5.5E What do you want in the revised DMG?

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
@Mordhau Okay, that's cool. Side bars with examples, suggestions on dealing with edge case and cross references to other rules are always welcome by me. Lengthy digressions on why they chose to go with one mechanic over another, why they changed something from a prior edition, etc. belongs elsewhere IMO.
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Yeah I remember reading 5e a lot of times and thinking "just tell us what you intend here"*. A lot of forum arguments about stealth might have been avoided if they'd just had a 13th Age style sidebar which told us something like "this is how we intend to use stealth, or perhaps more importantly, this is how difficult we intend it to be to get Sneak Attack, so in the case of the Rogue and hiding err on the side of being permissive".

*I appreciate that Mike Mearls use to do that sometimes on twitter but it would have been better in the book. In contrast Jeremy Crawford's often legalistic parsing of the rules seems a completely dysfunctional approach.
The omission is especially bad because d&d used to have thst kind of stuff in the 3.5 dmg's behind the curtain sidebars that went into exploring the crunch and intent as appropriate. In a lot of cases (like awarding xp) those sidebars are still more useful than the 5e equivalent for a 5e dm.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
The omission is especially bad because d&d used to have thst kind of stuff in the 3.5 dmg's behind the curtain sidebars that went into exploring the crunch and intent as appropriate. In a lot of cases (like awarding xp) those sidebars are still more useful than the 5e equivalent for a 5e dm.

And, maybe one day, people will accept that 5e is fundamentally different from 3.5, that crunch is certainly not at the core of it, and that not exploring it stems from the same philosophy of having a game that is accessible to all without the need of special jargon and explanations (and which is certainly part of what made 5e a success). Whatever happens with the 2024 version of 5e, I really, really hope that it stays on the line that 5e has walked since it was created with a heavy resistance towards providing more crunch, as it was the uncontrolled multiplication of crunch was the downfall of 3e (which had great ideas at its core nonetheless).
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
And, maybe one day, people will accept that 5e is fundamentally different from 3.5, that crunch is certainly not at the core of it, and that not exploring it stems from the same philosophy of having a game that is accessible to all without the need of special jargon and explanations (and which is certainly part of what made 5e a success). Whatever happens with the 2024 version of 5e, I really, really hope that it stays on the line that 5e has walked since it was created with a heavy resistance towards providing more crunch, as it was the uncontrolled multiplication of crunch was the downfall of 3e (which had great ideas at its core nonetheless).
I agree, but I also think that 5e is a big tent. I wouldn't want to the core more crunchy, but I there is certainly a demand for more crunch and that demand will likely continue to grow the longer the system live on and as more of the newer players beginning looking for more ways to add to the game. I think WotC has done a good job at slowly releasing new options and crunch, but they are spread throughout so many different books that it is getting inconvenient to read them together and more difficult to easily reference them--especially if you are using the physical books. That's why I would like a revised DMG that is a well organized collection of modular options that can be added to the core game.

DnD Beyond is a great resource for monsters, magic items, and spells because it makes a useful and convenient interface that consolidates these. It is okay with character options. It is not very helpful with combat rules, downtime activity, and most other crunch. Even the search functionality returns too much noise to signal.
 
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Lyxen

Great Old One
I agree, but I also think that 5e is a big tent. I wouldn't want to the core more crunchy, but I there is certainly a demand for more crunch and that demand will likely continue to grow the longer the system live on and as more of the newer players beginning looking for more ways to add to the game.

I'm honestly not sure, I think the demand from crunch mostly comes from previous editions players.

I think WotC has done a good job at slowly releasing new options and crunch, but they are spread throughout so many different books that it is getting inconvenient to read them together and more difficult to easily reference them--especially if you are using the physical books. That's why I would like a revised DMG that is a well organized collection of modular options that can be added to the core game.

I'm fine with this, as long as the less interesting ones are removed, and not too much is added.
 



