what are your top three "$#%#@$ stop forgetting this rule" annoyances?

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Every edition has them. Rules that are obscure & forgotten to rules that may as well be written with invisible ink given how often players just ignore them. What are your big 5e serial offender rules?

  • Dancing lights & other concentration spells that have the concentration stipulation ignored. IME the number one offender is people who could take the 1 hour non concentration light cantrip but instead take the 1 minute concentration dancing lights spell because it can be flown around & they can ignore the concentration flag on it.
  • PHB195 covers Two Weapon Fighting, PHB165 the dual wielder feat, PHB72/91 the two weapon fighting fighting style. No you can not dual wield rapiers and add your dex bonus off hand without all three... also why the heck do so many people who are dual wield builds need to ask "how does the offhand attack work?"
  • You only get half your hit dice back on a long rest(phb186), why does bob seem to spend all his hit dice every long rest despite dumping con?
 

dnd4vr

Keeper of the Seven Keys
New players not taking the time to really know what their characters are capable of and often forgetting things that could have made the difference in a battle. (I know, not a "rule" per se, but MAN is it annoying!)

Yeah, concentration on a lot of spells seems to slip through the cracks. It is one of the most annoying things about 5E IMO and I prefer spell duration from earlier editions for every spell.

Finally, one of our players has two characters: a barbarian and a sorcerer. He continually believes his rages and sorcery points are restored on a short or long rest, when it is just on a long rest. So, he spends them too quickly and then is annoyed when we can't take a long rest for him to get them back.
 

dnd4vr

Keeper of the Seven Keys
We've had so much trouble remembering or implementing Inspiration that it no longer exists as a thing in our games.
We simplified it. When you level, you get inspiration points equal to your new level and can spend them anytime before you reach your next level. They aren't there as a reward for good play, etc. more for players to help off-set an unlucky roll from time-to-time when it is really needed.

Used this way, we remember it all the time LOL! :)

Prior to this change, yeah I completely agree. We forgot to award it and because it was so limited in amount, we hoarded it when we had it.
 

Nebulous

Hero
We simplified it. When you level, you get inspiration points equal to your new level and can spend them anytime before you reach your next level. They aren't there as a reward for good play, etc. more for players to help off-set an unlucky roll from time-to-time when it is really needed.

Used this way, we remember it all the time LOL! :)

Prior to this change, yeah I completely agree. We forgot to award it and because it was so limited in amount, we hoarded it when we had it.
That would be easier to remember for sure.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
  • PHB195 covers Two Weapon Fighting, PHB165 the dual wielder feat, PHB72/91 the two weapon fighting fighting style. No you can not dual wield rapiers and add your dex bonus off hand without all three... also why the heck do so many people who are dual wield builds need to ask "how does the offhand attack work?"
You kind of answer your own question - the information is spread in three bits across a hundred pages of rulebook.

Biggest annoyance for me is... just remembering that Inspiration exists. Both players and GMs. It is a fine mechanic, often of use in critical situations, but soooo easy to forget.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
We simplified it. When you level, you get inspiration points equal to your new level and can spend them anytime before you reach your next level.
So, like d20 Star Wars force points? Clever approach. Doesn't do the job of encouraging certain kinds of play, but still clever.
 

Nebulous

Hero
We simplified it. When you level, you get inspiration points equal to your new level and can spend them anytime before you reach your next level. They aren't there as a reward for good play, etc. more for players to help off-set an unlucky roll from time-to-time when it is really needed.

Used this way, we remember it all the time LOL! :)

Prior to this change, yeah I completely agree. We forgot to award it and because it was so limited in amount, we hoarded it when we had it.
But does it get abused? Say, when the 8th level party is close to leveling to 9th, they spam all their hoarded Inspirations because they know they'll reset to 9 new ones the next day?
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
You kind of answer your own question - the information is spread in three bits across a hundred pages of rulebook.

