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D&D 5E What does 5E do well?

Every group I played with, and I played with several since coordinated or helped coordinate a couple of game days in a major metro area, had the same experience.

I'm happy for you if you were so freakin' brilliant that 4E combat ran fast. But that makes everyone I gamed with (over 2 dozen) idiots who "couldn't grasp the concepts". Give me a break.
Well I am a person who enjoys playing Agricola, so screwing around with fiddely bits is more up my alley.

Conversly, I share your feelings in regards to fighting videos/MOBAs/Starcraft. Inputing around 150 commands per minutes for 30(ish) minutes intervals while also considering economic and strategic problems?? Sounds hard.

When it comes to D&D, I don't blame people who want a fast easy game. That's more time to focus on characterization.
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Well I am a person who enjoys playing Agricola, so screwing around with fiddely bits is more up my alley.

Conversly, I share your feelings in regards to fighting videos/MOBAs/Starcraft. Inputing around 150 commands per minutes for 30(ish) minutes intervals while also considering economic and strategic problems?? Sounds hard.

When it comes to D&D, I don't blame people who want a fast easy game. That's more time to focus on characterization.
I think 4E had some interesting ideas, but to me it always felt a bit half baked. I can see how the game would work for some people.

One of my biggest issues was that we could just never get higher level combat to run smoothly. That and I prefer something a little more flexible.

Maybe it was the LFR mods, maybe there was some secret sauce I missed when running and that the DMs running for me missed.

In any case, sorry about being cranky in my earlier response ... it's been a bad day.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I think 4E had some interesting ideas, but to me it always felt a bit half baked. I can see how the game would work for some people.

One of my biggest issues was that we could just never get higher level combat to run smoothly. That and I prefer something a little more flexible.

Maybe it was the LFR mods, maybe there was some secret sauce I missed when running and that the DMs running for me missed.

In any case, sorry about being cranky in my earlier response ... it's been a bad day.
For what it's worth, I don't think you have anything to apologize for, those posters telling people who had slower combats they must be dumb are the ones who should apologize. I had similar experiences as you, Oofta. Maybe a pool of about 40 people, including 5 PHDs, with a collective several hundred years of RPG and wargaming experience and amongst them at the absolute fastest combat rounds took about an hour. This is with several small groups of course. Even at the end of 4E with all the various mods, adjusted monster math, more damage, fewer hit points, etc...all of it...combat still took about one hour per round.
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Can you stop being so emotional and putting words into his mouth lol
It's hard to see how "neurodivergent" is not insulting when the definition of the word is "relating to or showing atypical neurological behavior and development, as in autism spectrum disorder or dyslexia." I'm assuming it was not meant that way, but yes I've had a bad day so I could have chosen my wording better.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
Tatical play requires understanding mechanics and tatics. If you can't process those concepts quickly, then it will be slow.
Maybe just not interested in learning and engaging those mechanics. Maybe the juice was not worth the squeeze for you.
Not trying to man. We all have our experiences. For me personally the game ran really smoothly. I personally had issues with combat length when I ran 5e. Neurodiversity is a thing. Some of us grok some games better than others.

Can you stop being so emotional and putting words into his mouth lol
@Shardstone. He's literally not. The above bolded bits are incredibly condescending and insulting. I'm surprised they're not considered either personal or group attacks.
 
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darjr

I crit!
I also think combats took to long

though a large part of the renaissance of 4e is due to new technology like working digital battle maps. Which might help a lot. But frankly I’m kinda sick of my computer. I wanna game analog in person.
 


Campbell

Legend
I was speaking to neurodiversity, not neurodivergence. It's obvious that different brains work differently. That the way we process information and model the world around is different. That these differences are normal. We have differences in brain chemistry, hormone profiles, and various environmental factors. As a software engineer (who has moderate ADHD) processing abstract information is really easy for me because that's what I do all day. Parsing out 5e's "natural language" is far more difficult for me than the more object oriented approach to rules design seen in something like Pathfinder Second Edition. The lack of consistent interfaces makes it more difficult to process.

