D&D 5E What (if anything) do you find "wrong" with 5E?

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Don't forget that Gygax cites the Thief influences as being Zelazny's Shadowjack (i.e. Jack of Shadows) and Vance's Cugel.

THIEF
The Thief first shows up in the Great Plains Game Players Newsletter #9, and then in OD&D (Greyhawk)

Origin: This is the fine line between borrowing and theft? There is no line for this class. Gygax stole the concept from someone else. The original thief had the skills you would expect from a box-man who would deal with traps and safes (but not sneaking, climbing, etc.) and probably used a modified "spell system" like a MU. Gygax switched the system to a percentile system and added some details based on Vance and Zelazny.

Controversy:
This may be the mother of all controversies! Gygax always steadfastly maintained sole credit for this class, but exceptionally credible evidence exists that Gary Switzer & Aero Games made the Thief class, and while Gygax added some stuff to it and changed some stuff, it's largely someone else's invention.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
And, honestly? That's where the conversation should end. I don't like it is a perfectly fine thing to say. "I don't like it and I want to change it at my table, how can I do that?" is also a perfectly understandable conversation. "I don't like it, therefore it's poorly designed and needs to be changed for everyone who plays the game" is a conversation that will almost never go well.

The problem is, almost everything comes down to that at some point. Even a thing as fundamental as "all classes should be approximately equal in value" isn't something you can reliably get people to agree on, and even when you can you can show them numbers and they'll either disagree with the premise you based the calculation on or do the ultimate trump card of "Well, it hasn't worked out that way at our table so it doesn't matter."

Its fundamentally impossible to have a discussion of how well something is designed until you can set down the assumptions for it and have pretty much everyone actually participating in it more or less to agree with them. And, well, good luck with that.

Conversations get so much more productive when people accept that their tables are not reflective of anything other than their own table.

To a point, but at least in a general criticism thread, once you go there, there's not much to respond to things about.
 

Greg K

Legend
Thought I had posted this, but I guess I was wrong. My issues are the following:
  • Darkvison should go back to 3e low-light vision, darkvision (and too many things have darkvision)
  • Humans should work more like Rich Howard's Ultimate Adaptability or better remove non-biological aspects from races and use the article as an example for environment/culture being an additional choice for all races.
  • Could use some more PHB races: Deva, Kobold, Goblin, Lizardfolk, Orc
  • Classes should all receive their subclasses at first level
  • Either stretch the 1-10 levels to 1-20 or have PHB 1 cover levels 1-10 or 1-12 and PHB2 cover the rest.
  • Tone down the spellcasters. 7th-9th were not originally meant for players (if necessary move them to an Epic level book)
  • Could use more classes: Alchemist (separate from the Artificer), Arcane Warrior, Scholar, Shaman, Warlord, Witch
  • Berserker change Exhaustion to a fatigued/winded condition that can be removed with a short rest.
  • Cleric: would like to see on a warlock like chasis with much shorter general base list
  • Fighter could use more subclasses, fighting styles, and maneuvers
  • Monk: needs more customization and some other changes
  • Ranger: The Ranger should be non-magical by default with magic via subclasses (see AgenderArcee's Martial Ranger on reddit)
  • Rogues
    • Thieves Cant should be a background language for Criminal and, maybe, Urchin,
    • class could use more subclasses in PHB
  • Sorcerer: needs a general Arcane Origin for a magic family. needs own spell list
  • Wizards: break the spell list down. Too many options in spell list
  • Too many ways to bypass/minimize exploration in the wild
  • Crticial hits should just be weapon or unarmed damage die maxed and roll a second die
  • Some spells need to be reworked/releveled
    • Example: True Strike should just make the target's next attack a natural 20, but not a crit (taken from Mike Mearls's Book of Iron Might (Malhavoc Press) for 3e)
  • add downtime from Xanathar's and Tasha's
  • add Companion /Sidekick rules
  • The DMG should include:
    • skill points, armor as DR, wound/ vitality, touch AC, glancing blow as optional rules
    • More conditions needed: Bleeding, Bloodied, Dazed Fatigued/Winded, Frozen, Shakened, Slowed, Staggered, Swallowed, Weakened Ability
    • More dials/variants for death and dying (fix the whack a mole), lethality, resting
    • actual dials and guidelines for tailoring the game: low magic, sword & sorcery, gothic fantasy, romantic fantasy
Hopefully, I didn't miss anything.
 
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Greg K

Legend
THIEF
The Thief first shows up in the Great Plains Game Players Newsletter #9, and then in OD&D (Greyhawk)

Origin: This is the fine line between borrowing and theft? There is no line for this class. Gygax stole the concept from someone else. The original thief had the skills you would expect from a box-man who would deal with traps and safes (but not sneaking, climbing, etc.) and probably used a modified "spell system" like a MU. Gygax switched the system to a percentile system and added some details based on Vance and Zelazny.