Biggest annoyance for me is... just remembering that Inspiration exists. Both players and GMs. It is a fine mechanic, often of use in critical situations, but soooo easy to forget.
No I disagree, phb193-195 covers making attacks, the rules for off hand attacks are in that section alongside ranged attacks/ranged attacks in close combat/melee attacks/etc. The fighting style & feat only apply if you have them. People don't get confused about adding +1 for archery & defense fighting style or regularly ask if they apply mage slayer/spell sniper when they don't have it.
 

dnd4vr

Keeper of the Seven Keys
So, like d20 Star Wars force points? Clever approach. Doesn't do the job of encouraging certain kinds of play, but still clever.
In a sense, yes. Our DM (and myself when I run the game) award good play with XP as in the old days. :)

But does it get abused? Say, when the 8th level party is close to leveling to 9th, they spam all their hoarded Inspirations because they know they'll reset to 9 new ones the next day?
No, because the DM tracks XP. The players never know when they will level next. For example, I know my character is 11th level, and I think I should be close to 12th... but it might be in the next session or even 3-4 sessions from now. I just don't know.

We also never level until we finish a long rest. So, if you spam your points because you think you are close to leveling, nothing says you'll get in a long rest before you need them again! :oops:

However, even if the players knew the XP and they would level soon, it doesn't really affect play much if they blow any remaining inspiration in an encounter. We would just play it that the character had a very lucky day. It also means they probably didn't spend them before when doing so might really have been a better idea.

If you like the idea, I suggest you try it. It works well for us and if you don't like it, you can always drop it. :)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
However, even if the players knew the XP and they would level soon, it doesn't really affect play much if they blow any remaining inspiration in an encounter. We would just play it that the character had a very lucky day. It also means they probably didn't spend them before when doing so might really have been a better idea.
In Star Wars, we did see this kind of dynamic - saving the points for big spends at the end of the level. And... we liked that.

It allows for a bit of a crescendo of action when you approach a level-transition. For a genre that's based on "episodes", that's actually a feature, not a bug.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
1. Inspiration. Already mentioned. This is a great mechanic, but it's almost always forgotten. In addition, when it has been granted to the players, they don't use it because it's so valuable (?!?).

2. Ad/Disad. What? Yeah. Other than specified instances (such as a spell or ability), players never seem to look for, or ask for, ways to get ad or avoid disad creatively. Which is a shame.

3. Spells. This is a huge pet peeve for me as a DM, but there is nothing worse than a player casting a spell, and not knowing what it does. Waiting for a player to look up the spell that the player cast is the essence of annoyance.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
No I disagree, phb193-195 covers making attacks, the rules for off hand attacks are in that section alongside ranged attacks/ranged attacks in close combat/melee attacks/etc. The fighting style & feat only apply if you have them.
Which is fine if you start knowing all the rules pat, and have that as a starting goal for your build.

But, if you don't start knowing everything pat, or having it as a goal to start with, you later find yourself wanting to do a thing, and not knowing that there are three separate rules bits you have to have picked up before it works as you'd hoped.

Human cognition isn't rules-based. It is desire based. Folks will entirely unintentionally forget rules if they are in the way of their desires.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Which is fine if you start knowing all the rules pat, and have that as a starting goal for your build.

But, if you don't start knowing everything pat, or having it as a goal to start with, you later find yourself wanting to do a thing, and not knowing that there are three separate rules bits you have to have picked up before it works as you'd hoped.

Human cognition isn't rules-based. It is desire based. Folks will entirely unintentionally forget rules if they are in the way of their desires.
Maybe at level one or two, but not level ten or fifteen. They should know how their ability works by tier2/tier3 play.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
1. Inspiration. Already mentioned. This is a great mechanic, but it's almost always forgotten. In addition, when it has been granted to the players, they don't use it because it's so valuable (?!?).
In part. The player having no concept of when they may get more is also relevant. If the GM has been forgetting inspiration, they get out of the habit of giving it out. Which tends to lead players to hoard it. Which means the GM doesn't see it used, and so they forget it and don't give it out. Vicious cycle.