 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I was speaking to neurodiversity, not neurodivergence. It's obvious that different brains work differently. That the way we process information and model the world around is different. That these differences are normal. We have differences in brain chemistry, hormone profiles, and various environmental factors. As a software engineer (who has moderate ADHD) processing abstract information is really easy for me because that's what I do all day. Parsing out 5e's "natural language" is far more difficult for me than the more object oriented approach to rules design seen in something like Pathfinder Second Edition. The lack of consistent interfaces makes it more difficult to process.


I get that different games "work" for different people. No game can be the correct one for everyone. But it wasn't lack of understanding of the rules that caused us problems. I still wish I could build a cleric that could be the combination striker/healer my cleric was in 4E. Even if I sometimes wished for a more mundane fighter, I still had fun with it. It's just that at higher levels there was so much going on, we regularly had combats that would go on for hours. My experience may not have been universal but it was widespread. Obviously YMMV.

I shouldn't have been so cranky, but some of your comments came across to me as being "holier than thou". In any case, this isn't a 4E thread, so we should just move on.
 



Stalker0

Legend
Even at the end of 4E with all the various mods, adjusted monster math, more damage, fewer hit points, etc...all of it...combat still took about one hour per round.
Normally I would just let this go but since we all seem to be making a big deal about this.

If I assume a 5 person party, with an equivalent 5 monster party fighting them....which is a good solid "normal" 4e fight. That means that every single person here.....including the dumb as rocks brute monster that literally has 1 attack.....takes a full 6 minutes to perform their action.

How does it take 6 minutes for a creature to make an attack, roll some damage dice, and add them up?

I could respect one of your players having analysis paralysis (we've all been there), or having a really complex power and maybe taking 6 minutes, maybe even 10. But every....single.....creature on the board taking that long every....single.....time?

I could absolutely believe it takes an hour to finish a combat, I can absolutely believe two hours. But an hour for just a round....I'm sorry but that really seems like an exaggeration to me....or you are running a lot more PCs and monsters on average than I noted above.
 

Yeah, I'm trying to come up with a situation where that's a thing. Like everyone is using interrupts, triggering AoOs and generating forced movement on their turns? And the room is full of traps rolling attacks every time someone moves? And all the monsters are those big F-off dudes that attack everyone every round?

And then everyone stares at everyone else for forty minutes to make the hyperbole true?
 

Aldarc

Legend
When it comes to D&D, I don't blame people who want a fast easy game. That's more time to focus on characterization.
If I wanted a faster tabletop game that gives me more time to focus on characterization, then I'm not sure why I am picking up WotC era D&D in the first place, especially given its emphasis on the combat pillar and character builds. I would strongly first consider either OSR, Dungeon World, Index Card RPG, Forbidden Lands, or a host of other games.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Normally I would just let this go but since we all seem to be making a big deal about this.

If I assume a 5 person party, with an equivalent 5 monster party fighting them....which is a good solid "normal" 4e fight. That means that every single person here.....including the dumb as rocks brute monster that literally has 1 attack.....takes a full 6 minutes to perform their action.

How does it take 6 minutes for a creature to make an attack, roll some damage dice, and add them up?

I could respect one of your players having analysis paralysis (we've all been there), or having a really complex power and maybe taking 6 minutes, maybe even 10. But every....single.....creature on the board taking that long every....single.....time?

I could absolutely believe it takes an hour to finish a combat, I can absolutely believe two hours. But an hour for just a round....I'm sorry but that really seems like an exaggeration to me....or you are running a lot more PCs and monsters on average than I noted above.
I timed rounds now and then. Yes it took an hour or more per round. Our game sessions lasted from 10 AM to 5 PM with an hour for lunch, we could generally get in 2 fights if we did little else. It wasn't because of not understanding the rules, this was towards the end of 4E and we had played from the beginning. Every player was experienced.

I'm not talking about low level games. I can't give you a blow because it was 6 years ago. But in general, things cascaded quickly with actions, reactions, auras, powers and environmental effects all going off and needing to be resolved along with ongoing conditions needing to be marked and recorded.

We had 6 people at the table and were frequently outnumbered by opponents.

Not sure what else to say other than others also had the same issue, as I said I saw it in 3 different games.

At higher levels, it took hours to resolve each combat. I don't care if you don't believe me, I'm done talking about it.
 

So what does 5E do really well as a game? What playstyle or area of play is its strong suit?
As a game in the mechanical sense, 5E doesn't do anything to an A grade.

