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What are your Pedantic Complaints about D&D?

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
[/I]Another pet peeve of mine: Weapons with garbage stats. I hate it when there's a boatload of weapons in the player's handbook, and half of them no one in their right mind would ever consider taking, because of their poor damage. Then what's the point of having them at all? Do you really want to be the one in the party not pulling their weight, because you thought having a whip as a weapon was cool?
Oh I hear you. 80% of the weapons table never gets regularly because there are better options.

Personally I'm a fan of resolving this by assigning weapon damage by class and size like 13th Age and just skin it as anything that fits your concept, but younger me would be down with the people who want to have more differentiation and a crunchy system to work out weapon damage and perks fairly. After all, if it's only used off-the-table, who cares if it takes 2 minutes instead of 20 seconds to pick a weapon.
 

Xetheral

Explorer
I'm trying to figure out the circumstances where the difference would matter - or why Crawford got this question in the first place. (Clicking the link gave no context, just the answer).

Is someone wondering whether whacking a monster with their longbow counts as a "melee weapon attack"? I don't even get why this question would come up...

ETA: I know this is the thread for pedantry, and this is pedantry and so it's appropriate. But the fact that Crawford got asked this question just blows my mind - I just have to know why it matters!
There are melee weapons that can be thrown. So there's a very practical distinction between "attack with a melee weapon" or "melee attack with a weapon," as throwing an axe at someone is ranged attack with a melee weapon, but not a melee attack, at all.
Hitting someone with a bowstave is a less common example of the same distinction.
Tony's answer is spot on. In my experience, it's a common question asked by new players trying to figure out which abilities apply to which combinations of attack type and weapon type.

It doesn't help that the very first class ability a new player reads in the PHB is Rage, which is the paradigmatic example of an ability players want to use with thrown weapons but are not able to due to the lack of a hyphen between "melee" and "weapon".

The other usual example where new players stumble is Sharpshooter, where the first bullet point applies to thrown melee weapons (because you're making a ranged weapon attack) but the second two don't (because you're not attacking with a ranged weapon).

And that's not even getting to the unarmed strike errata, or Reckless Attack's unique variant "melee weapon attack roll" (which Crawford has said somehow doesn't mean "an attack roll when attacking with a melee weapon" but instead means (pedantically applying compound-adjective hypenation rules) a "melee-weapon-attack attack roll".)

ETA: Sadly, going by Crawford you can't use Reckless Attack when attacking by tossing a caber, even though I'm pretty sure that "recklessly" is the only way to do so.
 
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Sadras

Explorer
That said, because you're dealing with small whole numbers it's not very granular and thus a whole lot of different weapons get shoehorned into doing d6 or d8 damage. 1e tried to mitigate this a bit by differentiating weapons vs armour type, and 3e kinda waved at differentiating between slash-pierce-bludgeon; but any such system is going to add lots of complication for, really, not all that much return. So in the end we kinda have to live with it.

Additional weapon properties/traits/qualities is another way such as Bulk, Defensive, Fast, Hook, Nimble, Piercing, Staggering which could be added to the ones that are included already (Finesse, Range, Reach, Two-Handed...etc).

These qualities could increase the scope of weapons
+1 on AC or +1 vs Disarm or Trip, or dislodge opponents shield for a round, +1 additional damage for every 5 above the AC required, on a Crit opponents of x size roll DC 8+Prof+Str otherwise knock prone or imposed x Condition, bonus to initiative, damage opponents armour, impose penalty/disadvantage on athletic/acrobatic checks while wielding such weapon...just a few ideas thrown out there.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
We added weapon properties: Skewer, Stun, Wound for many piercing, bludgeoning, and slashing weapons. Basically on a critical hit they involve the target making a Dex, Str, or Con check to avoid additional damage, etc.
 

Sadras

Explorer
We added weapon properties: Skewer, Stun, Wound for many piercing, bludgeoning, and slashing weapons. Basically on a critical hit they involve the target making a Dex, Str, or Con check to avoid additional damage, etc.
Sure, but that doesn't fix the issue of weapons being samey or OP compared to the rest.
The point is to differentiate weapons by more than just damage making other weapon choices viable.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
Sure, but that doesn't fix the issue of weapons being samey or OP compared to the rest.
The point is to differentiate weapons by more than just damage making other weapon choices viable.
True, but like it or not, certain weapons are "better" than others. There is a historical reason why the arms race existed.

If you want the simplicity of 5E, damage is really the only differentiator. Unless you include things like AC adjustments, speed factors, reach, etc. and others into the mechanics of combat (thus, making it much more complicated), you're stuck with just damage. So, 5E adds Finesse and Light for specific options and features, but removed a bunch of stuff that could have been used.