Another variant that I have seen vastly increases Inspiration economy flow - use Inspiration as a pool. The Pool maxes out at one point per player. If anyone earns inspiration, it goes into the pool. Any player may use it with agreement from the other players. You have a stack of tokens on the table representing the pool, which the GM can see and track as a reminder of how much the party has on hand, and when they may want to offer more. Also largely eliminates the "You just did something cool, and I'd give you inspiration, but you already have one point, so you don't get any more."

With a pool, the party is actually incentivized to use at least one point every tie the pool is full, so they can accept new points if the GM feels they ought to have it. Raising the cap from one point per person might have similar effects - say your maximum inspiration pool is 1 point per character level.

2. Ad/Disad. What? Yeah. Other than specified instances (such as a spell or ability), players never seem to look for, or ask for, ways to get ad or avoid disad creatively. Which is a shame.
Has the GM regularly demonstrated (not just mentioned in passing in Session 0, but actively engaged in) handing out advantage for clever play? If not, don't blame the players for not spontaneously engagign in, "Mother, may I?" play. Players will tend to reach for reliable solutions first - that means the rules that everyone has agreed apply. Expecxting them to come to the GM is... kind of making them plead for it, which isn't a great dynamic sometimes.
 

MarkB

Legend
Damage rolls. Yes, you can add your Strength or Dex bonus (depending upon which one you used for your attack roll). No, you don't get to also add your proficiency bonus. Why isn't this written down on your character sheet already?
 

Nebulous

Hero
3. Spells. This is a huge pet peeve for me as a DM, but there is nothing worse than a player casting a spell, and not knowing what it does. Waiting for a player to look up the spell that the player cast is the essence of annoyance.
Related, when a player has cast said spell for a while, and then I take a closer look and realize it has been done wrong and I kick myself for not paying closer attention and assuming the player would do it correctly.
 

Maestrino

Explorer
I actually really like the DM Inspiration hack from the Angry GM. (Bardic Inspiration is fine as-is.)

I'll see if I can summarize.
1. All players start with one inspiration, and can spend it for advantage on a d20 roll at any time. (attacks, saves, ability checks, whatever)
2. After you spend your inspiration, you can regain it by imposing disadvantage on yourself on a d20 roll by RPing via your character's personality flaws.

Rinse & repeat.

So you can say "my fighter hates spiders so bad that I'm making this attack with disadvantage" or whatever.
 

GlassJaw

Adventurer
1. Inspiration - which saddens me; great concept, poor/lackluster execution
2. Hit Dice for healing - I can't count the number of times I've explained the rules for spending & regaining Hit Dice :cautious:
3. My players sometimes get confused with spell targeting, but that's mainly due to not reading the spell carefully enough.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Has the GM regularly demonstrated (not just mentioned in passing in Session 0, but actively engaged in) handing out advantage for clever play? If not, don't blame the players for not spontaneously engagign in, "Mother, may I?" play. Players will tend to reach for reliable solutions first - that means the rules that everyone has agreed apply. Expecxting them to come to the GM is... kind of making them plead for it, which isn't a great dynamic sometimes.
Maybe. But given that I DM for different tables and different players, and only some have this issue, pretty sure it's not on the DM side. I mean, anything is possible, but it would seem unlikely.

So, on a related note, this brings up two issues:

1. It is seldom helpful when someone raises an issue, and the response is to claim that it is the pejorative "DM fault" / "Mother, may I?" scenario. While it is possible that this is happening, it is often not the case. If it isn't the case, then the response isn't helpful, and even if it is, invoking "Mother, may I" as a first response tends to cause people to shut down. Best to inquire before labeling- especially with that label.

2. The issue as I would see it tends to be more of the expressio unius est exclusio alterius, For some people, this is a hard issue to break out of, and has been a topic from time immemorial (see also, enumeration of thief abilities in OD&D, issues in 4e about abilities, etc.).
 

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