Li Shenron

Legend
This isn't necessarily about the topic, but the responses did make me wonder if there was a correlation between folks who want more robust and concrete encounter creation rules and folks who do not like or refuse to fudge dice rolls and/or adjust encounters mid-fight?

Honestly, I don't know if there is a correlation there or not, but I do know that for me I've never worried about making sure my encounters were built "balanced" in order to give me the really precise result of difficulty I was looking for because I do not have any problem having extra monsters just show up to make the fight more difficult (even if my notes didn't say they were there) or just removing a monster that got hit for 30 points and was left with 1 HP remaining (so I just call it dead), or any other tricks like that to "self-balance" the fights on a case-by-case basis.

It just seems like the people who would prefer not to "wing it" have a reason for not wanting to... and the idea that they do not want to adjust the encounter mid-encounter due to however they see the verisimilitude of the game to be, might be a strong reason for that? I dunno? It's just something I noticed and was curious about.
Interesting note.

Personally I do not value the idea of setting the difficulty "precisely", which actually sounds like a ridiculous illusion to me. At the same time, I also do not generally adjust the encounter mid-fight, if it turns out easier/harder than expected then I consider it part of the fun.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Interesting note.

Personally I do not value the idea of setting the difficulty "precisely", which actually sounds like a ridiculous illusion to me.
Yeah, I wouldn't think so either... but it just seems that whenever there are comments and threads about the CR system and encounter building rules there are people who talk as though the numbers should be quite rigorous in their use and effectiveness. Now maybe I'm reading more into it than is intended from them (entirely possible), but the power of some responses seem to imply that they are very upset that the rules do not work as well as they think they should.
 

Yeah, I wouldn't think so either... but it just seems that whenever there are comments and threads about the CR system and encounter building rules there are people who talk as though the numbers should be quite rigorous in their use and effectiveness. Now maybe I'm reading more into it than is intended from them (entirely possible), but the power of some responses seem to imply that they are very upset that the rules do not work as well as they think they should.
A lot of people find CR basically useless, for a number of reasons. And there's a lot of space between "useless" and "perfect." It should be in there somewhere.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Yeah, I wouldn't think so either... but it just seems that whenever there are comments and threads about the CR system and encounter building rules there are people who talk as though the numbers should be quite rigorous in their use and effectiveness. Now maybe I'm reading more into it than is intended from them (entirely possible), but the power of some responses seem to imply that they are very upset that the rules do not work as well as they think they should.

That's the way I'm reading this as well, and not only do they want the computations precise, but they want to walk the fine line between "as challenging as possible" and "TPK possible", and somehow be able to shift the responsibility to the system instead of assuming it themselves.
 


Oofta

Legend
A lot of people find CR basically useless, for a number of reasons. And there's a lot of space between "useless" and "perfect." It should be in there somewhere.

You have to adjust for every group and oftentimes by environment and scenario but I find CR works about as well as anything. I really enjoy my current group but they generally have awful tactics. Occasionally I forget that.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
A lot of people find CR basically useless, for a number of reasons. And there's a lot of space between "useless" and "perfect." It should be in there somewhere.
Heh... well like I said above... if you're running a table for 4 PCs of the Basic Rules Core 4 the encounter building rules work pretty well. But granted that's not said specifically anywhere, so it's only by playing the game with all manner of tables and characters away from that baseline do we notice just how much the rules fall away.

But because there is no way to make a balanced set of encounter building rules that could be 'plug and play' for every number of player count, every combination of classes from the PHB, every level of magical item ownership, and every variant rule inclusion... the game doesn't bother trying. It just requires every DM to basically learn how to create their own encounter building rules for their own tables.

Which does ask the question that if these rules they do include only really work as precisely as some players think they should for that one specific Core Four 4 PC table... should they even have bothered to include any rules whatsoever? Which I think is a legitimate question we could ask. If the rules won't necessarily work for 99.9% of all the tables out there, are they actually worth including them at all and probably misrepresenting themselves to almost everyone who reads them?