Controversy:
This may be the mother of all controversies! Gygax always steadfastly maintained sole credit for this class, but exceptionally credible evidence exists that Gary Switzer & Aero Games made the Thief class, and while Gygax added some stuff to it and changed some stuff, it's largely someone else's invention.
I heard abou tthe controversy, but I don't how much was borrowed or "stolen"
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I heard abou tthe controversy, but I don't how much was borrowed or "stolen"



 


FitzTheRuke

Legend
CR should be abandoned. It can't work. There's no way to make every combination of 4 classes have the same strengths and weaknesses vs. various monsters of the same CR. Therefore monsters will punch higher, lower and equal to their CR against various different groups.
4e balanced encounters by giving monsters a level x rating that put them roughly equivalent to a weak PC of a given level. This way you could easily tell that 4x level 4 PCs would probably win in a fight against 4x level 4 monsters. (They were roughly equivalent, but slightly weak, to give the PCs an edge).

Personally I found that significantly more intuitive than any CR system.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
4e balanced encounters by giving monsters a level x rating that put them roughly equivalent to a weak PC of a given level. This way you could easily tell that 4x level 4 PCs would probably win in a fight against 4x level 4 monsters. (They were roughly equivalent, but slightly weak, to give the PCs an edge).

Personally I found that significantly more intuitive than any CR system.
My issue with the CR system(and I don't know 4e at all so can't comment there) is that even though monsters are balanced to be roughly as powerful as 4 PCs of the same level, classes all have different strengths and weaknesses. So just because a rogue and warlock are going to be roughly on par with one another, doesn't mean that a given monster won't be stronger against one class or the other.

That means that some parties will be able to destroy something that is 3 CRs over their heads when their abilities hit hard at the creature's weaknesses and their strengths match up to the creature's strengths, but will have trouble with something a CR or two lower if the opposite happens.

Did 4e have a similar issue at all?
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Not as much, no. I mean, yeah, not all classes of a particular role were equal, some of the later classes were pretty shabbily built. But things like Ardents and Wardens and Seekers were less popular classes overall.

4e looked at what they expected someone's attack bonus and defenses to be at level X. The math didn't line up perfectly, but it did a fair job. Outliers were based on the role of the monster- a Brute had lower attack and defenses, but did more damage, a Soldier was more accurate and had higher defenses, but average damage, that sort of thing.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Did 4e have a similar issue at all?
Well, of course there is two kinds of optimizing (both of which can be done by accident as well as on purpose): There is making a powerful character, and there is making a powerful party.

4e whatever its faults, was very well balanced. There was still both those kinds of optimization, but it was also easy for DMs to build a "party" of bad guys. With roles (like James says above, Brutes, Lurkers, etc) they corresponded roughly to PC classes, so you could easily make a "party" of similar monsters that would cover more bases (and therefore fill in more weaknesses) than a similar 5e encounter.

It could still happen, but less often (or you would be more aware of it, if say, you threw an entire group of brutes at a party, you'd know that they'd do a ton of damage and die quickly. (Think Ogres here - big walloping clubs, bad at defending themselves. Not that there couldn't be ogres of the other roles, but you know, standard ogres would be the quintessential brute).

For all its faults, encounter building was extremely easy to eyeball in 4e. (Monsters just badly needed to have their HP dialed down and their DPR dialed up to speed up combats - most else about that end of the game was quite good.)
 


Thanks.


Yes.


There is no "Though" feat, but if you meant Tough, then sure, why not, it is the same as in the PHB already. 🤷‍♂️
Indeed it is the Tough feat, my English has some glitch once in a while.
Since the feat is exactly the same, we can deduct that the Devs consider it well written, balanced and useful for the game. Any rules that will get rewritten, nerf or buff is less good that this perfect feat!
 

niklinna

Abstraction is a tool that streamlines gameplay.
Indeed it is the Tough feat, my English has some glitch once in a while.
Hey at least you didn't type "rouge" for "rogue". 😉

(And just remember, "grognard" is French, so it's pronounced "gro-nyard". Allowances for word-final consonants in English, especially because that French 'r' is not even in the English phonetic repertoire. Oh look, another borrowed French word! I'm a little sleep deprived.)

ObTopic: I've disliked concentration immensely in 5e. Both the absolute binary 1-spell on/off nature of it, as well as the obvious application to some spells but not others for obvious purposes of game balance, without anything resembling in-world logic. Yeah, yeah, magic defies logic. Torg Eternity still has the balancy arbitrariness, but what they do is pile on a cumulative -2 penalty to your concentration/spellcasting rolls per spell you're concentrating on, making for some fun "push your luck" situations.
 
