps it in a notebook calendar. This actually adds some fun because he uses the last year's calendar to determine things like the phase of the moon, weather in certain parts of the world, and thus night time lighting conditions and travel conditions. Normally we'd ignore all of that, but it's more fun for us in this campaign to track it.

edit: I mentioned it in another thread, but we also don't kill enemies automatically when they hit 0hp, no intelligent races (so far) are genetically evil (and thus can't just be slaughtered without a second thought), and we don't leave enemies with no skills proficiency or even race benefits, even though it's much simpler to do so.
 

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