For me, my impulse is to say 'Yeah... I think?... if only for the completely new D&D and RPG player who has no concept of building encounters at all in the first place and it gives them an idea and examples of what encounters could actually look like.' But even then, I suspect even completely new players who weren't using the Starter Set and were creating their own fights are probably owners and users of the PHB, which means their table won't be a Core Four 4 PC one either. So again, the rules end up being relatively useless for them if they are trying to follow them to the word. Which can be unfortunate.
 

You have to adjust for every group and oftentimes by environment and scenario but I find CR works about as well as anything. I really enjoy my current group but they generally have awful tactics. Occasionally I forget that.
I find it generally useful for comparing monsters - aside form a few special abilities that break things1, I can be pretty confident that two CR 5 monsters are about as rough to fight as the other. Whether CR 5 is right for the party is another, more difficult question, and one that requires some experimenting to determine.

1 For example, the shadow's ability to attack strength means it ignores hp, which can be very nasty. Shadows punch way above their weight class. But that's kinda specific to them, not a problem with CR in general.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
A lot of people find CR basically useless, for a number of reasons. And there's a lot of space between "useless" and "perfect." It should be in there somewhere.
A big part of the trouble is that wotc designed for an astoundingly grindy number of encounters rather than one that could be reasonably pushed in normal gameplay and put a console command level recovery option

And, maybe one day, people will accept that 5e is fundamentally different from 3.5, that crunch is certainly not at the core of it, and that not exploring it stems from the same philosophy of having a game that is accessible to all without the need of special jargon and explanations (and which is certainly part of what made 5e a success). Whatever happens with the 2024 version of 5e, I really, really hope that it stays on the line that 5e has walked since it was created with a heavy resistance towards providing more crunch, as it was the uncontrolled multiplication of crunch was the downfall of 3e (which had great ideas at its core nonetheless).
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A great many of those sidebars better prepare a 5e dm for running 5e yet are from two editions ago. Yes the decision to go into detail or not in ways that are needed for the DM to go into their game well equipped with an understanding of any given topic or not is a choice and choosing not to do so on a given section says a lot. In aggregate though there are so few efforts in the dmg to present system knowledge as anything but an opaque wall that the system winds up being rather unfriendly to the GM in need of system knowledge needed to confidently rule on areas of the rules that needs changes & rulings. Paired with decisions like "feats and magic items are totally unsupported OpTiONaL" a shift of PC power from magic items to the PC itself & so on o5e's heavy reliance on ask your gm/let the gm decide works out to be downright GM hostile.

The choice not to equip the gm with system understanding goes beyond a GM actively looking to better understand things to include a GM who doesn't know the mistakes they are making because a more experienced GM can not point them to the sidebar on xxx that would help them better realize things they are struggling with. in the case of 5e itself, an experienced GM who goes through the effort of understanding things followed by trial and error of correcting one off edge case rules intended to stop mythical killer GMs & similar newbieGM mistakes that choice from wotc shows the unstructured mess under the hood.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Well, the number of players of 5e compared to any other edition should just show you that it's not GM Hostile in general, the hostility is only generated by GM from previous editions expecting the same thing as previous editions. But I've discussed with at least 10 different DMs from 5e (usually children of friends or friends of my children) who absolutely have zero problem operating directly under the new paradigms and don't spend their time trying to recreate the past from the new.

So no, the DMs don't need more "equipment", unless you think that they are inferior DMs because of that, which would be arrogant in the extreme.
 

Lakesidefantasy

Adventurer
Aren't the monsters list more related to world building ?
I don't think so. The lists are in an appendix by themselves. Volo's and Mordenkainen's guides have the lists for the monsters in the guide itself.

It's annoying when designing encounters to have to flip through both books.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I don't think so. The lists are in an appendix by themselves. Volo's and Mordenkainen's guides have the lists for the monsters in the guide itself.

That's normal, they couldn't update the DMG because of these new publications, could they ?

It's annoying when designing encounters to have to flip through both books.

I don't do it that way at all, there are myriads of tools available today which are way more efficient than using books at least for that.
 

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