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Hey at least you didn't type "rouge" for "rogue". 😉

(And just remember, "grognard" is French, so it's pronounced "gro-nyard". Allowances for word-final consonants in English, especially because that French 'r' is not even in the English phonetic repertoire. Oh look, another borrowed French word! I'm a little sleep deprived.)

ObTopic: I've dislike concentration immensely in 5e. Both the absolute binary 1-spell on/off nature of it, as well as the obvious application to some spells but not others for obvious purposes of game balance, without anything resembling in-world logic. Yeah, yeah, magic defies logic. Torg Eternity still has the balancy arbitrariness, but what they do is pile on a cumulative -2 penalty to your concentration/spellcasting rolls per spell you're concentrating on, making for some fun "push your luck" situations.
Hopefully concentration is the same in both.
That is another thrill, will they change concentration mechanics?
These UA will look like episode in a tv show.
 

Poisons. The problems with them are myriad and stack on themselves.

1) The cost structure. They're just WAY too expensive, for how difficult they are to acquire. There is zero reason why a mid-high level character can't eventually just get a big old pit of giant serpents, toss in a few pigs every now and again, and pull some out to milk for venom (after knocking them out in whatever fashion is preferred) whenever they feel like it, having an arbitrarily large supply. They're just animals, with almost no CR and minimal Int, and milking a snake is a totally normal thing to do. But with a valuation of 150 GP, the ability to 'create' 1000+ GP of "value" at will becomes somewhat problematic. In turn though the high cost also precludes normal acquisition and use, as no one in their right mind is going to jump through many legal and societal hoops to buy a few doses of venom to apply to a weapon in lieu of say a magic item.

2) The crafting of them. In no small part due to the cost structure, crafting them is just silly. Taking WEEKS to craft a giant serpent venom poison when it takes 3 whole MINUTES to milk it off of a giant serpent, and that's the baseline one. With costs seriously ranging up to those of mid tier magic items, but crafting rates commensurate with wood working or something, it could take YEARS to craft one dose of poison, apply it to 3 arrows, and have a fairly substantial boost to damage output (if and only if you're fighting a creature not immune to poison) for a single round of combat.

3) The mechanics of application. You can apply them to a weapon or arrow as an action, and then it lasts for one minute. For a melee fighter, the balance at least makes some sense. For a ranged combatant, you're trading an action for one Round of buffs instead of one Minute of buffs. The wild disparity and asymmetry alone is problematic. But also the idea that it's losing efficacy, even if in a vacuum sealed airtight container where it's in contact with the weapon, after a minute, regardless of the composition of the weapon, is just silly. The idea you can't have a bone arrowhead as the stopper in a vial of poison and pull it out, pre-poisoned and ready to use, is ridiculous.

4) The damage mechanic and type itself. Poison damage tends to be Huge numbers, which theoretically justifies the huge price tag, but it's also resisted or negated entirely by a huge portion of high level opponents. Undead, constructs, demons, elementals, you name it. If it's not a person it's likely immune, and even if it is a person there's at least a reasonable chance they've got something for it. So if someone were to go to the effort of obtaining and using this stuff, there's a very reasonable chance it wouldn't actually do anything.

5) The flavor of it. Possibly the worst offender of all, Poisons by and large just aren't interesting or reasonably representative of what poisons do in reality. We all have a vision in our head of someone getting hit by a poisoned weapon and slowly weakening and dying without treatment over time. The mechanics of it in game though treat it just like acid or fire, albeit far easier to resist, outside of a few attempts in the general direction of doing something other than direct immediate damage. Nothing in the game though gives that feeling of round after round of persistent effects weakening someone from a single cut, until eventually they fall unless aid is received.

All of this combines to make it a massive headache for DMs and players alike, with little to no payoff on either side. It's enough to make someone want to make a world with no snakes, spiders, wyverns, or other venomous creatures in it, and just say 'poison doesn't exist', because in 5e as it stands, it's just not worth it. I don't think that's really a hot take either, I'd be very surprised if there was someone tremendously happy with how they're implemented in 5e.

(By the way, though I'm not even going to try to propose a total overhaul of the system here, I just want to point out it definitely Could be done. In general poisons should apply levels of exhaustion on a failed save and persist for quite a while, until X successful saves or X period of time or until treatment is received. More deadly poisons have higher DCs, shorter save intervals, and / or more levels of exhaustion received. You COULD make poisons dangerous, cool, and interesting within the framework of the rules of 5e. D&D 5e as it stands just doesn't do so.)
 

Greg K

Legend
I forgot about poisons (and diseases). I would love to see 5e versions of Insults & Injuries (Skirmisher Press) and Poisoncraft (Blue Devil Games(.
 


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