5E What is squishy, really?

Warpiglet

Adventurer
I see a lot of worry about d8 for hit dice.

and a lot of a angst about less than heavy armor.

are people really squeamish or has my old age made me too cavalier?

how would we define or operationalize squishy really?
 

Warpiglet

Adventurer
when people call a character squishy it is as often classes other than wizard or sorcerer as not. So I am wondering if it is more AC issue vs. hit dice.
 

prabe

Mostly a Lurker
My suspicion is it's a combination of AC and HP, possibly with a touch of "(not) built for melee." I wouldn't be inclined to describe a ranger as "squishy," but the archer-ranger in one of the campaigns I'm running got stuck in melee and had a near-death experience.
 

MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
Generally I view a d8 hit die as the average option since d10 hit die is the tanky option for martial characters. But if a character lacks other suitability tools they still might be considered squishy. Primarily here I'd be talking about Bards and Warlocks that wear light armour and don't take any spells for personal defense. These classes can make choices to have more defense like going valor bard for medium armour + shield, or the mage armour invocation, but these choices are mutually exclusive with other options.

Other d8 classes like Cleric, Druid, Monk and Rogue aren't considered squishy due to having other defensive boons like medium or heavy armour, having Dex as a primary ability score to make light armour not suck, or other defensive features like wild shape for an extra pool of hp, uncanny dodge, dodge as a bonus action. I wouldn't consider these classes to be particularly tanky unless they really focus defense, but rather these make up the average baseline in my mind.
 

RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
I see a lot of worry about d8 for hit dice.
I'm not sure why...

With the exception of the first level, the different between each step in Hit Dice is 1 point.

d10 = 5.5 average (rounded to 6)
d8 = 4.5 average (rounded to 5)
d6 = 3.5 average (rounded to 4)

So on leveling up, the difference between a Fighter's new hit points and those of the "squishier" classes is just 1 or 2 points per level (on average when using the rolling option, or fixed if using the average HP option).

If you're that worried about 1 or 2 hit points per level making a huge difference, there are a number of ways to make up for that, like a combination of a slightly higher CON, some subclasses that grant extra HP (e.g. Draconic Sorcerer) or temp HP (e.g. Abjurer), races that get extra HP and/or higher CON bonuses (e.g. Hill Dwarf), the Tough feat, etc.
 
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lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I see a lot of worry about d8 for hit dice.
What?

d8 hit points????? Oh, aren't you the fancy lad!

Back in my day, we didn't have no d8 safety rails for classes, or "Wizards." No, we had MAGIC USERS, with d4 hit points, that cast ONE SPELL A DAY, and would get killed by a baby kobold with a dull butter knife.

You and your fancy d8 hit points, and your fancy hair dryers. Back when we played REAL D&D, we didn't have hair dryers, if you wanted to blow-dry your hair, you had to step outside in the middle of a hurricane! You would get your hair dried but you would also get a sharp piece of wood driven clean through your skull.

"Look, everyone, I'm a human head kebab!"

That's the way it was and we liked it .... we LOVED it! Human kebabs and real magic users with d4 hit points.
 
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Back in the old days, I briefly played a magic-user that had 1 HP. Nothing has felt squishy since then.

I don't think d8 is all that bad. Heck, conceivably a PC with a high con could be rocking more HP than a character with a higher hit die.

I'd say that squishiness is a variety of factors. Low HP and Low AC are a part of it. If I had to quantify it, I'd say it's how quickly a character goes from max HP to making death saves. You could have a cleric with leather armor, a shield, and no con modifier, but make them a life domain cleric and:

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I think when people call a class squishy nowadays, they’re really referring to the general idea of the class, not so much anything as specific as their AC or their hit dice. Rogues (for example) are “squishy” not because they can survive meaningfully fewer attacks than fighters (though that is technically true), but because they’re the teammate you don’t want to put on the front lines. They’re at their most effective when they’re skulking around, taking opportunistic strikes, and are at a disadvantage when forced to be in the thick of things. I don’t think a lot of people are really running the math, they’re just going by general feel, which is heavily informed by biases and preconceptions. The squishy rogue is a trope, so it’s what people expect out of the rogue, so it’s what they get out of the rogue.
 

Warpiglet

Adventurer
I think when people call a class squishy nowadays, they’re really referring to the general idea of the class, not so much anything as specific as their AC or their hit dice. Rogues (for example) are “squishy” not because they can survive meaningfully fewer attacks than fighters (though that is technically true), but because they’re the teammate you don’t want to put on the front lines. They’re at their most effective when they’re skulking around, taking opportunistic strikes, and are at a disadvantage when forced to be in the thick of things. I don’t think a lot of people are really running the math, they’re just going by general feel, which is heavily informed by biases and preconceptions. The squishy rogue is a trope, so it’s what people expect out of the rogue, so it’s what they get out of the rogue.
I think you are spot on. If I have a bard with moderately armored and a con bonus I don’t really feel squishy personally but guarantee someone would label it that way
 
Yeah, 5e doesn't have squishy if your frame of reference includes some previous editions. Full Casters with no armour and a lack of defensive spells to make up for it are the closest thing I guess. If you didn't take Shield and Mage Armour I don't really know what to tell you though, and I'll probably just hand you 4d6 sooner rather than later.
 

Esker

Abventuree
I proposed a metric awhile back that I called RTU, for "Rounds 'Til Unconsciousness", which was a first-approximation of the number of rounds you can expect to take attacks before going down. There are a lot of things it doesn't account for, and it was really only good up to a constant of proportionality, so more of a relative measure to compare builds than an absolute one, but it was a way to combine AC and HP into a single value that was adjusted for level (by using a typical enemy attack bonus for that level).
 

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