Our options for Skewer, Stun, and Wound, even if only on critical hits, makes for at least some difference between say a Flail and a War Pick. They weigh the same, do the same damage, the only difference is bludgeoning vs. piercing. Other than creatures that might have a vulnerability to one of those, there is no distinction mechanically. Now there is a bit more with Stun vs. Skewer.... at least it is something. :)
 

oreofox

Explorer
That's one thing I liked about the 3e/Pf weapons, that being the critical hit modifications. Some weapons crit more often (greatsword on a 19-20) or end up doing more damage on a crit (x3 with great axe, or x4 with a pick). So, you could crit on a 19 with a greatsword and deal 4d6 (4-24 dmg), or choose the great axe and crit dealing 3d12 (3-36 dmg). 5e makes the greatsword better as you will always deal minimum of 2 damage (before resistances). It's been tempting to port that over.

As for the topic at hand: nothing really pops into my mind when it comes to pedantry.
 

Jer

Explorer
The PF2 threads reminded me of another pedantic complaint I have about D&D: The use of the word "feat" to mean "mechanical advantage of some kind for a character". Even after 20 years it still makes me go "why?" when I think about all of the names they could have used for something that gives you a few extra languages or a +2 bonus to a few skill checks or whatever and instead they chose to use something that prior to that meant basically "an accomplishment that required enormous effort and skill to achieve". Advantages, perks, benefits - there's a whole vocabulary available for that kind of mechanic, and they settled on the word "feat".

(And yeah, I know the history of it and that calling things like Power Attack and Whirlwind Attack a feat of strength or skill was where they started from and it blossomed out into a more general "advantage" system, but it still grates. Once they started moving down the path of the active "powers" that started them thinking about feats and into the more "generally beneficial" model, I wish they would have dropped the name "feat" from it.)
 

snickersnax

Explorer
Barbarians get their class features because they embrace their animal natures, yet animals don't get any of these features...

...and every other situation where the fluff doesn't match the mechanics.
 
The 5th edition of D&D was written by Frank Mentzer and published in 1983. The current edition of D&D is something like the 13th.

Barbarians get their strength from the power of their feelings, but are typically represented as having a poor Charisma, which measures your force of personality.
 

Eltab

Villager
Having a Reach weapon does not mean I can reaction-attack an enemy who carefully keeps an empty 5-ft square between me and himself as he moves. I picked up that Whip so I could do the cool Indiana Jones tricks !
 

ParanoydStyle

Peace Among Worlds
[MENTION=6923088]Aebir-Toril[/MENTION]:

I am being pedantic by pointing this out which is almost painfully meta, but you mean to use the word 'petty', not 'pedantic', in your opening question/topic title.

To continue being pedantic--purely for illustrative purposes, I assure you!--you also mean "venomous", not "venemous".

Anyway, alignment is pretty terrible but that's not a piddling concern. The same is true of you being at 100% fighting capacity until you lose your last hp and then effectively exploding in a cloud of blood: that's a thing I don't love about D&D but it's not a small thing. Now keep in mind, I have learned to love both of these problems in the very specific context of D&D. There are other games I can play if I want wound penalties or a game that doesn't try to cram the vast, complicated, nuanced spectrum of human morality and ethics into nine neat little boxes.

I'm stretching to think of truly finicky complaints here, and I keep thinking of things that aren't, in fact, punctilious at all. Like, CR fails to be an accurate representation of a monster's threat/challenge to an average party in the case of about half of monsters. I think that possibly being a game designer and consciously NOT a perfectionist has trained my brain to only notice/care about problems with a game that are at least somewhat substantive. I do have one pet peeve that I've mentioned here before but I think it was fixed in 5E.

1) On average, monsters in 5E have too much hp.
2) Plant type enemies having resistance or immunity to fire and cold damage, two types of damage they should logically be vulnerable to has always driven me nuts. I'm pretty sure I've complained about this before on here. It makes the opposite of sense. It makes less sense than Wookies on Endor. That said, this was specifically a beef I had with 3.5 (and by extension Pathfinder). I think this was corrected in 5E.
3) The selection of weapons in 5E is somewhat lacking. I don't mean magic modifiers to apply to weapons, I mean the mundane weapons themselves. Would it have killed them to add a bastard sword between longsword and greatsword (it would have the versatile trait, use a d10 damage die one handed, d12 damage die two handed, requires Str 13 or Str 15 (I'd have to actually think about which) to use and cost more than either a longsword or a greatsword. I know that you get into the land of the ridiculous very quickly when you head down the path of caring about the difference between a glaive-guisarme and a guisarme-glaive or whatever, but it'd have been nice seeing more of a variety of polearms to pick from.
4) How dare they stat Sharktocrab before me!
 

niklinna

Explorer
The brittle magic system, with fixed lists of approved spells, often incredibly specific in effect and therefore hard to customize to a non-trope character concept. For one incredibly basic example: Why is there no generic ranged-damage cantrip that lets you pick the damage type (acid, force, fire, etc.) when you select it? Or, if amounts need to depend on damage type for some reason, why is there no full set of ranged-damage cantrips for each damage type? The argument applies all the way up to 9th level.