It does combat to like a really solid B. It runs fast, it doesn't bog down, it gives a superficial sense of there being tactics (even if they aren't very complex or nuanced), and each class feels like it contributes.

It does races/lineages to a lower B. It provides a lot of them, they're colourful and engaging, and not tedious.

It's accessible to a high-C/low-B grade. If we strip away the cultural familiarity and the fact that many people are practiced at teaching D&D, and it's easy to watch it, it's only okay at accessibility. But it is okay. It's better than some games, including most/all previous editions of D&D.

It offers a lot of classes, and none of them are unplayably bad or inherently drastically worse than the others. This is quite helpful and probably warrants a B. 4E did it better, but this does it well.

It is mediocre to bad at supporting the DM - C minus say, but "luckily" WotC will sell you tons of high-production-value adventures with the work done for you.

It is bad at explaining the role of the DM - again C minus at best, maybe D, and teaching DMing skills in general.

It has a pretty bad skill resolution system, which is close to DM fiat, with poor guidance for the DM on how things should work. On the other hand, unlike a lot of games, it doesn't bog things down with tons of bonuses and penalties and elaborate consideration of which skill/stat should be rolled, or the like. So despite being terrible, in the giant whole RPG market, it's probably a solid C. Definitely nowhere near a B or A, and loads more games could get an A now in 2021, than in say, 2000, let alone 1990.

It's extremely well-supported digitally. This is huge. Straight A. Absolutely gigantic impact on playability for a lot of groups, even if it's zero impact for others.

It's extremely well-supported in terms of adventures, sourcebooks/splatbooks and so on, both first and third party. Easy A+.

It's a game that is succeeding despite its mediocre mechanics. Even if hadn't started popular, though, the accessibility and massive support digitally and in terms of adventures would have meant it was a "major" RPG (just like, "top 10" instead of "#1 by a million miles"). The colourful races and complete lack of totally worthless classes would help too.
 

At higher levels, it took hours to resolve each combat. I don't care if you don't believe me, I'm done talking about it.
I believe you Oofta, to be clear, and you know I'm a 4E fan.

I think taking an hour per round is probably towards "extremely unlucky" end of the scale in terms of PC/monster numbers, but taking WAY TOO FREAKIN' LONG? That was common once you got into the teen-levels in 4E.

So I believe you and sympathize with your position. I loved 4E, but we changed to Dungeon World when the PCs were all like level 14 or 15 or so and a combat was taking 1-2 hours, or 3 hours, instead of, say, 30-40 minutes. We were also working hard at speeding things up - not criticising you here btw, we were going above and beyond - we have really well-used initiative cards, we used a whiteboard to track stuff AND a battlemap AND counters for stuff - everything we could come up with to make it go faster.

And it still bogged down in the mid-teens. It was as you were saying, all the complex interactions that did it. Reactions leading to Interrupts leading to Immediate Actions. People moving around in initiative. Working out the full impacts of some highly complex ability involving damage, CC, and area denial, and so on.

Now we saw somewhat similar issues with 3.XE/PF, but with a different root cause - i.e. when people got to the 5-10 range and Feats and PrCs and obscure rules and stuff started to pile up, and the at like 7+ magic got more and more powerful and complex to adjudicate, and we saw longer combat rounds at lower levels than 4E. But we never saw rounds as very long as we ultimately saw in 4E.

The worst we ever saw was Champions: The New Millennium (a version of Champions which ran on R Talsorian's FUZION engine), where 3 minutes of in-game interaction and combat between like 4 PC heroes and 5 NPC villains took over 5 hours to resolve. We never played it again lol.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
It has a pretty bad skill resolution system, which is close to DM fiat, with poor guidance for the DM on how things should work. On the other hand, unlike a lot of games, it doesn't bog things down with tons of bonuses and penalties and elaborate consideration of which skill/stat should be rolled, or the like. So despite being terrible, in the giant whole RPG market, it's probably a solid C. Definitely nowhere near a B or A, and loads more games could get an A now in 2021, than in say, 2000, let alone 1990.
Now that's interesting, because this is where I'd give the system an A: the skill resolution system is fast and loose, and in my experience produces great results even when everyone involved is tired and a little tipsy. Elegant and robust.
 

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