By contrast, the incredibly broad set of skills, albeit each tied hard to a particular ability. Wizards may go on about three pillars, but you can see the relative sizes of them from the page counts of combat & (mostly-combat) spells rules vs. skills rules.

Races with their fixed ability bonuses. RPGs are supposedly about playing exceptional characters, but if you wanna be a great dwarf wizard, you are handicapped and can't be that exceptional dwarf without cheesing the character generation.

The need to shoehorn any character concept into one of the established ABC menu system of character classes, instead of being able to choose a set of features to fit the concept.

Combat is boring. Too many instances of "nothing happens" on a failed die roll.

Absolutely no scaling of concentration by character level. Even being able to concentrate on 2 spells by some mid-high level would make a huge difference in fun.

I'll just stop there!
 

ParanoydStyle

Peace Among Worlds
Actually, I take it back about the polearms. 5E has just enough differentiation with spear, glaive, halberd, lance (not technically a polearm but close enough), pike, and trident. Any more would be too much.

Also yeah why ARE pikes so heavy?
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
The brittle magic system, with fixed lists of approved spells, often incredibly specific in effect and therefore hard to customize to a non-trope character concept. For one incredibly basic example: Why is there no generic ranged-damage cantrip that lets you pick the damage type (acid, force, fire, etc.) when you select it? Or, if amounts need to depend on damage type for some reason, why is there no full set of ranged-damage cantrips for each damage type? The argument applies all the way up to 9th level.

By contrast, the incredibly broad set of skills, albeit each tied hard to a particular ability. Wizards may go on about three pillars, but you can see the relative sizes of them from the page counts of combat & (mostly-combat) spells rules vs. skills rules.

Races with their fixed ability bonuses. RPGs are supposedly about playing exceptional characters, but if you wanna be a great dwarf wizard, you are handicapped and can't be that exceptional dwarf without cheesing the character generation.

The need to shoehorn any character concept into one of the established ABC menu system of character classes, instead of being able to choose a set of features to fit the concept.

Combat is boring. Too many instances of "nothing happens" on a failed die roll.

Absolutely no scaling of concentration by character level. Even being able to concentrate on 2 spells by some mid-high level would make a huge difference in fun.

I'll just stop there!
But, you haven't gotten to the pedantic part, yet!?


Also yeah why ARE pikes so heavy?
Asked and answered: they only feel heavy after you take them out of the water.
 

Aebir-Toril

Explorer
It was a typo, but thanks!

Of course it's venomous, not venemous.

Sorry, but I had to bite​.
[MENTION=6984451]ParanoydStyle[/MENTION]
 

Lucas Yew

Explorer
My question below;

In 5E, why do some creatures' Proficiency bonus scale off HD, a static value, and why for others it's based on CR, a floating value? It's like claiming there are two separate Gravitational Constants working in the universe, and that makes me want to throw up badly...
 

oreofox

Explorer
In a continuation of Lucas Yew's point above, I have one similar. Monster ability DCs. From what I gather, after making many a new monster (conversions of older monsters, really), I have noticed practically every DC listed in the monster's stat block is based off of their Constitution bonus. I check the math against the Con modifier, the base 8 for all DCs, and the proficiency bonus taken from their CR according to the "Making a Monster" portion of the DMG (which checks out when you take their attack bonus minus either Str or Dex to get the same number). HOWEVER, this isn't true for every DC, and not even within the same Monster stat block. Mostly dealing with Escape DCs for a grapple or swallow type move. This particular DC is something like 2-3 points higher, and I don't know how they come up with it.

Honestly, I had to figure out how to go about calculating the DCs as that part isn't mentioned in the Making a Monster section (not that I could find, anyway). So at first, I thought if it called for a Dexterity saving throw, you add the monster's Dex modifier to the DC. Looking back, that was rather dumb of me. So everything is based off Con unless they have Innate Spellcasting, in which those DCs are almost always based off Cha.
 

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